October 28, 2010 § Leave a comment
“Who in here remembers State of the Union? On U Street?” asked Lady Pcoq of the audience during an interlude where her group Lady Pcoq & the Plumes was performing at Bossa Bistro in Adams Morgan. I was among a few who raised their hands. Back in the late nineties while shooting a documentary film about poetry and spoken word in Washington, DC, I spent many an evening at joints like State, Kaffa House and Mangos.
October 26, 2010 § 1 Comment
His was surely one of the most soothing voices in all of reggae music. You could say he put the “lover” in Lovers Rock. The “Cool Ruler,” as Gregory Isaacs came to be known, joined the ancestors last night after succumbing to cancer in London, England. I was introduced to his sound at a young age, a time when reggae artists found they had their fingers firmly on the pulse of what moved the young masses in sub-Saharan Africa and other developing regions of the world. By the time I got to my teens, I found myself swaying to the groove of songs like “Substitute,” and “Sad to Know that You’re Leaving.” Born in Jamaica, he was a member of the vocal trio The Concords until he went solo in 1973. Isaacs was greatly influenced by American soul singer Sam Cooke, himself a silky-voiced crooner, and went on to release more than 300 albums of his own material in his 40-year career. His most commercially successful record, Night Nurse was recorded at Bob Marley’s Tuff Gong Studios in Jamaica. Its title track (my favorite Gregory Isaacs song) is probably his most popular. “Substitute is gonna put you down,” he sang back in ’81. I’m sure most would agree that there will likely be no substitute to this reggae giant and his music. You can read how other reggae singers, including some of his contemporaries, have reacted to his passing here. R.I.P. Gregory. Bless…
- Reggae star Gregory Isaacs dies (variety.com)
October 21, 2010 § Leave a comment
“Amongst thousands and thousands of very good MCs, a poet will flow like the breeze…” Rhymes delivered by no less blessed an MC than KRS One, and certainly the first ones that came to mind when I heard Mello-D dropping lyrics on the mic a few weeks ago.
Now, I had seen Mello-D perform live before, even though I’d never met the rest of his band, the Rados. Well, when Afrofusion TV dropped in on one of the band’s rehearsal sessions in the basement studio of Mello-D’s house in suburban Washington, DC, I thought to myself: this is the sound of true live hip hop.
October 20, 2010 § 3 Comments
After running into the trailer for this animated feature film on thenublak, I can understand why film enthusiasts in the UK are so excited about Chico & Rita opening there on November the 19th. I know that it has already been screened in North American film festivals like Toronto and Telluride, but here’s what I really want to know: when can we see it in the cinemas stateside?? Spanish filmmaker Fernando Trueba (Belle Epoque, 1992) and Graphic Artist Javier Mariscal directed this love story that begins in Havana, Cuba and trumpets through New York and Las Vegas to the Afro-Cuban Jazz sounds of Bebo Valdés. It tells the story of Chico, a piano player, and Rita, a singer who unite in music, passion and romance, but their relationship gets stagnated by cruel circumstance and heartache.
October 19, 2010 § 1 Comment
Who is Ozwald Boateng? You can soon find out thanks to a documentary film coming out about his life and work, scheduled to debut worldwide at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival on October 20. Born in London to Ghanaian parents, the Savile Row bespoke couturier’s suits have been sported by the likes of Jamie Foxx, Brad Pitt, Anthony Hopkins, Don Cheadle, et al. Read more and watch a 4 1/2 minute trailer below, courtesy of Shadow and Act.
- Ozwald Boateng Spring/Summer 2011 (thisheartsonfire.com)
October 16, 2010 § 11 Comments
I know who to go to for lessons in time management: David Vandy, the host of the international radio show “African Beat” on the Voice of America. David is also a playwright, theater actor and director, and somehow finds time to host and MC various events in the DC area. On Sunday October 17, his Sierra Theatre Productions will perform a play he wrote and is directing – “The Long Awaited Return-The Beginning” – at the Anacostia Museum in Southeast Washington, DC.
October 16, 2010 § 1 Comment
Found out about this through Demetra Baylor and her humanitarian project Heal DRC. A series of Congo-related films is being screened in New York at the Maysles Cinema at 343 Lenox Avenue/Malcolm X Blvd at 127th Street. Breaking the Silence: Congo Week will kick off October 17, and will include, among other things, a movie documentary on soukous superstar Kanda Bongo Man! (He’s scheduled to be in attendance on that night.) Read more about Congo Week here: Breaking the Silence. Visit this page on Heal DRC for ways in which you can support that project. Bless…
- The UN’s fight against sexual violence in Congo (theworld.org)
October 13, 2010 § 3 Comments
I promised to bring you snippets of Afrofusion TV’s interview with Gyptian… Voila! check it out below! It’s a fairly common “problem” with music artists. You record a song, and fans think someone else sang it. For African and West Indian artists, the cross-pollination in music styles and genres makes the occurrence more frequent, and even less surprising. So for Nigerian singer Tuface Idibia, his worldwide hit “African Queen” got attributed by many a fan to Jamaican reggae star Gyptian!
October 11, 2010 § Leave a comment
Found this out on the art newspaper Art Daily: Washington artist Loïs Mailou Jones was once told by a decorator that a colored girl wasn’t capable of producing the beautiful designs that she submitted as a textile designer to department stores. Hailing from Boston, Massachusetts, and studying in France in the 1930s, Ms. Jones ended up teaching at Howard University for 47 years, and continued painting until her death in 1998. She used watercolors and oils in many of her paintings.
October 7, 2010 § 2 Comments
It was a wee bit nippy last night as patrons huddled next to each other in the long line outside Crossroads Nightclub and Restaurant. But just as I suspected, most of them were probably die-hard fans of Gyptian, the Jamaican reggae artist who was scheduled to perform live there in a couple of hours. The show was a special treat to the regular crowd of Crossroads’ “Liquid Wednesdays” staple, but tonight, Gyptian pulled out much more than just the college base. Read More