Who am I?

Just a quiet soul working to build bridges between human beings -

at times, we all feel lost and alone.

A catalyst for positive change -

hoping to inspire others
to overcome inertia and Take Action.
Small actions are beautiful.

A creator of Positive Reality

our state of mind creates our experiences,
hoping to model tranquility, optimism and a simple lifestyle.

In these small ways I work for a Milwaukee Renaissance.

Beyond that I am a ‘community-service’ musician involved with the pain/joy of birthing new creations:

  • Universal Love Band (all-original music for Milwaukee and beyond),
  • Mali Blues with Tani Diakite
  • New World Mammal (hand-made chapbooks, an on-going poetry session with my rebellious unconscious being), all proceeds donated to Foundation for Children in Need.
  • Door-artist. The New World Mammal door is currently displayed at Club Timbuktu in Milwaukee. See photo at: www.ktruschmusic.net, All the symbols are found in the chapbook.
  • Express Yourself Milwaukee bringing the arts to MKE’s under-served youth. EYM has programs at 8th Street School, MKE Detention Center, New School, Project Stay, and St. Aemilian’s Lakeside Residential Treatment Center, and West Side Acadamy served by a talented, diverse artistic staff.
  • Teacher of “Drums, Roots and New Beginnings” with youth in MPS Corrections School.

As a mother of three, under the age of 14 years and
a part-time job,
a provider, giver, friend,
and a tai-chi student and guide,

I am pretty busy

but do my best for the Milwaukee Renaissance
it has always been a part of me—
thanks for creating a community forum.

Some Recent Releases
Rising Sun CD by Universal Love Band.
The River CD produced by kt and Express Yourself Milwaukee with Amlak Tafari (Steel Pulse) original music, poetry, gospel performed by Milwaukee youth and facilitated by EYM.
Mali Blues Live from Madison and Milwaukee” CD produced by kt.
please visit my website for details!

If you wish to know more, get on our e-mail list for events, or acquire a chapbook
Check out: http://www.ktruschmusic.net

Olde Godsil, Milwaukee Renaissance founder asked me to write about my education:

My Education

At Dominican H.S. I was influenced by classes in ‘Justice and Peace’ and ‘Death
and Dying’. Teachers such as Mark Kleckly, Jr. (deceased, high school jazz
band), Sr. Monica (deceased, Asian religions), Berkeley Fudge
(Summerstreet Jazz, Inner City Arts Council group), and Grandmaster Chian Ho
Yin (1st Tai Chi teacher) were pillars in my early life and I will always be
grateful for them.

And I realize this as I write to you right here and now - My mother, who
passed away when I was 6, was a tremendous influence even though I hardly
remember her. I became sickly, severely asthmatic, and weak. But
the grief and physical ailments led to me reading and reading and reading
some more. Like every book I could get my hands on. The Iliad, The
Odyssey, Encyclopedias, Fine Arts texts, everything on Native
Americans, Asian religions, martial arts, evolution, animals, poetry … Thanks Mom.

Personal Notes - A New Bio

I am not a natural performer. I was born with a quiet, somewhat shy temperament. Without going into detail, I didn’t talk much, certainly didn’t sing, and spent many hours in tears during childhood. But I always had a desire to share the songs I heard in my heart. So I began writing them down and learning guitar. It took a long time to find the courage to first play music and later share lyrics.

I’ll never forget Steve Wahlen from an early band, Einstein’s Riceboys, saying: “Get on the mic and sing girl.” In response, and not to be dissed by a singing drummer, I put out two words from the song “Essence Rare” by Gang of Four. As I recall the line was “…working classes…” That was it for vocals with Riceboys.

So many projects, shows, bandmates, some broke out to higher heights and gold records, some died. A lot of blood, sweat and more sweat between playing in the early 1980′s music scene and today.

Now, I sit in a room at a Milwaukee Public Schools Transitional High School with so many beautiful, young, energetic faces doing what i call ‘community service music’. A security guard nearby, ankle bracelets under baggy pants, an undercurrent of distrust yet curiosity. Gang talk. Drug talk. And the best part dream talk - I hear small morsels of dream talk.

A retired social worker told me last year, “These are the worst kids in Milwaukee.”

Sometimes they give me a hard time, no need to describe the details here. That’s part of the challenge. I know where they come from— heavy burdens, shaky foundations. That’s part of their challenge.

We play some music. We talk about lyrics. We watch global music culture videos. Some of us play. Some of us walk out (but I notice the walk-outs slyly observing from across the room, sometimes). Some of us sleep. Some of us absorb the situation in ways that don’t make sense because this isn’t a typical classroom.

Our last class this session, Lucky Diop and I brought a little sound system, an African Kora and Ngoni—both are stringed harps, my bass, and two vocal mics. We took turns playing. We played to a somewhat unruly audience. But still an audience. “What happened to the guy who taught you to sing that song?” one youth asked Lucky. “He died of TB.” “What’s that?” The questions and answers go forth on many tangential subjects. One youth noticed that my ngoni has a soundhole. He noticed a photo inside the hollow gourd. “Who is that?” He tries to reach in. I said my mother. Then he backed off in a mixture of respect and distraction, because now the mic was on. I decided to play “Yayu Xale Yi” which means “Mother of the Children” in a West African language called Wolof. I sang the English translation. I dedicated it to all our mothers. The room went almost silent for a few moments. Later we opened up the mics for them and gave them a background foundation to express themselves. It was all very good. Messy but good.

From “…working classes…” to “Yayu Xale Yi”, I realize today that I have had to make myself vulnerable again and again over the years to grow. I am thankful for the opportunities to evolve into community service musician in Milwaukee. I thank everyone who I have worked with for the inspiration.

Last edited by kt rusch. Based on work by KT Rusch, kt Rusch, KTRusch, Olde Godsile and TeganDowling.  Page last modified on October 02, 2013

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