You could just listen, but you'd be way better off watching this. Their style of jazz and this video are transcendent.
Get into them. Click here to visit the official Sons of Kemet website.
You could just listen, but you'd be way better off watching this. Their style of jazz and this video are transcendent.
Get into them. Click here to visit the official Sons of Kemet website.
Last week, while my husband was out of town for work, I FINALLY got to watch what I wanted to on TV, which meant catch-up time on DVR, which meant alternating between Jimmy Fallon's Tonight Show and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. I started with the Donald Trump episode of Colbert's show first, because Donald Trump is a train wreck of an entertainer, and I must not miss a random thing that comes out of his mouth. I'm fascinated that he is a major player in the current political arena of the United States and shuddered a bit when Colbert japed that he would fondly look back on the evening as that time he got to interview the last POTUS. It's kinda funny right now, a year out from actual elections, but it's scary to think how quickly him being elected into office would send our nation tailspinning into political chaos. I digress.
Raury was the musical guest on that show and my first introduction was him belting, "You better run from the devil!" At first, I was sure I was watching a skinny black kid sing epic country music, but the longer I watched, I was sure I was watching the debut (network debut at least) of a strange, beautiful new talent. His music in Devil's Whisper alone is indie rock, country, tribal, hip-hop...so many things, all culminating in a lyrically and musically powerful song and a visually mesmerizing performance.
Tish Hyman opened for Jill Scott in Austin last week. Let me just take a moment to acknowledge how much of an unfair measure of beauty and talent has been bestowed upon Jill Scott. All the stuff that came together to create her was just on 100 that day. I wanted to light a cigarette during her performance of "You Don't Know" and I don't even smoke. And when she performed "Crown Royal" I'm positive somebody on the stage was impregnated. A few of my friends got to meet her--I'm jealous. Jill Scott is amazing. I digress.
Tish Hyman is basically like...imagine if Lauryn Hill, Nina Simone and Queen Latifah had a baby that grew up in The Bronx, that's Tish Hyman. Listen to "Subway Art"...
Her debut album, Dedicated To, is supposed to come out this fall. In the meantime, join me in googling all her freestyle videos on Youtube, including this one on Sway In The Morning... (skip it if you're sensitive about the N word or profanity and just hit play again on "Subway Art")...
I realized that I'm a fan of Ed Sheeran. It snuck up on me. Like, there were songs that got stuck in my head, songs that I'd find myself singing along to that I didn't know I knew the words to, or that I'd hear and immediately want to hear again. One too many times when I would google song lyrics to learn about the singer it turned out to be Ed Sheeran. I especially love the cover that poor Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) from Avengers did on Jimmy Fallon to the tune of "Thinking Out Loud".
I love how Jimmy Fallon's show allows actors to flex their other skills. It's a major reason that I love to watch his show. Who knew Hawkeye could go all Billy Joel on everybody?! Anyways...
My son requested a break from NPR on the way to church this morning, so I tuned in to a music station and "Thinking Out Loud" had just started, and it just made me feel peaceful and happy.
When I listen to Ed Sheeran's music, I picture sunrises and sunsets and fields of tall grass and wildflowers and smiles and, like, warm breezes and things of that nature. If you've never heard him sing, watch the video for "Thinking Out Loud" or click play and close your eyes and feel the sunset...
When I sat down at church, the speaker referenced Sheeran's song "The A Team" (the topic was human nature to seek love and why some look in the wrong places) and I took that as a sign and opened my iTunes app and bought both albums, Plus and Multiply.
So I will just marinate right here, musically, all summer-- in Ed Sheeran's bosoms.
Also, I totally want to dust off the acoustic guitar my dad bought me my freshman year in college. Back then, trying to learn the chords to "Brown Eyed Girl" and "American Pie" with my suite mates made me feel warm breezes in sunny fields of tall grass and things of that nature too.
I want a summer full of that.
Austin loves families! Especially families who want to get out and into the mix with the cool kids during big festivals and events like ACL and SXSW. There's no shortage of family-frienldy activities during those events and we take advantage of them every time.
