After I stayed for a few more awesome deejay sets (big up MIKE STYLES and ARTI!) at Saturday’s ARTISM event, I headed out to THE BLUE WHALE jazz club in Little Tokyo for an event that I wasn’t sure that I’d be able to attend. I’m so glad that I did. Titled “Celebrating African Heritage”, I wasn’t sure what to expect, given that the impact of African culture throughout the world has been vast and glorious. Fronted by Brazilian guitarist Marcel Camargo, however, I quickly learned that the music would focus on music from Brazil, Martinique, the USA, and Africa, of course. Upon arrival, I noticed that 1) the performance area was set up in a circular ‘roda’ fashion, with the musicians facing the center of the circle and the audience seated all around them 360 degrees, and 2) that there seemed to be a particular preponderance of percussion instruments. As the musicians gathered in the circle, the roster boasted a handful of LA’s heaviest percussion firepower: Leo Costa, Gibi dos Santos, Alberto Lopez, Andre de Santanna and Kahlil Cummings. The video below is :25 clip of the beginning of the show. My apologies for not capturing Brazililan vocalist Thalma de Freitas, who was positioned directly across from Marcel Camargo and hidden from my vantage point as I panned across. It was an amazing night and I’m hopeful that Marcel and Dexter Story (musical director) will get the group together again soon!
The fellas from one of my favorite bands in Los Angeleas–LA CHAMBA–have invited me onto the deejay lineup for their GoFundMe campaign launch. I’m thrilled and honored to support the release of their upcoming album, Ecos de la Selva and beseech all of you to check out this fantastic band join us as we crowdfund the pressing, packaging and distribution of thier first full-length album. Please watch their cool campaign promo video below and see the posted flier and links for details on the Wednesday MARCH 15th event happening at LA CITA bar in DTLA. I’ll be there with fellow deejays FRESKO and THE GETDOWN COLLECTIVE and look forward to live performances by sonidero cumbia sensations ZAPOTECA ROOTS and, of course, LA CHAMBA!!
The event is hosted by Urban Badlands and La Mina Oro.
Today, Thursday 21 April 2016, marks the day the world mourns the loss of one of the greatest musicians and entertainers of all time, “PRINCE” ROGERS NELSON. I’m pretty certain that almost everyone I know is experiencing the emotional haze of his passing in various degrees.
While I’d heard rumblings of canceled shows and an emergency airplane landing in recent weeks, the news is nonetheless unexpected and devastating! I mean…I grew up with, and probably to his music. I was eight years old when his debut LP “For You” was released in 1977, so by the time the “Purple Rain” album and feature film hit the record shelves and theaters respectively in 1984, I was a high school freshman and an undoubtedly loyal Prince disciple. Those pre-Purple years in between saw the release of the self-titled “Prince”, “Dirty Mind” “Controversy” and “1999” LPs, as well as their respective music videos in constant rotation on a fledgling MTV channel. The Superfriends Hour, and probably the entire Saturday morning cartoon lineup combined, held only a lamb’s share of my boob tube gawking time during my ‘tweens. It was all about music videos, especially as the triumvirate of Prince, Michael Jackson and Madonna ruled the airwaves during the conglomerate network’s startup days in the early and mid 1980s.
Throughout high school and my early college years, Prince’s music continued to entertain me, to mystify my ears, and to challenge my musical sensibilities–despite a solid rearing in rock, soul, funk and pop by older cousins, young-at-heart uncles and aunts, hip teachers and discerning friends. The albums that followed the massive Purple Rain juggernaut–“Around The World in a Day”, “Parade”, “Sign O The Times” and 1988’s “Lovesexy”–all came with a new level of maturity, stretching the breadth of his musical spectrum, etching a place in music’s pantheon among the greatest of all time.
Even while I became enamored by the work of other amazing artists in hip-hop, jazz, neo-soul and eventually world music, I’m proud to say that I bought each Prince (w/various backing bands) studio album in the year it was released, even if the wider music palette of my adult life found me less rabid a Prince fan as I was while in school. I even attended an amazing concert date at Hawaii’s Blaisdell Auditorium years later in 1996. Today though, in my mid 40’s, I have to admit that I’m rocking the “Art Official Age” and “HITnRUN: Phase 1” and “-Phase 2” CD’s in my car on the regular! With expert-level production and musicality, these late-career albums are highly relevant and in tune with today’s current soundscape. Those with good ears will agree.
PRINCE the man has been described as a kind, gentle and loving person by many who knew him. He’s been lauded as a musical genius, even early on in his career. PRINCE has always been the consummate artist, expressing his truest nature fearlessly in the studio, on the screen, on the stage, and in the boardroom. The artist and his work are simply divine gifts. It’s kinda uncanny that his unresponsive body was found in an elevator at his long-time home/recording compound Paisley Park. I like to think that it was finally time for Prince to follow his own lyrical advice and ‘punch a higher floor’.
With the passing of so many great music talents in this still young year of 2016, I’m beginning to think that a portal to a new glorious plane of existence has opened and that they’ve been sent up to get it ready for all the beautiful ones. Hopefully you and me will be included when it’s time.
This TED talk by television writer/producer/titan SHONDA RHIMES is fantastic. Had to repost it. Hope you’ll take a few minutes to watch it in full.
Though I’ve not yet been to a TED conference, I’ve been a religious follower of the video content from the events via the website and mobile apps, enjoying talks across a broad spectrum of the topics they present. I’ve posted several here on my site in the past, under the ‘Inspiration’ category heading (see the black navigation tabs near the top of the page). Based on the sampling of talent at these gatherings, I must say that there are some brilliant people out there in the world! It’s encouraging to know that people are actually trying to make the world a better place…or at least, they’re trying to save it.
I watched this one about a month ago and thought it was genius. This is sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor presenting his ‘underwater art museums,’ which are basically submerged art installations that become part of the local aquatic ecosystems, growing in both natural beauty and in their roles as centers of sea life over time. Enjoy.
A couple of weeks ago on a Tuesday evening, I joined in on The Living Sessions’ interview of La Junta’s DEGRUVME with host/founder JULIETA ISELA. The intimate get-together began with the breaking of bread, the intake of wine and an advance listening session of the degruvme’s new ‘Echoes of a Dream’ ep, and culminated in this light-hearted group interview promoting the ep release show on January 22nd in DTLA. Check out the full video and some stills below!
Pictured above (L to R): Alexandro D. Hernández Gutiérrez of Aparato/Mariachi Manchester; Angie Kings; me!; Leah Rose Gallegos of Las Cafeteras; host Julieta Isela of The Living Sessions; Prescilla C of La Junta; degruvme of La Junta. (Not available: Irene Diaz, Hector Flores, Yukicito, Paloma B, The Funky Brewsterz)
Here’s a bit of the vibe that we’ll be touching on at Wednesday’s CANTO event at The OffBeat in Highland Park. This is Gualajo (aka Jose Antonio Torres) from Colombia’s pacific coast currulao tradition, blessing us with its primary instrument, the marimba. The event invite is below. Please check us out on Wednesday August 19 from 9pm-2am if you’re in the northeast Los Angeles area or anywhere near.