Category Archives: singer

Featured Event: Somi @ The Clarice Performance Arts Center, University of Maryland (Dreaming Zenzile: Work-in Progress) Sunday, August 20, 2017 . 4 PM

20729691_10155256011695589_7977099732533519697_nDreaming Zenzile is a modern jazz play based on the extraordinary life of late South African singer and political activist Miriam Makeba. Written by vocalist & songwriter Somi, the play features both original music and reinterpretations of Makeba’s popular repertoire through the modern jazz idiom and small ensemble arrangements. Dreaming Zenzile is set in Castel Volturno, Italy on the night of Makeba’s final performance. Somi performs the role of Miriam Makeba.  Framed as a meta-performance, Makeba moves between the memory and evocation of real and dreamed experiences about her life journey.  This project is largely inspired by Somi’s recurring dreams of being in conversation with Makeba that Somi began having after the loss of her father. During those conversations, Makeba would try to explain life choices Somi made as a professional artist to her father despite what he might have traditionally expected of Somi as an African woman by using Makeba’s own life in America as an example he might better understand. The piece, therefore, is a reflection on both Makeba’s biography and of those dreamed conversations. The word “Zenzile” is actually Makeba’s true first name, which means “you have done it to yourself” in her native language of Xhosa. In short, this work is meant to be an exposition of the burdens and freedoms that accompany the gift of song.

Produced in association with Octopus Theatricals

Somi wishes to thank The Miriam Makeba Estate and Mama Africa Cultural & Social Trust for their support and permission to create this work


I have followed Somi’s career for many years.  She has risen to the top with both her tenacity, talent, and beauty.

This forthcoming project looks and feels like it will truly make a statement.  Be sure to check out who and what Somi is all about!

For more info : Creation Residency 2017-18

Artist info: Somi

Somi on: Facebook

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Haitian musician Paul Beaubrun sings for his people, he sings for his country! (@CAAM live performance event)

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Yes, I made it to CAAM (California African American Museum) earlier this month for their LIVE PERFORMANCES to catch one of my favorite artists to date, Paul Beaubrun

He made his way toward the stage with such a calm and humble manner it made me rest easy and look forward to what was to come. There was no huge fanfare just Paul and his percussionist Morgan Zwerlein –they took to the stage and made the entire room feel welcome.  He played with such raw enthusiasm and love.  Every now and again I find so much truth in watching an artist perform.  Beaubrun is definitely one of those rare ones.

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Together they brought the audience to their feet, freeing the room from any restraints. At one point Paul was joined on stage by legendary drummer Munyungo Jackson lifting the entire room into one beautiful frequency.  In that moment, we were in the presence of pure spirit.

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Paul Beaubrun’s music not only pulsates with rhythm and force, it also makes you think.  His love for Haiti and its people is commanding.  Paul gave us a window into what being Haitian is all about.  Check out the clip below.

It was such an honor to get a snippet of time to share with Paul.  Artist to artist we connected instantly and I was able to impart my respect and admiration for his work and his presence.  Look for a new album coming late 2017! Follow Paul Beaubrun on Instagram

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Paul Beaubrun is a scion of Haitian musical royalty, Paul has spent his life living to the beat. Son of the Grammy nominated band Boukman Eksperyans, his earliest memories is of rhythm and sound. Moving to New York as a youth he was inspired by his heritage to begin crafting a sound all his own. Constantly aware of his roots, the struggle of an immigrant and the drive of New York life, Paul began to create a path where music, activism, and history meet. Read and find out more:

Paul Beaubrun

I had a wonderful time.  CAAM is a great place to see live music.  The room is inviting and of course, the shows are free!

All photos & video courtesy Philippe Roc

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That dude Tai Allen, POET, MUSICIAN, A MAKER OF THINGS

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Yes, I know this guy and proud of it.  We have shared stages and shared non-conversational moments of the poetic kind.  I have respect and admiration for the continuous presentation of his gifts. He speaks in ways that hold us accountable as human beings.  He is in your face with that confident wordsmith kinda power. He doesn’t have to speak loudly or often to actually be heard and remembered, I think that is what has always drawn me to his work and to keep up with what he has going on.

VISIT: TAIALLEN.COM

From across the landscape, I have sometimes wished I was hangin’ back in Brooklyn with some of the folks, Tai being one in particular. That’s ok though, I can read and listen to his new works!

“The award-winning poet/soul singer’s new project uses poetry and songs to create a narrative around innocence lost to abuse and weaponized love.”

