KAE SUN: When the Pot

 

WE FIRST MET KAE SUN in November 2010. We had heard from a mutual friend that dude was taking Toronto by storm. Definitely, not Canada dry. Kae Sun was back in Accra for the first time in a decade to perform at the High Vibes Festival. Tall, bright-eyed and open, he was amped to be home reconnecting with family, friends and the city. Naturally, Kae Sun was a bit anxious about presenting his intimate acoustics to hometown folks. It was clear then that the singer/songwriter was still minting his sound, finding his voice through the strings of a guitar.

Back in Toronto, Kae Sun uses the road as his tool shed. A busy tour schedule across Canada provides a sonic lab to experiment with different rhythms, textures and experiences. And he’s been in the basement working on a followup to 2011′s Outside the Barcode. Kae Sun has teamed up with producer friends Josh and Mark to create a sound that is both futuristic and organic. He’s catching on, too – if proof is in the pudding, his upcoming June show with K’Naan in Toronto is butterscotch.

A bold blend of opposite angles – Ghana and Canada, folk + funked-up soul, futuristic and organic – that congeal in just the right way. Kae Sun’s sound is altogether here and nowhere  - he is fully present in the moment yet time traveling between the before and the after. His sound is now grown up and full-bodied – his melodies thick, strong, coffee brown alert. He sings of terrific and terrible things, strumming out each whisper and thunder through strings that compel you, the listener, to respond in some way.

A cheer, a moan, a hum, a teeth suck, a shake of the head, a handclap, a bang-your-back-out boogie. Some response must meet this call.

We can dig it. That’s why we were excited to help produce Kae Sun’s first headliner show in Ghana this May. It was a lovely time with more than 200 folks squeezed into a bluesy joint called Taverna Tropicana. We all came to witness Kae Sun BLAST IT along with Ofie Kodjoe, Tauri Deveaux, Tapcuma and PaaKwesi Davis.

To see Kae Sun in action, check out video from our interview above and an exclusive performance of “When the Pot” below:

Kae Sun’s RISING

COMING HOME, PLAYING WITH K’NAAN + MAKING FUTURISTIC MUSIC

Kae Sun in Accra, Osu District / MAY 2012

ADA: So, you’re back home. What’s the homecoming been like? You’ve done a show. How are you feeling?
KS: The show went really well. I’m feeling really good about being back home. I was here two years ago for the first time after ten years. This trip is a little different since I don’t have the same level of anxiety and excitement I had on the first trip. But this is the first time I’m doing a show [in Ghana] with my name headlining the bill. I’m glad the people came out and I think they enjoyed it. I think they had a good time.

ADA: They did. The level of energy in the audience was cool. How does that feel going back to Toronto now? What kind of energy, memories and inspiration are you taking back?
KS: It’s an interesting time for me right now because I feel like my music’s getting more of a profile. What I’m taking back is the energy of Accra – not only in a sense of the fun part of it – but also the work that needs to be done in so many ways. It’s a good time. I’m glad this happened now, you know?

Kae Sun in Dzorwulu, Accra / NOV 2010

ADA: Yeah man, we can see your growth in the last two years. Outside the Barcode‘s recently dropped [2011]. What direction do you feel yourself going in as a musician and songwriter? Where is Kae Sun now and where do you see yourself going?
KS: It’s cool for me right now because I’m starting to see that my influences are really starting to show in a unique kind of way. When I went back after my first trip, I did this acoustic album – it was the first time I had recorded with just me and a guitar. I toured with that for about five months. I’m growing as a musician, playing guitar. Growing as a singer. I”m working on a new album now and for the first time we are bringing in the indie rock, synth and dubstep influences and blending that with playing actual instruments. I’m really excited about where my music is going. It’s evolving and becoming futuristic. But not losing the organic element. I’m developing a sound.

ADA: How do you define futuristic in terms of your sound?
KS: When I say futuristic, I mean a better tomorrow. A more fused society where influences are diverse and well represented.  For me, my music is that. I was talking to a friend and we were saying the thing in Ghana is exposure – being exposed to different global elements. I think that if we had more exposure to different cultures  then we would have the real future that we crave. I’m talking like a Korean speaking Twi – that’s what excites me about Africa’s future and where we are headed.
ADA: You’re building exposure here for your music. Do you plan to spend more time in Ghana?
KS: Not at the moment. As far as infrastructure, there are still some things I find hard to do here.