This year we were invited out to the MyMusicRx YOU WHO Rock Show For Kids at Fader Fort again. Just like last year, we laissez le bon temps rouler'ed and rode the Capital Metro Rail downtown from the burbs much to my son's pleasure. His favorite part of the event last time was getting to see Aloe Blacc live. The highlight for me last time was finding out Aloe Blacc was black. True story...
Also, nobody told me @AloeBlacc was black! totally feels a little different singing along about being older and wiser with the radio now. And by different I mean way cooler! lol #biased @mymusicrx #sxsw @do512family
A photo posted by @homegirlblog on Mar 13, 2014 at 12:12pm PDT
This year was a bit different since I was the one enjoying the bands and he mostly enjoyed two hours of beachball soccer pick-up games outside the tent. True story...
A photo posted by @homegirlblog on Mar 19, 2015 at 1:03pm PDT
When The Zombies came out and became my living and breathing soft rock easy listening car radio station in front of me, inside, I flicked a lighter, held it high and sang along at the top of my lungs with my head back and eyes closed whilst swaying from side to side. In reality I sang along way under my breath and smiled until my cheeks hurt whilst doing a subtle sway-bounce from side to side as if to convey to anyone who might glance my way-- hey, I recognize those songs--cool--nothing major.
I totally enjoyed Edward Sharpe, who I hadn't heard of until just about every parent I chatted with said they couldn't wait to see him. He turned out to be a BUNCH of good-looking guys playing cool instruments. It was so cool of them to play family friendly songs for a great cause. I googled them after the concert, and totally get the fandom.
My son dropped everything on the makeshift beachball soccer field and made a beeline for the kid mosh pit when Koo Koo Kangaroo hit the stage. He can't resist a hip hop beat and normally he pop-locks almost involuntarily. When that happens, as a parent, I feel like I have done at least one thing right. This time he just stood there and watched a bit entranced. After their performance he found me towards the back of the crowd and very seriously asked, "What's a fanny pack?" Then I knew I had clearly failed as a parent on at least one front. Parents, if you've never heard of Koo Koo Kangaroo, check out their video for "Fanny Pack" and it might leave you a bit entranced as well.
After the show, we walked back down to the Plaza Saltillo train stop en route to the park and ride in the suburbs. To my credit...my...credit...my son doesn't roll without something to read. While I continued my reading of the Game of Thrones series, my son got into James Patterson's latest, Public School Superhero. True story...
Way better than driving back out to the suburbs. Riding #CapMetro rail home from #mymusicrx #sxsw kids rock concert at #FaderFort #Austin. Just went hashtag crazy. Reading James Patterson's latest, Public School Superhero-- about a black boy who plays chess and whose superhero "friend" is named Stainlezz Steele. @jamespattersonbooks is a master of getting kids turning and dog-earing pages. @weneeddiversebooks.
A photo posted by @homegirlblog on Mar 19, 2015 at 1:19pm PDT
This was the third year for the MyMusicRx: YOU WHO Rock Show For Kids at Fader Fort during SXSW. If you missed it this time, or have never been, don't make the same mistake next year. I know some people skip it because of the ticket cost, but consider that one hundred percent of the ticket proceeds benefit an insanely amazing cause based on the healing power of music.
MyMusicRx is a Portland-based program that provides bedside and online music programs to kids facing cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.
About MyMusicRx (from their website)
MyMusicRx.org is a "music medicine" site for kids and teens facing cancer and other serious illnesses. We invite kids to feel the music and feel better, by exploring our exclusive artist greetings, concerts, music lessons, digital instruments, and games. MyMusicRx is a program of the Children's Cancer Association. We believe that joys matters and music heals. For two decades, CCA has delivered innovative, free-of-charge programming to hospitalized kids, teens and their family members. MyMusicRx.org extends our bedside music program to an online platform, enabling seriously ill kids and teens access to the healing power of music anytime, anywhere. See our music programs in action here.
If you didn't donate to MyMusicRx by buying tickets to the SXSW event, you can donate 24/7 online here. #MusicHeals
Y'all know I stay feeling a way about race in America and when I saw the video for "Never Catch Me" by Flying Lotus, I had several strong, emotional reactions to the breathetaking performance by featured child dancers. Then, as usual, my initial reaction to seeing black children be great, was followed by a very strong desire to see them get shine followed by an equally disheartening understanding that America is not here to celebrate them.