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#NoJewels is a book that tries to narrate a young man’s life that was loved well, loved wrong and, once, not loved at all. Sadly, this story is not an aberration or oddity. There are numerous No Jewels tales in every city. This book of lines, devices, stanza, and spaces hopes to serve them all.

The 20-poem chapbook reinterprets classic literary forms, such as triolets and haiku, to create a narrative of a young man’s loss of innocence. The book follows a psychological path of being subjected to an abuser’s potent mix of love and abuse and the subsequent emergence.

“There’s a lot of trauma in the world, in this story,” explained Allen. “But, even in the midst of that, the collection is about finding yourself. You can emerge on the other side.”

No Jewels

nothing to offer
but remembers (without “whys”)
of a fall i raked,

bagged and placed on the
curb — cliche-close to the cans
waiting for trash day

-tai allen

released April 11, 2017

Available on Amazon

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Please be sure to check out the sound that accompanies the book!!! Get ready to Groove to truths and beats!! Right up my ally!! THE “TRAVEL SONG” HAS ME SWAYIN’ AS I WRITE THIS PIECE…YES, I PUT IT ON REPEAT!

Tai Allen is a respected creative who excels in multiple disciplines. The Brooklyn-based creative director is a poet who sings over music he has produced. His poetry has been published in noted tomes ( Bomb, Killens Reviews, OPEN and African Voices) and his music has been heralded by such publications as SoulTracks, CentricTV, Soulhead, Okayplayer and Uptown Magazine. He has headlined such venues as BAMcafé Live in Brooklyn, Nighttown in Rotterdam and the American Jazz Museum’s Blue Room in Kansas City, as well as co-hosted the main stage for Art of Cool Festival in Durham.

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Be sure to check out this artist and his work.  Please feel free to share any and all information you find here!

Thank-you Tai Allen for using your story and your art to open hearts and minds.  To bring things to light!  To create spaces and places for us to shine!  1Luv always!

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Gina Breedlove: Her Voice & Soul Can Heal All Wounds

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There is nothing more powerful than a voice filled with soul, raw emotion and the alchemic brew to heal and bring light to darkness. Gina Breedlove fashions her sound in a way that draws you in and envelopes you in love and magic.  She lifts you up and leaves you feeling empowered and strong.  There is nothing holding back, there is nothing hiding, there is nothing selfish, there is nothing egotistical about this song bird.

I have had the pleasure of hearing Gina sing (on more than one occasion) and getting to know her personally through friends. Her softness and Goddess like nature has and will always inspire me.  She is feminine strength and power personified.  I watched her and learned.  I listened to her and imagined.  I sat in her space and grew. That is what Gina brings to the world, she brings change, she brings truth and she brings the bridge where all can cross and find passion, love, and balance.

 

She began performing at age 15, singing back up for the incomparable Phyllis Hyman. Since, gina has toured all over the world with artists who, like herself, define and redefine genre; Harry Belafonte, Toshi Reagon, Ronny Jordan, Ani Difranco, Craig Harris, and Sekou Sundiata, to name a few.

She calls her music Folksoul, a coalescence of Rhythm & Blues, with story telling cadences of Folk, Soul, and the gospel truth. Folksoul is music that lifts the Spirit, opens the heart and allows one to find their way. Breathing into the Sound of this woman’s voice, gina embodies healing artistry. An Actress as well , gina created the role of “Sarabi” for the Broadway production of “The Lion King”, and recently appears in 2 Spike Lee films, ”Living Da Dream” for NBA 2k16 and “Chiraq“.

If you don’t know anything about her you must visit here website: ginabreedlove.com

If you have never seen her perform you must see her show if she is in your town.  Find out more about her tour schedule @ her website in the above link! Lucky for those in NYC, Gina will be at Joe’s Pub June 20th! joespub.com

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We are all very lucky that a spirit like Gina is roaming the earth with here healing nature.  We are all blessed to have our sister in love walk the path of helping to heal the wounds of the world.  We are so very blessed to have an image such as Gina to share with our girls! Yes yes we are blessed!

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The Power of Neycha

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A rockstar…a healer…the embodiment of love blowing into any room.  Her fiery forward nature is what makes Neycha a force to be reckoned with.  She is transformation coupled with empowerment. A much-needed feminine force unto the world.