ADA: What are those things?
KS: There’s no diverse array of bands – guys who can play indie rock or punk and the live music thing has a bit of a way to go, you know? I like to see shows and a lot of different acts. If I lived here, I wouldn’t get that and I feel like I would be missing out on something here. But that is gonna change. I’m pretty sure it will.

ADA: You have a big show happening when you get back to Canada. Tell us about it.
KS: Yeah well, I’m playing with K’Naan in Toronto on June 8th. I’m excited about it because it’s for this art festival that’s in the city every year. A lot of people come out to it because it’s free and it promotes most art in Toronto. We’ll also be going into some schools and doing outreach with the kids – that’s with K’Naan as well.

ADA: Say more about the upcoming album.
KS: The first single for the new album will be released in the next couple months. I’m working with friends of mine – Josh and Mark – and they’re just guys that build their own gear, they have this basement feel and they’re really adventurous in sound and they know their stuff. We’re just doing this incredibly organic, futuristic record, you know?

ADA: So is it experimentation? Just a matter of jamming together in the moment or do you go in with a finite idea?
KS: The great thing is that I finish the songs on guitar first. I write it. So that way when you strip it all down – all the different elements of it – you still have a song. As Josh always says, we need to start with a good song. So there’s that and then we experiment around the song. So if you’re into that kind of stuff you get the experimentation, the textures and you also get a good song that I can play acoustically, so that’s the approach.

ADA: What kind of instruments are you using with this album?
KS: Live bass, some programmed drums, electronic drum kit, synthesizers, acoustic guitar. Thinking about doing some horn parts, some string parts as well.

ADA: We’re always interested in the artistic process and how it changes from person to person. When you are writing a song, is it a matter of inspiration or is it routine? Do you set aside time everyday to write or do you submit to the impulse?
KS: Well, I used to go by the impulse but that’s not very smart because inspiration is a hell of a thing to wait on. But everyday I write. I write poems as well so I’m always trying to write something and I don’t know what it’s gonna turn into. And everyday I play the guitar. So you just have to show up and hope that the inspiration shows up. And then the strange thing that happens sometimes is that you may have bits and pieces of stuff.

On my phone, I have melodies – whether I’m humming or singing a line – and you’ll find that some words you wrote fit with some other melody that you recorded years or months ago or that may fit with a guitar part you had before. So the good thing is that, yeah you’re waiting on inspiration but if it doesn’t show up you can just try to trick it, like bring different elements together so you always have songs. I’m giving away all the secrets…
ADA: It’s like a consistent process of remixing. Like you’re making a mixtape in action.
KS: Yeah exactly. It’s like a collage where different elements will work together and if it doesn’t work, somebody may pass you a beat tape. I like to go that way, too. It may fit. It’s just being able to constantly work on something.

ADA: As you are preparing for this album, what themes inspire you while in the basement with Josh and Mark? Are there particular musical inspirations, is there a book, some artwork, life itself? What are the elements you’re using to construct this experience?
KS: You said it yourself. Life itself is doing that – reading, watching films, talking with friends, seeing shows, traveling. I still don’t have a title for the album. This is the first time I don’t have a conscious theme or title for an album I’m working on. I like that it’s like that because it’s whatever comes out – I don’t filter or edit it.

For more information, check out www.kaesunmusic.com  /  @kaesun  www.facebook.com/kaesun  /  http://otbcolony.tumblr.com

Sun Ra’s SPACE IS THE PLACE (1974)

We happened upon this clip yesterday and what a goldmine! Gotta love our people…

The film trailer is from avant-garde jazz musician, Sun Ra‘s 1974 Black sci-fi masterpiece, Space is the Place.

Sun Ra is a prolific figure in understanding Afro-Futurism as a historical set of ideologies and practices. Reflecting the progressive, ever-evolving nature of music, Sun Ra used multiple names to describe himself and his band “The Arkestra” (remix of “orchestra”), including “The Intergalactic Arkestra”, “The Solar Myth Arkestra”, “His Cosmo Dsicipline Arkestra”, the “Blue Universe Arkestra” and “The Jet Set Omniverse Arkestra” to name a few.

