How DJ and cultural planner Kwende Kefentse created a soundtrack for his city.

When you think about music cities, Ottawa probably isn’t the first place that comes to mind. Kwende Kefentse, a musician, urbanist, and cultural planner, is trying to change that.

At city hall, Kefentse is Ottawa’s music industry development officer, working with community leaders to grow local music businesses. In the studio, he’s DJ Memetic. In 2014, Kefentse was commissioned by the local arts organization Artengine to create a soundtrack for Ottawa’s #2 bus, which runs from Rideau to Richmond and passes by almost all of the city’s record stores. The result is a 28-track ode to Ottawa, featuring samples of records Kefentse found and field recordings he made along the way. In the companion documentary, we see Kefentse making this journey in all weather—waiting for, boarding, and riding the bus; DJing; producing; digging in the crates. It’s an intensely personal portrait that also reveals the vibrancy of Ottawa’s music scene.

Watch the 13-minute documentary of Kefentse’s “RIDEAU2RICHMOND” above, and listen to the entire soundtrack on SoundCloud.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Passengers line up for a bullet train at a platform in Tokyo Station.
    Transportation

    The Amazing Psychology of Japanese Train Stations

    The nation’s famed mastery of rail travel has been aided by some subtle behavioral tricks.

  2. Life

    The Top Cities Americans Move to—and From—For Work

    Most of the top cities are the usual suspects, but there’s something odd happening in Silicon Valley.

  3. New homes under construction in St. George, Utah, in 2013
    Environment

    America's Fastest-Growing Urban Area Has a Water Problem

    As St. George, Utah grows, it will have to cut down on its high water consumption or pay handsomely for it—or both.

  4. A ruby-throated hummingbird takes flight in a forest.
    Environment

    The Ancient Forests That Have Defied Urbanization

    In cities around the United States, old-growth forests have survived against the odds. But preserving them is not as simple as roping them off from the public.

  5. A person walks past the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.
    Equity

    Revisiting the New Urban Crisis

    The shift toward a more inclusive urbanism has begun. But it will require time, commitment from city institutions, and political agency at the local level.