Saturday, August 19, 2017

The Red Letter Plays: Two By Suzan-Lori Parks Aug 22 to Oct 8 2017

From a release:

Two Plays by Pulitzer Prize-winner Suzan-Lori Parks
Fucking A - August 22 to October 1, 2017
In the Blood - August 29 to October 8, 2017
All tickets $30 - No Fee Code (below)

NEW YORK CITY - Written by Pulitzer Prize-winner Suzan-Lori Parks, The Red Letter Plays: Fucking A & In the Blood are new productions of two modern-day remixes of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s classic novel The Scarlet Letter that conjure two distinct interpretations of Hester, Western literature’s most famous adulteress.

In Fucking A, Hester Smith, the revered and reviled local abortionist, hatches a plan to buy her jailed son’s freedom—and nothing will deter Hester from her quest. In this wild-eyed blend of story and song, directed by Obie Award-winner Jo Bonney (Father Comes Home From the Wars), Hester’s branded letter A becomes a provocative emblem of vengeance, violence, and sacrifice.

In the Blood’s Hester La Negrita is a penniless mother of five condemned by the men who love her, in this play hailed by The New York Times as "…a work of art." You will leave thrilled, even comforted by its mastery.” Hester turns to former lovers, friends, and the institutions meant to support her, only to be spurned by them all with devastating consequences, in this new production directed by Obie Award-winner Sarah Benson (An Octoroon).

The Red Letter Plays: Fucking A
by Suzan-Lori Parks
directed by Jo Bonney
August 22 - October 1, 2017

J. Cameron Barnett • Brandon Victor Dixon • Ben Horner • Joaquina Kalukango • Marc Kudish • Christine Lahti • Ruibo Qian • Elizabeth Stanley • Raphael Nash Thompson

The Romulus Linney Courtyard Theatre
The Pershing Square Signature Center
480 W. 42nd Street @ 10th Avenue, NYC

All tickets $30
Use code MarciaFA for no fee tickets.

To Purchase Tickets
Online: Click here.
By Phone: Call 212.244.7529.
In Person: Visit the Signature Theatre Box Office, 480 W. 42nd Street @ 10th Avenue, NYC.

The Red Letter Plays: In The Blood
by Suzan-Lori Parks
directed by Sarah Benson
August 29 – October 8, 2017

Jocelyn Bioh •  Michael Braun • Russell G. Jones • Anna Reeder • Saycon Sengbloh • Frank Wood

The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre
The Pershing Square Signature Theatre
480 W. 42nd Street @ 10 Avenue, NYC

All Tickets $30
Use Code MarciaTB for no fee tickets.

To Purchase Tickets:
Online: Click here.
By Phone: Call 212.244.7529.
In Person: Visit the Signature Theatre Box Office, 480 W. 42nd Street @ 10th Avenue, NYC.

Travel Tips for LGBTQI Travelers

With material from a media release:

Travel Tips for LGBTQI Travelers

Holidays are for relaxing, unwinding, and hopefully learning something about the world outside your everyday. When you belong to the LGBTQI community, holiday decisions become more complex. Feeling safe is a priority.

That's why doing your research, and choosing your destination carefully, lays the groundwork for a great holiday experience. Finding LGBTQ-owned accommodations is another way to help ensure an enjoyable holiday. The owners can be a source of advice on places to go and things to do along with lodgings.
Gay Section on the beach Ipanema in Rio de Janero, Brazil by Jeff Belmonte from Cuiabá, Brazil
A pragmatic approach overall is what's recommended by Lou Wiltshire-Smith, a coach driver with Topdeck, a tour operator specializing in group tours for 18 to 39s with a taste for the unusual and the adventurous. Lou, whose gender identity is non-binary, is also an experienced world traveler in their own right, and that has included areas of the globe known to be unfriendly to the gay community.

"My gender identity is very non-binary, so I present myself as 'masculine' most of the time. I have to be careful in places where homosexuality is not yet accepted, making sure I’m culturally sensitive and have researched the laws thoroughly ahead of visiting."

No one likes the thought of having to hide their identity, but there are parts of the world where an LGBTQ identity alone can and will cause problems. Lou's advice is to make sure you know what you will be getting into.