In the film, Sun Ra has been M.I.A. since his European tour in June 1969. He is teleported to a different planet with his band and decides to resettle Black folks here. The vehicle for flight to this outerspace utopia -  Sun Ra’s out-there jazz music. Sound also becomes a weapon to fight off white FBI agents and Sun Ra’s arch nemesis – The Overseer, a pimp-overlord that poses as a community leader and philanthropist but is actually destroying Black communities.

Check out the trailer above and watch the full film below.

Happy Africa Day, fam.

Beastin’ It: The Style AVATARS

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SINGER EFYA IN DUABA SERWA

The homie OB Abenser‘s FashionistaGH was on the scene for ARISE Magazine‘s first annual Fashion Week in Lagos this March. Take a look at super fresh Ghanaian designer, Nelly Hagan-Aboagye‘s line Duaba Serwa / @duabaserwa. The Legon alum who studied Nursing + Graphic Design started her collections only two years ago. Duaba Serwa is simple yet versatile – flipping from whimsical and romantic to structured with bold contrasts to glittery Grace Jones’ glam.

Check out the fashion show and jam down to EFYA aka @EFYA_Nokturnal‘s joint, “Blow My Mind” with rapper D-Black.

In other news, StyleLikeU‘s closet confessional interviews with hip hop artist, Theophilus London – Afro-funkster design twins, Dynasty + Soul – plus dancer/healer Lyfe Silva are ever so subtly addictive. Each intimately reveals how style blasts ideas about racial identity, gender, sexuality, self-worth and determination. Take a gander through this visual garden.

THEOPHILUS LONDON (Trinidad + Tobago/Brooklyn, NY):

“At three or four years old, my Auntie Cleo bought me a pink tuxedo. It was a weird number, but I’d wear it every Sunday. We went to a big Catholic Church… people would look at me like I was crazy.”


DYNASTY + SOUL (Nigeria/West Indies/Brooklyn, NY):

“Since I was like 11, I would get the ‘are you a boy or a girl? Before I would feel embarrassed about that, but now I accept it. I’m like ‘I’m letting your mind run, you can’t figure it out’ I’ve grown to love that aspect.” (Dynasty)

LYFE SILVA (Native American/Portuguese/African American):

“I wear a lot of African-esque things. A lot of people, will go ‘There goes mama Africa.’ I think it’s a terrible cliché when people choose to categorize. I thought we were just okay with being who we are.”

AFRO-POSH DIGS OF THE WEEK vol. 1

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dancer/healer LYFE SILVA’s star trek, Courtesy of @stylelikeu

We go beatnuts for innovative style. And this historical moment is producing some really fresh and distinct African designers. Bold mod patterns, chunky cultural prints, vivid psychadelic palettes, and undeniable street swag are fast becoming the defining elements of this emerging, global motley crew.

Hip hop artist, @theophiluslondon’s bogga style/ @stylelikeu

Style provides an amazing lens for us to communicate and interpret our relationship with the environment, i.e. who we are to the world and what the world is to us. Style is a cool and critical feature of the African imagination. Through style we show our understanding of the world and our place in it.

Designers DYNASTY + SOUL’s Migration Fashion / @stylelikeu

There are some chill folk we’d like you to meet. Twice a month, we’ll post a style segment on the blog featuring fascinating Ghanaian and African designers, stylists, and everyday gamechangers who think deeply and creatively about style, identity and artistic capacity.

Take a look at what our antennas picked up this week.

GHANAIAN designer Ozwald Boateng’sI Love Soweto” photoshoot:

From the beginning I have always wanted to shoot this collection in Africa, and The ‘I Love Soweto’ shoot captured what I was trying to do so beautifully. Spring/Summer 2012 essentially represents a European take on an African aesthetic, and my African heritage coupled with the setting of Soweto really gave the concept it’s authenticity’.

