SpecialMusic Treat -an appreciation : Joyful SummaH 2016
My friends, followers and readers here it gets warmer in L.A as we approach July 4th. I set myself a tall order of content in Summer 2016 , including Rio Olympics commentary , and expansion of Lotus L.A , Mi LA personalities and places.. A flurry of local L.A county activity erupted after my review of Mike the PoeT ‘s new work ‘Poetics of Location’. Prophetic as so many locations Mike Sonksen reads his poetry and participates as L.A educator and community chronicler. Reminds me of a time years ago when I presented Spoken Word and alternative/acoustic music showcases. Hitting the live performance spots a treasure hunt of grabbing authentic, stimulating and empowering artistes. A lot to process and filter
…I need my music. Brings us to this post. I have shared music on platforms and MixCloud is becoming my flagship of El Tigre music mixes.I have uploaded spontaneous mixes , reflecting a theme ,inspiration ,event etc ,and I really love retrieving and playing. Admittedly I have gone deep into the House music culture , especially as I find a natural segue way from my tradition Soul and R & B . Soulful House to me is just awesome. Real vocalists, skillful musicians playing instruments, depth of composition and songwriting, yet all designed to get your groove on . Bailamos!!
DrumZ AfiyaH a favorite from TigaH music Vault.
My FaceBook , Twitter and off line folk know Drums are my tonic. Just got to have them. As my South African brothas say ‘Bang dem DrumZ!’. The mix was from that space where I wanted to share a flow of percussive and rhythmic heavy groovy music. Of course much falls within the broad and growing House music genre, always with surprises. Within the platform is the Playlist , however here is a brief primer of this Drum-Age.
Louie Vega has become my favorite Dj/Producer as I’ve followed his progression over the past 2 decades. This Nuyorican would tell you ‘ this is music I grew up on living in the Bronx, NYC ‘. Gospel, Soul, Rap, Salsa, Afro-Cuban, Brazilian, Disco. We get it reflected in Senor Vega’s creations.
Track# 1 was originally on Vega’s break out project 15 years back called ‘Elements of Life’. The orchestra of same name was revealed then. Raul Midon is a blind guitarist/ vocalist/harmonica player of Argentinian heritage. What a lovely , simple ballad ‘Sunshine’. We however have double drum-age. First from the original Louie Vega production, Secondly from Joe Claussell another Nuyorican deep in Afro-Latin music he calls Sacred Rhythms, tied to the Yoruba and Ifa spiritual heritage found today after 500 years in the Caribbean.A rich percussive work laced with Midon’s vocal and strings thrown in for good measure.
Track # 2 is a South African production 100 %. Producer/Dj Black Coffee just garnered 3 awards at the 22nd South African Music Awards in Durban, ZA. ‘Superman’ was the global breakout track with Bucie on vocals . Bucie is deemed the Princess of South African Hose music now with her own Demor label . Black Coffee is an international Superstar Dj/Producer in demand at the most prestigious events and venues .A bouncy , fun number.
Track # 3 is a cover by Pennsylvania native ,vocalist/producer Josh Milan of the Afro-Brazil classic Berimbau, produced by Louie Vega from the stellar project ‘Eclipse’on Fania Records label.So much history here. The original is an Afro-Samba by Brazilian music pantheon members Antonio Carlos aka Tom Jobim , Baden-Powell ,Toquinho and Vinicius de Moraes. The word ‘berimbau’ is the wooden bow instrument played during the Brazilian martial arts disguised as dance ‘capoeira’. Milan a former member of the Gospel-Soul duo Blaze, is a member of Vega’s ‘Elements of Life’ collective and now CEO of his own HoneyComb Music label.He gets that Brazilian tonal inflection just right. Brief side note on that Brazilian urban myth of the above mentioned pantheon and others converging one weekend to Salvador ,Bahia in North East Brazil, with adequate liquid libations and local cuisine, put their ears to the ground to capture the essence of Yoruba-Land in Brazil. The classic , world known Afro-Sambas were birthed anchored on a deep respect by these Portuguese and mixed heritage Brazilians for the Angolan, Yoruba and other African influences present despite the Middle Passage and the evil of Slavery. Next time you play a well known Brazilian Samba like Canto de Ossanha, beware you may be singing a devotional hymn to an African deity or Orisha. Ache’!!
Track # 4 goes deep into the 500 years of African religion, music and culture present still in Cuba. Yemaya is the Orisha of the Seas and NYC based John Beltrane sings in the Lucumi dialect accompanied by Paris-based Cuban group Sin Palabras (translates to without words in English, so apt). St.Louis native Osunlade ,CEO of Yoruba Records and an Ifa (traditional Yoruba belief) priest himself lives in the Greek islands and curates the most awesome percussion based music around.Also a Dj, Osunlade a travelling promulgator of this healing music.
Track # 5 ‘Shela’ is just so much Drum-Age ,South African style. Bucie who we met on track # 2 is now doing her own thing on Demor Music and this is taste of her proud African-ness. Singing in her native tongue, accompanied by the drums we get a glimpse into the emotional power of South African percussion driven vocals. I put on re-play always.