For 18+ years, K. Neycha Herford, the founder and CEO of The ReMixed Life™ and creator of TheCrossfade™,  has helped thousands recreate their lives through multiple mediums including transformational counseling, lifestyle coaching, writing, speaking, providing abbreviated advice for national radio and television audiences, as well as stirring provocative and compelling conversations as a skilled interviewer and lead moderator.

Have you ever been in the same room with a person that changes the emotional shape of the space, have you ever walked away from a person and realized somehow that your life has been made better.  That is the essence she sprinkles about the world at large.

In this piece I want to focus on something called Crossfading.   Pioneered by artist and healer k. Neycha Herford over a decade ago, Crossfading is both an inventive transformation method and a way of life led by those Neycha dubbed as “crossfaders” – who intentionally push the boundaries of perception, remix reality and cultivate bold, authentic lives. 

The Crossfade Method™ engages critical self-inquiry, encourages a mystical interpretation of life, and a commitment to reconstructing our personal narratives in ways that feel purposeful and empowering, rather than stifling and oppressive.  

Learn more here: www.crossfaderlife.com

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In our culture, there is still the stigma of staying away from self-investigation. We are taught to say “everything is ok” or “I’m alright” when things are not.  Finding your purpose and stepping past your pain is quite literally still frowned upon.  There is so much we don’t face and talk about.  There are so many dreams being neglected and set aside.  That is why Neycha is so very important during this time we are now living in.  We have to conversate, investigate, dream bigger and translate our trauma into beauty, power, and the realization that we are whole and creative beings capable of immense success.  Success in the sense of confidence and self love.

While doing some catching up on what Neycha has been up to I got lost in her loving world.  Her attractive world of empowerment.  I wanted to get on a plane at that precise moment and knock on her door in Brooklyn and say, “I need a splash of Neycha to boost me on high.”  She has given me the courage to step out even further than I have in the past.  She has taught me how to take the talents I have and set them on high.  To believe in the larger picture of myself, larger than I thought possible.  Like starting this blog and writing in a way I believed I wasn’t good at.  There are no closed doors or windows in this world of Neycha, only open ones.  Step into something grander!

Stand up…CROSSFADE and #NEVAHBLACKDOWN

Find out more about Neycha the artist here : www.neychaonline.com

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KGR

how much am i lovin’ the brand new Arrested Development song and video

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Always been a fan and always will be a fan of Arrested Development.  This new song/video In 1 Day (Whole World Changed) is so fresh and needed at this time.  Arrested Development has always been able to say something strong and keep the groove going. This track makes you dance, think and smile while making you vibe on life!

Enjoy!

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Arrested Development on: Facebook 

Arrested Development: Website

A Blurb of Respect for Solange Knowles

 

I never expected to write anything about Solange.  I’ve always admired her from afar but kept my distance as a fan.  Her fashion bedazzled me and on occasion, I would wish myself into her closet so I could snatch pretty much all of her clothes.  I kept hearing so much about the new album “A Seat at the Table” and finally I listened and felt myself being drawn to her new and brilliant expression.  All of that aside, however, I am not compelled to write about that or share too much of that side of her.  I am here to share a side of her that has brought me to a place of admiration and inspiration. I am here to share an article/poem/bit of writing that I came across after I did a little perusing on her website solangemusic.com Its words jumped off the page and pulled me in.  She opens up about her experience as a black woman! BRAVO! I might be late to the table with this blurb of respect for this icon but that’s ok because now is better than never! — karen gibson roc

“And Do You Belong? by Solange Knowles” — Excerpt

“You are also fully aware, now that you use your platform consistently to speak out on social, racial, and feminist issues, that people who have no awareness of your work outside of gossip sites and magazines, some of which who are most likely voting for Donald Trump, have been starting to engage and/or target you in public and social media in regards to race.

(And yes, having white people constantly call you the n-word, or say you and your people are degenerates that need to leave America or zoo like animals, surely does not help you feel more comfortable in predominately white spaces)

You read headlines that say, “Solange feels uncomfortable with white people,” and want to use the classic  “I have many white friends” or “Half of my wedding guests were white” line to prove that you do not dislike white people but dislike the way that many white people are constantly making you feel. Yet you know no amount of explaining will get you through to this type of person in the first place.

You have lived apart of your life in predominately white spaces since you were a kid and even had your 3rd-grade teacher tell you “what a nigger is” in front of your entire white class. You watched your parents trying to explain why this was wrong to her and learned then it can be virtuously impossible to get your point across.” (read full piece)

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