To learn more about @OzBoateng‘s design journey, check out A Man’s Story (2010):

NIGERIAN designer, Andrea Iyamah’s divine vintage future collections, abstract sketches and natty blog:

Peep Iyamah’s DinMa Collection (“It is Beautiful”) in action:

the beautiful struggle of Lady Jay (Mix 1)

by Sionne Rameah Neely, Ph.D.

lady jay at soundcheck before the @kaesun show, taverna tropicana / 5 MAY 2012

Like it or not, Lady Jay is all rum and coke. Sweet like pure sugar with a heaping side of suckerpunch. Equal parts love and war. If you don’t believe it, peep the Twitter game by alter-ego PurpleNasty Oblivial aka @ladyjaywah.

Making a silly face, she passes a hand over her mostly shaven head, braided bun on top and shares, “I’m a very aggressive person. My anger is not nice. But at the same time, I know how to make people smile or laugh. The extreme way of me being happy and nice is how extreme I am when I am angry.”

Her sound is like that too. A haunting ebb and flow both bold and unassuming. A scratchy sultry sound textured with the bright patterns of life’s ups and downs. Lady Jay will be the first to admit that she’s a work in progress – an almost 22-year old woman finding her way and getting grown.

The young singer has crossed a few barbwire fences to get here and she’s got the scars to prove it.

Long story short: girl moves from U.S. back home to Ghana for boy – family not too happy about it  – girl and boy end badly – family not too happy about it – girl struggles to make it alone, goes broke + homeless.

Girl finds home in music and is rebuilding from the bottom up.

Lady Jay muses, “I did anger management for about two years but it didn’t work. I have to learn myself. Nobody can teach me.”

Lately, Lady’s been stitching herself together through music. Becoming anew by singing and writing. She adds, “For now, what makes me is my battles, fighting and recovery. Recovery is resistance to fail – that’s where I am now – but at the same time, I’m still very vulnerable.”

As the princess of Panji Anoff’s Pidgen Music – that eclectic camp of music misfits that includes King Ayisoba, FOKN BOIS (Wanlov the Kubolor + M3NSA), Sankwas Bois and Yaa Pono – Lady has the space to spread her wings. Her Afro-posh punk style mirrors her multiple personalities – at once she’s coquettish and innocent, the next crackerjack funny and playful, then bashful and pensive, next fast and furious. Always lovely and raw.

These moods swing through her melodies, songs she’s been mixing in the kitchen with Sewor Okudzeto of A.R.T. (African Relaxation Techniques). Lady Jay’s part of a special mainstay of artists who perform at our shows. She’s sincere about evolving her craft, always ready to perform and down for whatever. Over the last year, her acoustic sets with Sewor have built a cult following in Accra. She’s also known to flip an acoustic remix of Amy Winehouse or Frank Ocean if you should be so lucky.

Right now, two of Lady’s tracks are doing the ring shout in my head.

“Black is Beautiful” is soft and pliable like running water or limp limbs. It’s full of sun and sadness, a glow-in-the-dark moon poked open by pinholes.

She beckons us closer: See for yourself. See for yourself. My Black is beautiful. I shine so bright I don’t need light. Laady Jay Waaah.

It makes me nostalgic for Roberta Flack‘s “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.” It’s the kind of song that makes you want to cry. You ache to release something damp, dark and deep down that you weren’t even aware was there in the first place. Not because you are in pain but because you feel good. You listen and long to cry. It feels just like going out to dance in the rain.

Mi Do Wo” (I love you in Fante) sounds like the clinging clutter of moments after the bomb has gone off. You stand in the rubble of wrecked love and heartbreak, stunned and silent. Lady’s voice is stained with the sticky icky pangs of sacrifice, of a right love gone wrong. But her loyalty is stuck in the gutter, her heart on park for someone called Nana Yaw.

Lady Jay pumps a fist in her palm, “I’ve got to blow up by the end of the year, you know?” Well, that shouldn’t be a problem. She’s working on music and video projects with azonto craze producer, E.L. And The African Woman’s Development Fund selected her to write and record their International Women’s Day anthem – “African Woman (I Will Succeed)” – the remix with Sena Dagadu (prod. by Irie Maffia’s ELO) is a backbender, mind you.

All this without even releasing a mixtape.

