Tag Archives: Electronic music

Moving on the Wires: This Week’s News and Posts

Mother Sally Source: Clothes Tell Stories

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*Also, reminder to please donate and/or share my fundraiser for Atlantic Impact’s Abroad for a Cause Challenge. Here is my blog post about it .

Barbados Cultural Fact of the Day: Besides the Landship masquerade, there are several traditional Barbados costumed characters who are seen during Crop Over festival, including Mother Sally (“Muddah Sally”), The Donkey Man, The Shaggy Bear and The Stilt Man. Traditionally performed by a male who wore a mask to hide his identity, Mother Sally was a figure meant to represent fertility with her exaggerated breasts and bottom. The masquerade character has similarities to Gelede Masquerade of Yoruba in South Western Nigeria and in Ghana among the Ga ethnic peoples. Today, the character is played by women too and their performances are filled with comedy and rhythmic pelvic dances. The costume sometimes comes across as problematic with the stereotypical look and especially with men dressing as the character in the past, but reflects Barbados particular cultural history. I will discuss the other costume characters in following posts.

*Narratively’s The Imaginarium of Black Cinema: “… the Museum of African American Cinema (MoAAC) is actually a modest four-room office space on the ninth floor of Harlem’s Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building.

MoAAC, formed in 2001 as a nonprofit organization, is the brainchild of Gregory Javan Mills, Ernest N. Steele and twenty other founding members. Mills, its current C.E.O. & president, remembers seeing an episode of “Tony Brown’s Journal” on PBS in the mid-1980s devoted to early black cinema. He and the others spent the next decade and a half researching the history of black cinema in the United States. The idea to create a museum didn’t materialize until the late ’90s. Mills is on a mission to secure funds to display the vast collection, evidence of the largely untold history of black cinema, at a permanent establishment.”

Continue reading Moving on the Wires: This Week’s News and Posts


Moving on the Wires: This Week’s News and Posts

*Please DONATE to my blog! Any amount will be appreciated! Either click the donate button on the side panel of the blog or send them via paypal to my email svfreebird87@gmail.com. Thank you!

*Dreamworks (I just saw their film, Rio 2, by the way and I did enjoy it. I also saw the preview short for this upcoming movie) is producing a movie, Home, that will feature a black female character, Tip, in the lead and she will be voiced by Rihanna. So, I will definitely be seeing this and I guess it is safe to say the character is Afro-Caribbean! Yay! Here is the synopsis:

“When Earth is taken over by the overly-confident Boov, an alien race in search of a new place to call home, all humans are promptly relocated, while the Boov get busy efficiently reorganizing the planet. But when one resourceful girl, Tip, (Rihanna) manages to avoid capture, she finds herself the accidental accomplice of a banished Boov by the name of Oh (Jim Parsons). Equally stubborn and set in their ways, these two fugitives realize there’s a lot more at stake than intergalactic relations as they embark on the road trip of a lifetime. Good thing they have a flying car.”

*Tonight Black Girl Nerds featured The Afrofuturist Affair‘s Rasheedah Phillips on their podcast.

*Kiplyn Primus and The Local Take on WCLK deidcated their program to The Octavia Butler Celebration of Fantastic Arts Symposium on Art and Activism event on April 16th. Tananarive Due, Adrienne Maree Brown and Dream Hampton join the “discussion about Afro Futurism, science fiction and fantasy, and the role of African Americans in fiction and in art.” Here is the broadcast. Also, you can watch some videos from the event here.

*Daniel Jose Older’s post, “Diversity Is Not Enough: Race, Power, Publishing:” ““The publishing industry looks a lot like these best-selling teenage dystopias: white and full of people destroying each other to survive.”

Continue reading Moving on the Wires: This Week’s News and Posts

Modern Griots Reviews: Music To Space Out To…

Funkadelic/Wefunk International (Clip Payne and 420 FUNK MOB) – Eve of the Emperor

Although George Clinton was forced to give away some of his legendary music to settle a debt, he and Funkadelic released some new music. Playing off the “emperor has no clothes” with the “emperor has no clones,” funkadelic is still funkatizing the universe. Give me them guitars!