Track # 6 Rainbow, presents that beauty of South African musical imagination composition , and rhythmically driven vocals. Xoli M , another of talented South African female artists/vocalists commanding that majesty we recalled from Mariam Makeba. Black Motion a duo of producers adding to long list of South African producers getting play in Europe as well as their homeland,as the global epicenter of dance/House music moves to South Africa.
Track # 7 is a special selection for my mix . A surprise, but heh that’s what makes life, art, creativity and cultural expression so much fun. Drums.No DrumZ!! Courtesy a New Zealander transplanted to UK and now resident in L.A , married to a South African vocalist. House music is somewhat subversive as it’s often about the re-mixes. Here one can be going along to a smooth, fine love Soul ballad and Bam!! Some Dj/producer like Louie Vega or Dj Spinna chooses to funk (that is Phunck) it up.The cursed or blessed Re-mix takes over. There can be the legitimate question about creative and intellectual property. A discussion way beyond my skill sets and pay scale. The original jam was Soulful sweet ballad by Aaries, twins Ayana and Ayinke Hipps from Philadelphia who opened for Musique Soulchild , also appearing on his recordings.. On the UK based Reel People label. All reasonable enough. But wait a minute, here comes a globe trotting Dj , whose ear is tuned to the cosmopolitaine , indigenous and the multi- ,no trans-cultural vibe. Mark de Clive-Lowe re creates via re-mix ‘Don’t Give it Up’ into this Soulful, pounding, outstanding and distinctive re-mix. Boom. Had to be on my DrumZ mix.
Track # 8 ‘Elements of Life’ is Louie Vega , one half of the MAW (Masters at Work) New York based Producer/Dj power crew, coming forward with that old lingering vision, maybe inspired by his uncle Hector Davoe(RIP) and encouraged by the likes of George Benson a collaborator on the MAW masterpiece project ‘Strictly Rhythm’.Everyone is here. Anane Vega, Louie’s Cabu Verde-bred Dj/vocalist/producer and spouse, Blaze the duo of Josh Milan and Kevin Hedge(now Vega’s weekly Dj partner on NYC’s WBLS Roots party), Raul Midon, Luisito Quintero on percussion and other vocalists such as Grammy winner Lisa Fischer and Cindy Mazelle. I saw the Elements of Life Orchestra at House of Blues on Sunset. Grammy award winner Louie Vega was waving the director’s baton. Wonderful growth and expression for a Bronx kid. The opening segment is congas and keyboard. Love on first hearing for this TigaH.
Track # 9 ‘Found Love’ is Blaze at their best. Lyrical richness, vocal texture of harmony and melody, musical arrangement between Gospel and Soul with that House music edge. ‘Nuff said. Follow Josh Milan on HoneyComb Music where he continues the bold tradition of American Soul music with surprising global elements injection here and there.
Track # 10 , ‘A Better Day’ is also from that ‘Elements of Life’ project by Louie Vega , once more with Raul Midon on lead vocals. Vega as producer shows his depth of music connection when he creates the poetic ,musical magic. Like Spike Lee , another New Yorker, Vega has that golden touch. Choosing the perfect vocal artist to match the emotion of the music. Mr.Lee’s record of casting over 20 years has stood the test of time.The kicker here is Brooklyn’s globe-trotting Dj Spinna on that infectious re-mix. Spinna has an ongoing relationship with Stevie Wonder at The Wonder One’s birthday bashes. Spinna in my opinion is one aspect of why House music has grown after the pioneers like Larry Heard and Co . The boldness of say remixing Al Jarreau’s ‘ Random Acts of Love’. The feeling is Joyful adventurous.
My final choice on this Tigah’s DrumZ AfiyaH is once more produced Louie Vega, Track # 11. I came clean a few paragraphs above and declared him one of my favorite guys in music.This one here is Crazy Drums. In Tigah venacular KraaZee DrumZ!!.Drum Madd-ness by Luisito. I said the following to Senor Vega in the booth of Hollywood’s Dj Marques Wyatt @ The Deep. The project for Venezuelano Congero produced by Maestro Vega ‘ Percussion Madd-ness’ is under-rated product and one of Vega’s best. There is a cover of the Toquinho instrumental Aquilas Coisas included in this sleeper Louie Vega project.’Gbagada Gbagada Gbogodo Gbogodo’ is a Fela Kuti original. The Father of Afro-Beat while enamored with American Soul music , attempting to create a bridge to African vibes during his brief US stay, never lost sight of the power of his African music roots, playing the saxophone , creating an African orchestra and full vocals department . On this cover Francis Mbappe channels Fela. Luisito goes to serious work directing the drums. I could think of no other climactic track , than by this trans-national Africano monster jam. Maestro Louie Vega at the top of his game and a fore-shadow of ‘Eclipse’ on the Fania label. I enjoyed sharing this drums-driven journey. I would love to know your favorite of these 11 tracks. My MixClud page with other chosen Djs is linked below.
Wishing you a rhythmically full and Safe 4th of July.
Bom Dia !
Sludos Y Salud!!