imgNew York, NY (May 6, 2013)—PBS Digital Studios has debuted Beat Making Lab, a 20-week series made up of two to three-minute episodes, chronicling a music producer and a UNC Chapel Hill professor as they set up laptop-based recording studios (small enough to fit into a backpack) in The Democratic Republic of Congo, Panama, Senegal and Fiji.

Traveling to each country, the duo hold two-week workshops designed to nurture local music talent, while providing and teaching the tools and techniques to make their own beats. All recording equipment is donated to the local community after the sessions wrap up, establishing a permanent music lab for future beat-makers.

The producer on the show is Stephen Levitin aka Apple Juice Kid,  a producer, DJ and drummer. He has produced singles for Mos Def, Camp Lo, Wale and MC Lyte. Sponsored by the music software companies Ableton and Reason, he has been a guest DJ on Mark Ronson’s East Village Radio, performed as a drummer with The Foreign Exchange and The Jungle Brothers and been profiled on sites such as Nahright, NME and Pitchfork. Levitin, along with Dr. Mark Katz founded the Beat Making Lab in 2011 at UNC Chapel Hill. Professor/MC Pierce Freelon joined him to co-teach the class in 2012. Freelon is a musician, professor and artivist. He is front man of the genre-bending The Beast, hailed as a “natural, engaging blend of jazz and hip hop,” by Jazz Times Magazine. He has taught music, political science and African American studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina Central University, and has performed, lectured and collaborated internationally.

During the month of May, Beat Making Lab will partner with Global Health organization Intrahealth and Speak Up Africa to set up all-female workshops in Dakar, Senegal. These sessions will showcase the talent of seven female MCs, singers and producers who, through their music, aim to spotlight various health issues in Africa. Beginning in June, the real-time series will feature episodes from Suva, Fiji. New episodes will air every Wednesday via the Beat Making Lab YouTube channel.
Watch the premiere episode and introduction to the Beat Making Lab process at

See what's inside the pair's equipment backpack at

Beat Making Lab