I ask her, how would you introduce who and where Lady Jay is now?

She pauses slightly then answers. “Hi, I’m Lady Jay and I’m entangled.” (pause)
“Courageously twisted.” The singer shrugs her shoulders, “I’m just growing with it.”

READ PART TWO

Hear Now:

See Now:

[The Dame's Opus 22]: Words by Lady Jay

As told to Sionne Neely, Ph.D.

LADY JAY PERFORMS AT LA PAILLOTE TAKPEKPE / APRIL 2012

growing up in ghana / london town is calling
My name is Lady Nancy Jay. I was born in Tema [just outside Accra]. My father’s a seaman. Since he was always at sea, I grew up with my mum who was an artist and teacher.

My parents have their own ideas about what a child should grow up to be. Those are normally that you be a doctor or an engineer. But I love singing. I sing every chance I get. My sisters are not rebellious like me. My second older sister can sing way better than me. She’s a nurse now. She wasn’t interested in doing the singing thing.

LADY JAY CLOWNS AROUND WITH EFYA

I’ve known Jane [@EFYA_Nokturnal] since I was 6. She was in Class Three and I was in Class One. Me and Jane, we used to sing at Assemblies of God.

I was back and forth between London from late ’99. My father was living there. I remember going to Aburi Girls and they cut all my hair off. My hair was long and I would do these different styles. It was traumatizing. Man, Aburi Girls…they didn’t understand that I had a British accent. It just pissed them off. That a Black girl just like them would have this accent. Here, they don’t even know what being Ghanaian is. The girls think it’s weaves.

In 2006, right before we graduated secondary school in London, my friends got murdered. We were about twelve in a group – Turkish, Kurdish, Jamaican, Ghanaian and Nigerian. It was cool cool. Then Jamie and Voko were pushed in front of a train. Yemmasi killed himself. Ikey got stabbed. Henry got beaten to death. My parents were scared so I came back to Ghana.

LADY JAY SINGS, @ACCRADOTALT LAWN JAM / JAN. 2012

boston public / states of sneaker freak
In 2007, my British secondary school GEC was not good enough for American colleges. So they asked me to do junior and senior year again [at a Boston high school]. It was different because I was pure London. When I walked down the street they could tell I wasn’t from there. I wasn’t one of them. The first day of high school I was in a tracksuit and matching hoodie. Yes, I was a tomboy. Hardcore. Think about any Nike trainers. Think of it! Me, I’m  a sneaker freak.

LADY JAY AT IND!E FUSE / DEC. 2011

$98 rent in idaho /i was swagging
In 2009, the Latterday Saints Church [where I was a member] helped me to pay for college [full scholarship] in Idaho. Rugsburg is very small – you can walk from one end of the town to the other. I was the most modest, the coolest girl you’d ever meet. I’d cook for my friends every Sunday after church and I would do some fancy stuff. Me, I’m a good cook. I love to cook. I like to create things that people have not even imagined. That is what I used to do.

I love Idaho. It’s peaceful. There are no skyscrapers destroying the environment. It is so natural – the mountains, sand dunes, waterfalls. I started doing cool things I said I’d never do – lawnboarding, rockclimbing, wall grafting. I want to go back because I felt so connected to God and I felt I was living a life that was true.  I want to live in Idaho one day.

love + death
I used to be very attracted to only light-skinned guys. All my life. If you’re not mixed race, I won’t even look your way! I just thought they were more beautiful. Honestly. That was before now.

Two years after I go to Boston, my boyfriend in Ghana starts bugging out. I hear he’s been misbehaving. I’m like, “Baby, why you doing this to me now?!” He scrambled his way [back] into my life. Now the pressurizing started. “You have to come to Ghana, come soon.” So I had to put a stop to everything I was doing – put everything on park. I move back to Ghana for him. I came to Ghana when I wasn’t supposed to for him. Now we had this little dispute cuz he likes to flirt a lot. And he has this group of girlfriends around him all the time. But he felt happy around them. And me, if you’re happy I’m not gonna stress you.