"Be careful and try to blend in. You can be a human rights warrior as much as you like on your own turf, but if you're waving the rainbow flag in an unfamiliar country as a tourist, you could end up having a bad holiday. As much as I hate advising people to be anyone other than their fabulous selves, it's easier to 'fit in,' in some instances. We always advise passengers to be culturally sensitive, monitor their behaviour and dress appropriately wherever we go."

Traveling with a partner can add a few more issues to keep in mind. "Something as simple as holding hands in public could cause some grief in the wrong setting."
San Francisco Pride 2015 by zoxcleb -
London, with Soho, its large gay district, Madrid, which has hosted World Pride and other major events, Toronto, with a plethora of gay venues all over town in addition to a thriving Gay Village, Tel Aviv (one of the most gay-friendly places in the Middle East), Copenhagen, Berlin, New York City, Lisbon, and San Francisco are listed by Pink News as among the most gay-friendly destinations on the globe. All of those locations celebrate gay culture and feature LGBTQI friendly venues and institutions.

Lou add several tips based on experience.
  • London - Go to Soho or Shoreditch. G-A-Y is aimed towards men, but it's great for anyone that just wants to dance. Ruby Tuesday's at Ku Bar is fun for the ladies. 
  • Paris - The Marais is the LGBTQI area and has lots of great bars and cafes.
  • Barcelona - Head to El Cangrejo Raval for 80's themed drag shows and tapas with your drink. This year I'll be heading to visit the island of Lesvos for the annual two-week Women's Festival. The festival is from 9th - 23rd of September and is completely run by women, for women. 
  • Amsterdam - Cafe Saarein is the first lesbian cafe I set foot in whilst travelling across Europe on my own six years ago. I made five new friends that night and spent three days at Pride with a close-knit group of lesbian locals. It's one of the highlights of my travels. 
  • Berlin - The Berghain. This place is notoriously hard to get into. You have to be a certain sort of punk-rock/grunge-chic/hipster-gay to get in there, but I've heard amazing things about how bizarre it is inside. I plan on getting in there one day!

Lou recommends a group tour operator like Topdeck for a first trip overseas, especially for solo travelers. "I'm hoping Topdeck can gain further ground in the LGBTQI demographic so more young, gay travellers feel comfortable to travel alone and know that our company will cater for them and take care of them."

Despite the need for extra caution, travel can still be a life changing experience. After taking their first trip with Topdeck about three years ago, Lou's become a professional nomad working for the company. The biggest rewards are the memories and the friends that have become family. The most memorable experience?

"Having a beer in the midnight sun at Nordkapp, the most Northern point of Norway. I was with fantastic crew members and we'd been having such a good trip together. The midnight sun is often hidden behind cloud cover, but we had full, beaming sunlight and it was brilliantly surreal. We also popped some champagne and celebrated a passenger's birthday up there, followed by a karaoke coach trip back to the campsite."

Final word? Do the homework, and get packing.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Cesar F. Correa Cordoba: Painter, sculptor, artisan and musician.

Cesar F. Correa Cordoba
Painter, sculptor, artisan and musician.

Follow him on Instagram
Check out his Soundcloud channel

Cesar F. Correa began his artistic life early, exploring painting and drawing as a child in Mexico City. He began to teach himself how to work in various media, later attending workshops at various cultural institutions to add to his expertise.

Cesar's techniques and materials are born in Mexico's land and traditions, including ceramics, woven arts, and working in wood, metal, glass, and paper along with paints. He's been exhibiing his artistic work in solo and group exhibitions in his native Mexico since 2003. Cesar's work tends to fall in a few distinct streams.

Cesar's paintings inhabit a surreal world where fantasy and reality mix, lit up by a rich sense of colour and depth. People and natural subjects are both examined, with an overarching theme of linking human nature to its environment, often through social and political themes. Street life in Mexico City is a frequent subject of his work.
Mural en "casa de colores" Guanajuato, Mèxico (2016)
Organic Sculpture
For about the last 15 years, Cesar has been developing a body of animal sculptures crafted from plants, fruits, seeds and dry organic materials that he collects from all over Mexico and other parts of the world. He's collected materials from forests, beaches, and parks in Oaxaca, Quintana Roo, Estado de Mexico, Mexico City, Guanajuato, and Veracruz, among other locales.