"Never Catch Me" by Flying Lotus is not about a reluctantly beautiful party girl. It's about death. The video doesn't feature a barely un-naked girl dancer in a blond wig who most of us have seen enough for her to become the subject of parodies and Halloween costumes. It features two amazing young black dancers whose names are Will Simmons and Angel Gibbs by the way. Unlike the Chandelier video dancer, they're not on a first name basis with America. They haven't been on Ellen or Good Morning America or SNL for their performance in this video even though their costumes and performances transcend anything that was done in the Chandelier video. I understand why, and totally get that this is just the way things are and will be.
I know that the Chandelier dancer's reality show stardom proceeded her appearance in Sia's video. Still, a talented minority child dancer would be hard pressed to become a starlet even if they appeared on a questionable reality show.
Big ups to Eric Ducker over at The Fader for his great interview with the director and for asking about the dancers.
I can appreciate what Beyoncé does just like the next sane, un-deaf person with eyes and ears who witnessed what she did with her latest music release. Likewise, I can appreciate work that isn't pre-packaged for guaranteed mass consumption.
Too many black parents bury their kids and too many poor minorities look to a heavenly afterlife for the peace, freedom, happiness and prosperity that they never hope to experience in life on earth.
If you haven't seen the video, watch it now.
I had never heard of Rev. Osagyefo Sekou or Truth-Out.org, and only read Crunk Feminist Collective's critique of some of his statements on Beyoncé and President Obama as well as those of Bell Hooks on Beyonce's Time magazine cover. If you want to read the compelling reaction to those comments as well as critiques on capitalism, aging black radical intellectuals, neoliberalism and the problem with lumping together Beyoncé and President Obama in the context of social power and influence, I highly recommend reading the full article over there.
Clearly Beyoncé is a polarizing figure and folks understand the power of saying her name in an effort to be provocative. Bell Hooks paired two trigger words, "Beyoncé" and "Terrorist", which certainly got her name back into headlines. Not to say that was the motivation for her statement, but as the CFC piece infers, the fresh attention for an aging black radical intellectual can be exciting to the point of very public displays of hypocrisy:
"...if Bey is a terrorist, then how do you justify gleefully dancing to “Drunk In Love” shortly after saying such a thing about her? Are you dancing on the graves of those whom she has supposedly slain with all her terroristic fierceness?"
Regardless of how you feel about Beyoncé, we can all agree that the mention of her name gets everyone's attention--at the very least, an eye-roll, which may have also had a lot to do with Time selecting her for it's cover in the first place.
As forever-fan and general defender of Beyoncé, and possibly a covert member of the Beygency, I was pleased with the CFC's articulation of what likely fuels most of the Beyoncé hate.
On the negative responses to Beyoncé's Time Cover:
"Maybe that means she’s complicit with whiteness, but it could also mean that like many of us, she is interested in all the ways she can be visually rendered. But when light-skinned women revel in their light-skinnedness, it triggers deep shit for Black women who struggle with colorism. And that’s tough because while it might be reasonable to demand that Beyoncé show some empathy for this cultural Black girl struggle, the reality is that she is as we say in the south “bright-skinned.” And she has the right to love her skin and revel in its possibilities, too."
On keeping Beyoncé's actual power in perspective:
"Beyoncé is an entertainer, who sings good songs and choreographs routines, so that we can dance and feel good and fuck well and talk shit with our friends or partners as we navigate our lives in this neoliberal, capitalist machine. She might be a bigger cog in the wheel than most of us, but she certainly ain’t driving the bike."
On Beyoncé's right to be a feminist:
"I work from the assumption that Beyoncé is a human being , not just an image or an icon. That is why her feminism doesn’t offend me. I see her adoption of the term as the work of a powerful woman in a very traditional relationship, looking for language to understand the power dynamics she encounters. I see the contradictory gender propositions in her catalogue of music as evidence of both struggle and process. But that is what granting her humanity allows for."