AniLiMars -Absolute Martian

If the aliens from Close Encounters of the Third Kind had a beat machine, they would probably sound like this…

V-Dizzle – First Emerald

Great mixtape featuring mixes of video game music, movies, anime, and oldies, like Chi-lites’ “Have You Seen Her,” The White Noise’ “Love Without Sound,” Paul McCartney and the Wings’ “Dear Boy,” and Bob James’ “Weschester Lady.”

Duckwrth – Ducktape

He is a good combination of a current, fresh style and a knowledge of social politics, culture, and history. It collapses the future, present and past, especially in tracks like Hoverboard (there is a part where he almost sounds like Janelle Monae’s rap in “Many Moons.”),  Molotovs, which samples Fela Kuti,  and “When I Was Young,” sampling Ahmad’s “Back in the Day,” almost sounding like an homage to 90s hip-hop groups like Goodie Mob.

Just a Band – Sorry for the Delay

Their music is the right mix of various styles native to their home and abroad without each of them over-empowering the other, and continues the laid-back, light feel overall even in more danceable tracks like “Get Down” and “Bush Baby Disco” with thoughtful ideas. I could listen to this all day.

Modern Griots Interview: Alex Kelly

Source: Buffalo Rising

Three words could describe singer-songwriter Alex Kelly — fiery, funky and fierce. The fellow Queens, NYC native covers a range of styles in her music from electronic to dance to rock to pop. Her first step in setting her music career into motion was meeting  Robby Takac, bassist of the Goo Goo Dolls, who picked Kelly as lead singer and co-songwriter in the electro-pop band Amungus. The band together released The truth is…EP, which included singles like “Bad Kitty,” “Serious Chemistry,” and “Black Velvet Smooth.” After three years with the group, Kelly ventured on her own and released her solo EP, Sticky Butterfly, in 2010, which featured the song “Funky Hydrophonic” and well-received on Afropunk and Z100. Two years later, she released her full-length album, Orange Circle in May 2012. Working with pILLOW tHEORY lead Kelsey Warren, Kelly has  created an album that is a good mix of bold dance music, mystical meanings and social commentary. Following her performance at NYC’s CMJ Music Marathon this year, she will be embarking on her eight-city, East Coast tour this month and December. In the meantime, enjoy my interview with her below in which she discusses her music, her inspirations and meaning behind her album:

Continue reading Modern Griots Interview: Alex Kelly

Modern Griots Interview: Tunde Olaniran

Tunde Olaniran is a Michigan-based artist who “marches to the beat of his own drum.” The singer, rapper, songwriter and social activist has a background that defies any expectation others may have of him. Growing up in such places as Germany, Nigeria and London, Olaniran was raised by an American social activist mother and a Nigerian Christian father, all of which exposed him to a wide range of influences. Not only has Olaniran received praises from Kanye West at a Chicago Idol competition, but he has also shared the stage with Syleena Johnson, Ebony Bones, Switch, Diplo, XXXChange, and Jahcoozi. In addition to that, Olaniran has previously worked in two groups, Stereoluxxx, with Brian Preczewski, and taste this!. Some of his songs, including “I’m So Trill,” “Superconfidential” and “I Got It” has received airplay both nationally and internationally. In March 2010, he released the first part of his 3 EP series The First Transgressions and he has had some of his music videos played on MTV as well as has performed at South by Southwest. And with a style and sound that are just as unique, Olaniran is definitely someone that will get your attention.

How would you describe yourself as an artist?

Musically, there’s a blend of genres that spans from hip-hop to soul and techno/electronic sounds. Overall, African/Asian influences creep in through the sounds I sample and mix together. It’s drum and synth-heavy, and pretty danceable, or at least something you’ll groove to.