But I knew my boy oh. I had loved him and I had loved him for that long…five years. So, I knew my boy and my boy was changing. I knew my boy and my boy was changed. When I found out, I tried to act hardcore. No matter how hard you are, just one boy can mess you up! It hit me like a train…

By this time, I was so bitter and hurt and betrayed by everything. Even the leaves. I felt the leaves had betrayed me. I hit rock bottom. I wanted to die.

But I didn’t die. I lived. Can you imagine, all of that turmoil over some stupid idiot? My father bore and kicked me out because I wasn’t supposed to come to Ghana yet. I went to live with my aunt in Kumasi who said, “What do you want to do?” Me, I like to sing. She said, “Well, start using your voice for something.”

just like music
Bra Kevin was the first person who recorded me in my life! Back then I used to rap. With rap, you’re always thinking here [points to head] but two times faster. Me, I’m lazy. I don’t like too much of a process.

I live and breathe music. I turned to music when I felt I had nobody. Me, I take things differently. I’m trying to see things from a lot of corners. With writing – [the inspiration] is a moment’s notice – it comes and goes. BOOM! It’s here and it blends with whatever memories are popping up in my head.

We are not underground artists. Me, I was on TV3 and they don’t know oh! That is how they describe we. Just because we are different. But Ghana, be afraid…

stretching the now
I didn’t have a place to stay. I was homeless. Physically but also emotionally. I had been hurt so badly and felt I was alone. I cried so much all the time. I’d find someone to unleash some anger on. Panji saved me. But I would still carry myself outside like I was having fun. But I was dying. I even died. The Lady I knew died. She was gone and something else came.

Sometimes, I wish I was the old me. I’m in a stage in my life where I am struggling very hard. But I’ve come a long way and I’m not going to give up. I’ve been to Nigeria more than ten times! I’ve been to South Africa, Mali – Timbuktu, how many of you have been to Timbuktu?! Right now, the way I see life is mind-blowing. How are we even living? How are we breathing, how are we talking? Why are we in existence? It’s amazing! There must be something.

@ladyjaywah / www.facebook.com/LadyNancyJay

READ PART ONE

See Now:

*Please note the name of the song is “Interlude” not “Can’t Believe” as indicated in the video.

Still Homeland or Death: We Must Love Our Homeland Like Sankara

TO: The Africans

WORDS: Akinloye Ogundipe, Jr., a son of the landmass known as Africa and the people collectively known as the Africans 

IMAGES: Silent Evolution, an Underwater Sculpture Installation by Jason deCaires Taylor (Grenada, West Indies + Mexico)

It would be better to live a life of struggle for our continent than a life of ease in the service of another land. We may debate about the name of our land. Did we choose this name? Is this the name we want? If so, why?

But we cannot deny that the landmass currently known as Africa is the landmass of the people collectively known as the Africans. It is also undeniable that though there are many subcultures within our land, there are common historical, linguistic, and cultural threads that form the unified twine of a shared African culture.

Clearly, our land is filled with many beautiful things; its treasures innumerable (upright people, marvelous intellect, a rich geography, etc.). Yet, it is also clear that disorder permeates our land and, unfortunately, this is not new. Alien ways have masqueraded as the norm for a long time.

Those from among us in positions of heightened responsibility betray us. Those from foreign lands sow seeds of dissension between us for the purpose of exploiting our collective resources. Sadly, the worst of the plague that has befallen our land is our reaction to the disorder in which we are immersed.

In the midst of this chaos many of us have abandoned our land; many of those who have left dream of never having to return to live out the day-to-day grind and many of those that have not left dream of doing so one day. Some of those that stay at home, beat into submission, simply suffer the status quo.

The reason is clear; the conditions in our land have created an environment that is not conducive to achieving the fulfilling lives that Africans could be living if a sense of order and unity prevailed. In turn, we invest high levels of energy in various forms of escape both psychological and physical; from the creation of foreign inspired edifices to the annual trails of death our youth traverse to seek occupations in other lands. In this climate there is only room for one occupation for African youth, an occupation open to all of us, the use of our skills in the loving reclamation of our land.

We must love our homeland. People who love their home and the family members within it do not dream a dream of solitary escape in the face of trouble. Rather, people of honor with a modicum of dignity in this situation seek to stop, repel, and eliminate the things threatening that which they love.