I think the Internet has created a climate where people crave passionate, polarizing exchanges and to be a part of something. They want to be on either side of whatever the current outrage is, so they look for reasons to insight outrage and hate, to express outrage or hate, or to express the need for less outrage or hate. Unlike Janet, Madonna, even Tina Turner and other sexually overt and liberated female entertainers, Beyoncé is the lucky one to come into power in the age of social media and I think that has impacted the Bey-hate movement. It's popular to hate Beyoncé if you're not a fan and those who need the comfort of an Internet tribe, join the haters. I digress.
The Crunk Feminist Collective piece is a lot bigger than just Beyoncé and is definitely more important. It's worth a read or two (I'm on my second one because I'm not versed on many of the terms mentioned in the piece and I really want to understand), if you're interested in the well-informed, thought-provoking commentary.
So dirty. Some music is just good for nothing but increasing the transmission of sexually trasmitted diseases and also potentially unwanted pregnancies. *And, secretly, I love it.
*I totally do not support irresponsible sex practices, but this is clearly happening.
I'm going to enjoy the next few days napping as much as possible and doing everything else in between meals and trips to the bathroom.
Thanks so much for reading Home Girl Blog in 2013!
See y'all in 2014!
A couple of my friends had mentioned these 12 year olds to me, but I didn't really learn about them until they were in Austin for the Fun Fun Fun Fest this fall. They are insanely talented musicians, particularly for kids their age. I haven't seen their academic performances mentioned in any of the articles I've read about them. I just really want them to also be doing well in school. I know that the one size fits all public schools aren't designed for everyone, especially exceptional children, to do well, but I still just want to read someplace that they are excellent students. Don't judge me. I'm a product of my society--I just need to read that these little 12 year old black boys are doing great in school, any school, public school, homeschool, unschool. I digress. Moving on.
Watch this awesome performance from Totally Biased.
Y'all remember how when Zack was 4 years old, he started to work out his pain and frustration through creating dark and moody songs and "playing" them on his acoustic guitar? I posted the two songs he made when he was 4 years old here. I think he made them in one day--apparently he was dealing with a lot that day. Then there are the two he made recently, again on the same day--when he's on, he's on.
His Latest Songs
This one was inspired by his friendless summer camp days at the YMCA. Sometimes, unknowingly, parents don't always encourage their kids to gravitate towards or to embrace kids who are different. We live in a very white part of town and Zack was the only black kid in the basketball summer camp. He came home the first two days very sad because he said when he would try to talk or play with other kids they "ignored" him or "walked away" from him. If you know Zack, you already know he attracts people like a magnet and is extremely social. He has lots of friends--some from his past school and other activities, but most from my moms group. He always makes friends easily in the gym or drop-in playcare or randomly on the playground, which is why this surprised me. Unfortunately, some kids never see their families socialize or interact with people who don't look like them and they just don't know what to do with a little black kid. If this sounds foreign to you, you're probably not a brown person, but trust me--this happens all the time and not just to kids. After two sad days, the only reason I allowed him to finish the week there was when I walked him inside to spy on the third day, I saw how he lit up and ran to the only black counselor there, a young man, and when the guy made eye contact with me he gave me that universal chin-up that we understand to mean "I see you out here in this white world--I see you and I got you." I left and called my BFF, also mom to a black boy out here in these suburban streets, who shared my relief and moved on with life. I digress. Zack came home from Day 2 of camp, and this happened:
"I Wish I Had Some Friends"
And this happened the same day. The following song is a combination of him wishing he wasn't afraid of flies and, in my opinion, his subconscious desire to be different--because maybe if he were different somehow or more like the at the YMCA who all looked similar to each other, maybe they would want to play with him the way they play with each other. Just my opinion due to the timing.
"I Wish I Was A Grown Up (Insect)"
These songs happen all the time around my house. I have others on tape that I don't share, but every once in a while, he sings something insanely poignant and maybe catchy and I interrupt and ask him if I can record him. He has only objected once.