How did growing up in Germany, Nigeria, England, and Michigan as well as your social activist mother and Christian father impact you and your art?

Just getting to live a life free of absolutes gave me the freedom to think sideways about music, art and performance. I never had a very conventional sense of “THIS is how you are supposed to act, think, or talk,” because norms and values change from place to place.

Who are your major musical influences?

In general, I’m influenced by fantasy and science-fiction genres, in both film and literature. It includes books by Piers Anthony and Ursula K Le Guin, movies like Firestarter and Labyrinth, and comic books like X-Men and Harbinger. In terms of music, I think I’m inspired by artists like Fiona Apple, Missy Elliot, Santigold, Ebony Bones, Robyn, and Lauryn Hill.

What social activist projects are you involved in?

I work in reproductive and sexual health, as well as community empowerment through the arts. For the past year, I’ve been exploring ways to talk about health disparities with youth. We’ve also launched a mobile STD testing program in my city, so we can try to overcome barriers like racism, lack of transportation, etc that keep folks from getting tested regularly.

You were part of the band Taste this! and the duo Stereoluxxx. Can you describe your work with them and whether you enjoy more being part of a music group or a solo artist?

Taste this! was a rock band, and Stereoluxxx was an electro-r&b project. In both, I was the singer/songwriter, as well as occasional producer/arranger/keyboardist. I think that writing for both projects gave me a diverse perspective and now I feel confident in being able to write to just about anything. Being in a band comes with a sense of friendship and adventure, but I appreciate having total artistic freedom now and not having to dilute or compromise for someone else’s tastes.

Your style is definitely outside of the box. Who influenced it and has anyone criticized you because of it?

M.I.A. has definitely influenced my style; I think when I first heard her, I was hearing something that really spoke to me and showed me what was possible. It was like finding my music soulmate! So I started out and fumbled around with different sounds and ideas.. I think I’m still fumbling a bit but there is definitely no blueprint for making the kind of music I want to make.

I don’t think I’ve been criticized by it (although my mom has in the past wished I’d do more Luther Vandross covers, I’m sure!), but it’s definitely a barrier. It’s deemed “too avant-garde” by some. I think the hardest part is when one blog looks at my picture says “we don’t cover hip-hop” and then another blog listens to me and says “this isn’t really hip-hop.” So you get a little bounced around. However, I see it as my responsibility to just keep making music and work to create stuff that catches your ear no matter what you think you’re “into.”

Were there any major obstacles to you becoming a musician, either growing up or in the music industry?

I think my biggest obstacle is just staying motivated and not letting doubts stop you from moving forward. I’m learning that there are just certain steps you have to take. There’s nothing magical about that process.

What are your favorite instruments to work with?

Synths! I love synths and their sound and feel. I’ve got my eye on a new one right now, actually. When I actually buy it, I’ll probably end up writing a whole new album.

Can you describe how you, your style and stage performance (alien-looking female dancers) fit into the afrofuturist aesthetic?

I want to interrogate common narratives of black performance, especially Black American male performance. The crazy thing is that I’m doing it a bit unconsciously. After a recent show, this older guy came up to me and said “You remind me of Sun Ra,” and I had no idea who that was. Although I have a more Westernized perspective, I have also unknowingly absorbed influences from my studies (bachelors in Anthropology) as well as the deeper cultural influences of my Nigerian family (beneath the British/Christian colonial aspects). My performances are kind of like trance rituals, and I want to bring people into that experience. I utilize the wardrobe, makeup, lighting, and choreography to that end.

What are you currently doing and your music plans for the future after releasing your EP The First Transgressions and performing at SXSW? 

I’m planning some east coast dates in Mid-April, and will be filming my next video in March. We plan to release a single and some remixes leading up to “The Second Transgression.”

Thank you to Tunde Olanira and Olivia Dikambi for the interview. Watch his video below for “Cobra” and check out his youtube page to see performances and videos for his EP.