We can be these people. We must be these people. We must not be afraid to set our land right. It is ours and our fate is intricately tied to it. Thomas Sankara informed us that in the face of aggression towards our land and people we had two choices: Homeland or Death.

Though we may have fooled ourselves into believing that we have options other than Thomas Sankara’s stark dichotomy, current events continually reify that this is a delusion: land grabs, foreign militarization (AFRICOM) and environmental degradation. As these occurrences are leading some analysts to posit that we are facing the Second Scramble for Africa it is clear that we are still faced with the options of homeland or death. We are dying senselessly now so we have nothing to lose and only our homeland to gain.

Next correspondence: The Lessons that the Chinese Household Responsibility System Teach Us About the Shortcomings of the Ujamaa System

Akinloye Ogundipe, Jr. / @citizenofafrica

Jason deCaires Taylor / http://www.underwatersculpture.com

Electric Relaxation: THEESatisfaction’s Cure

THHESatisfaction

Just when you want to call the 2012 phenomenon complete hogwash, all kinds of musical gems start to surface. Hmmm, maybe the Aquarian is rising. In Accra and all over. Even Seattle.

Yo, what is going on in the rainy capital right now? Something is in the water and it seems like Sub Pop Records is stirring the brew. First, the sheer refreshing brilliance of Shabazz Palaces and now THHESatisfaction?!! Be still, beating heart.

THHESatisfaction is next-level femme fatale music. Poet/MC Stasia “Stats” Iron matched up with singer Catherine “Cat” Harris-White in 2008. She recalls, “I was attracted to Cat’s voice, I would go to the open mic and close my eyes and zone out whenever she sang.” Think Floetry x Georgia Ann Muldrow x The Cool Kids. Ok, that’s being reductive. More like futuristic old school R&B politico-erotica.

It’s deeper than that – the colors, the tones, the rhythms are like sitting in a electronic, liquid rose garden that suddenly morphs into unicorns, sparkling reindeer and tie-die batik bulls. Insane, fluid melodies in a pleasantly syncopated form is what we have here, folks.

Check out THEESatisfaction’s (@StasandCat) latest video: QueenS, a lush vintage Afro-feminine fantasy that rivals the kick-ass sensuality of Pam Grier + Cleopatra Jones.

Now see how they rip it live:

And in the studio:

Hip hop duo Shabazz Palaces (fellow labelmates at Sub Pop – THEESatisfaction debuted on Palaces’ 2011 Black Up album) consists of rapper Palaceer Lazaro (formerly Butterfly of Diggable Planets) and Zimbabwean-American multi-instrumentalist, Tendai ‘Baba’ Maraire. Check out their short film, Belhaven Meridian, an ode to Charles Burnett’s 1977 Watts cult classic, Killer of Sheep:

 

 

AFRO-PUNK PICTURES PRESENTS: THE TRIPTYCH

AFRO-PUNK PICTURES PRESENTS THE TRIPTYCH

We’re really blown away by this. If you don’t believe in magic after watching these three previews, go see your doctor. Wish we could teleport to the Brooklyn Museum to peep the cinematic action.

If you are in the NYC area on next Thursday, May 24th check out The Triptych. It’s a three-part short documentary film series presented by Afro-Punk Pictures and the Weeksville Heritage Center. The films chronicle the artistic process of three Black visual artists: Kenyan-born Wangechi Mutu, Sanford Biggers and Barron Claiborne (co-creator of the series).

As Afro-Punk puts it, “The first in the series features [three] contemporaries, luminaries and friends. Spanning the artistic gamut from interdisciplinary to photography and performance, their keen reflections on the world are at once startling and insightful.”

Shout out to the homies Terence Nance (Director) and Shawn Peters (Director of Photography) of the film series. Nance and Peters collaborated with Blitz the Ambassador on the Native Sun (2011) film, as well as many of his other music video and film projects. Nance is also directing the documentary on Blitz’s 2011 Homecoming concert in Accra with Les Nubians (co-produced with REDD Kat Pictures). 2012 is a hell of a year for Nance whose debut film An Oversimplification of Her Beauty received rave reviews at Sundance.

For more information, check out www.afropunk.com.