So, yeah. I ran across this artist, Michael Kiwanuka, during a google search for another artist during the Austin City Limits Music Festival last weekend. My discovery and the events that followed looked something like this:
Saw picture (above), followed link to michaelkiwanuka.com , clicked on auto music player in side bar, listened to about 8 seconds of "Home Again", picked up my iPhone, googled his name, texted link to his page to my sister along with one word--"listen", put iPhone down, made note on laptop Quick Note app to blog about him, picked up iPhone, opened iTunes app, bought the album, played it on repeat.
Y'all are not even ready for the voice that comes out of this guy--it's like Bob Dylan plus Marvin Gaye plus Ben Harper plus Jack Johnson plus heaven plus awesome. And his lyrics! Oy! And he's English!
Listen to this song...
And this one...
Also, check out this interview on Interview Magazine's site. But, hello? He has an English accent, so why would you want to read an interview when you can listen to one?
Watch this interview...
I don't have to tell you what to do next, because I already know you're headed over to iTunes.
Two outta three ain't bad. Weekend two of the ACL Festival ended one day ahead of time due to flooding at Zilker Park and surrounding area. It kinda sucked for us because after day 1, we decided we'd save our kid-free night for the final night and get close enough to the stage, for once, and at least get a decent photo of Lionel Richie performing. But it rained. On the bright side, we're getting a third of the ticket price refunded--not bad--and we had a great time for two days at the festival again with Zack.
Five Highlights of Two/Thirds of Weekend Two At ACL Fest 2013 (in no particular order):
I didn't know they existed before ACL Fest, now I can't get over how their music and videos are like nothing else--that I can compare them to anyway.
Since there are only so many photos you can take of an ACL Fest stage so far away to see the artist that it just looks like an empty stage, I'm sharing pics from everything we could see close-up and personal, which happened mostly in Austin Kiddie Limits.
All the following pics and video were captured with our fancy iPhones.
I heart Austin City Limits Music Festival for making it possible for parents to enjoy a kick-ass music festival, not stress about babysitting and still feel like one of the cool kids.
If you went to ACL Fest this year, with our without kids, what was the highlight of the weekend for you?
If you are a parent, and you scored tickets to the Austin City Limits Festival, be cool and take your kids. It's free for kids 10 and under and, with Austin Kiddie Limits tucked away in the corner, it really is a separate little festival just for them. Festival organizers have gone out of their way to make this festival fun for families, so take advantage of it!
When it comes to whole family enjoyment at the festival, here is our breakdown of how to share the time. A 3-day pass translates into one morning/afternoon at Austin Kiddie Limits, one whole day split between Austin Kiddie Limits and the ACL stages, and one afternoon/evening for adults only. That way the whole family gets a fair amount of fun and entertainment as well as a fresh crop of crowd pleasing stories to tell around the water-cooler or on the playground about that one time at ACL fest...
A successful ACL Festival weekend with kids is impossible without serious planning. My tips are proven effective whether yours are factory model kids or kids tricked out with few bonus features including a kinetically charged engine, slow response breaks and a highly sensitive anti-food system. The festival has done it's part by being as family friendly as possible. Here are a few awesome tips to help you do your part by having a kick-ass time.
What To Pack
Bonus Things--If your kid has allergies: Letter from doctor, list of allergies, prescription (bonus if on EpiPen box), Benadryl and snacks. At ACL, outside food is prohibited, but event staff aren't heartless. You've spent at least $225 to attend ACL and they get that you're not trying to scam them to bring $10 worth of snacks in for your kid. ACL Festival provides a great list of food vendors and their event menus for the weekend, so study the offerings so you have an idea of what you can actually buy there. It helps to minimize how much food you have to bring yourself, particularly if you plan to be there through a couple of mealtimes.
Want to see pics from our first time at the festival in 2001? Click HERE.
There you have it. Are any of your must-haves missing from the list?
Enjoy the festival!
Loving this band right now. They are coming to Austin to record an ACL episode in September and again in October for the ACL Festival, and I'm going to see them both times. There's a lottery situation to attend the taping, but I'm feeling lucky.
"If you wan to go wash...If you wan cook soup...If your head dey hot...If your child dey grow...na water you go use. If water kill your child...na water you go use. Nothing without water. Water, him no get enemy! If you fight am, unless you wan die. I dey talk of Black Man Power."
This is a summary of lyrics from "Water No Get Enemy" by Fela Kuti.
I woke up this morning thinking about this song which I first heard at the biographical musical, Fela!, about the Nigerian musician and human rights activist. I went to see it twice--once in Houston and the following year in Dallas. It is a compelling bit of African history about a man who was inspired by the Black Power and Civil Rights movements in the U.S. to stand up to Nigeria's corrupt, oppressive government in the seventies.
His message "Water Get No Enemy" is so powerful in this song where he alludes to the work oppressed people must do to win fair treatment and justice. If water kills your child, you will drink it, cook with it and bathe with it the same day. Water makes no enemy. Nobody rejects water because it is too useful. Anyone who challenges water risks looking like a fool or death. Water is undeniably powerful. Relentless. Essential. Indispensable.
Here is the performance video of the song from the musical:
The second time I went to see Fela! I was with my best friend. She's a brainy academic and on our way back to the car, she was all I wanna research and read more about him and his story. I want to know more. At the time I was enriched by what I had learned about him from the shows and happy to leave it at that. Still, months after the second show, I listen to his music and watch youtube videos and remember the details from the musical and they stay with me. Now, like my bestie, I want to know more too.
Aside: I actually look forward to reading the autobiographies of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and an interesting biography of Jesus. I'm intrigued by people who were so bold during times when boldness was life-threatening. I digress.
Of course Wikipedia is the natural way to read a snapshot biography, so that's done. I also found this neat archive of programs and artiles on NPR related to Fela Kuti and Afrobeat music. I havent perused it yet, but plan to return to the link when I have time. Finally, here is a short list of books that I hope will satisfy my curiosity about Fela Kuti. Hopefully you will find them useful too:
Seventeen years together--12 in holy matrimony. In case you missed it, THIS is STILL what it feels like to be with someone for this lone. Bliss, blisters and all. We keepin' it movin'. Love and light, y'all. Love and light.
I ran across an article announcing that a new female rap artist named Azealia Banks has her own MAC lipstick color now. Having never heard of Azealia Banks, I googled her and watched a few videos. She's pretty and cool and quirky and raps about what you would expect a black female rapper to rap about…expensive things, her rap game take-over and the quality of her nana, peppered with a little aggression and desire to commit violence. You know, all the things I use to loathe about rap music in general. Nicki Minaj came along and singlehandedly made me a fan of this type of rap music. Specifically hers--the whole Black Barbie thing was irresistible because serious, who doesn't want to be a black barbie? So because of Nicki Minaj, I'm open to getting to know Azealia Banks.
I was happy to see another person getting shine other than Nicky Minaj. Love Nicki, but she was getting a verse on every other hot song on the radio for a minute. So when I read about Azealia, I was hopeful. Then I saw that she and Nicki were supposed to tour together and I was like, wow, these women are actually going to get along and be like rap BFFs. I was so looking forward to Nicki and Azealia's individual brands of quirk and awesome coming together to create quirk and awesome greatness. I had hopes of them doing songs together like Kanye and Jay Z. I think Kanye and Jay Z's professional bromance is a beautiful thing. They happily share the spotlight when they could easily and justifiably throw shade. I thought the women would embrace their fierceness and give each other their props. Apparently, though, it is not to be. I read that Azealia dropped out of Nicki's tour and some words were exchanged via Twitter. They seem like those women who claim they don't have female friends because ALL other females are jealous of them.*sigh*
The boys play so well together. Why can't the rap girls just get along? Is beef a requirement for PR before their debut albums drop? Why can't female rap artists coexist?
On this first one, my guess is maybe I'm a bit too free with stranger-danger warnings. Obviously...
His two closest friends moved to different states within two weeks of each other. I think he has a few things to work out...
Explore a working model of the body. Every part is animated and interactive: the heart beats, guts gurgle, lungs breathe, the skin feels, and eyes see. Designed for kids ages 4+ to discover what we’re made of and how we work. Downloaded over 5 million times, The Human Body has reached the #1 spot on the App Store’s education charts in 144 countries and is a Children’s Technology Review Editor’s Choice.