From them, he crafts insects, birds, reptiles, fish, and even fanciful beasts like dragons that have a lifelike, organic flow and sense of movement. They're quite remarkable. His own goal is to explore the consciousness of the natural world.

Dibujo lUz
This series explores the stark contrasts of day and night, black and white in drawings that fuse plastic, paint, and electric light. In daylight, the images appear black and white. At night, the colours emerge.
Energia - pintura acrilica, sobre plastico y lampara (2012)
Artisan Work
From the whimsical to the practical, Cesar takes his love of natural materials and forms to making novelty sculptures - like a singing skeleton music box - lamps, and other decorative objects. As with the more purely artistic work, he links the human and natural worlds through the marriage of form and function.

To add to his talents, Cesar is an accomplished composer and musician. Here's a little of the music you'll find on his Soundcloud channel.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Mû Mbana: A Music Whispered On The Wind

Mû Mbana:
A Music Whispered On The Wind

Connect on Facebook
Check out his releases at WhatAbout Music

When Westerners think of "African music" and West African music in particular, we tend to think of danceable party music - and there is plenty of that in existence. Artists like Mû Mbana, however, offer music that is more intimate and contemplative, trance-like as it builds layers of intensity.

One of the perks of working with/for a music festival is getting to know some of the artists and their music a little better than I would as an audience member alone. The Hamilton World Music Festival is how I came to know Mû.

Born in Guinea-Bissau, he traces his passion for music back to the age of three, when he first remembers dancing to the music on the radio. After stints working as a singer-songwriter in Portugal and Spain, including a jazz-fusion trio and a gospel group, he began to develop his own style in earnest by about 2001. He's been focusing on his own work as a solo artist since 2008.

His is a music that lies close to its roots, music that arises on the wind, and is whispered through the leaves and back down to the earth, translated by his body into sound. If you could call music organic, this is what it would sound like. The sounds of Guinea-Bissau and West Africa mingle with jazz flavors and complicated rhythms in a seamless flow of song.

While his songs and compositions are definitely connected to his own roots, he's always been open to collaborations in virtually any genre.

At the Hamilton World Music Festival, he easily collaborated with a Canadian roots/folk/country band, an Irish harpist, and others, and charmed them all with the sincerity of both his music and his personality.

Here, he plays with Waleed Abdulhamid, a Toronto-based multi-instrumentalist originally from Sudan.

Mû's compositions begin with a beat; like a heartbeat, they begin the life of the song, which then takes hold of his voice, eventually weaving itself into more complex rhythms and counter melodies. His voice ranges from an expressive baritone to a soft tenor that sings, sighs, speaks his lines of poetry, and even laughs at times.

He plays simbi, bensuni, and various percussion instruments which are attached to his leg and ankles, allowing him to play, sing, and add complex rhythms simultaneously. Mû's music has an intense focus, and that's what translates into the mesmerizing sounds he makes. It's not a show that you will go to see, but rather an experience you will take part in as listener.

It was his first time in North America. Here's hoping Mû will put us on his tour list for good.

Artist & Master Printer: Agustin Rolando Rojas

Artist & Master Printer:
Agustin Rolando Rojas

Agustin Rolando Rojas is an artist and printmaker. Born and educated in Havana, Cuba, he now makes Toronto his home.
"Cuanto tiempo espere para abrazarte" from the HUGS series, a drypoint selected by the jury of The Bucharest International Print Biennial, November 2016.
Agustin studied Fine Art Printmaking at Instituto Superior de Arte, Cuba, and prior to that, graduated from the Higher Art Institute of Havana, Cuba (where he has also taught printmaking,) and Friends Select School. In 1997, Agustin won an Artist Residency at the Banff Center for the Arts in Calgary and came to Canada. After stints in both Canada and the U.S.A, he settled back in Toronto, Canada since 2007.
"Zona del Refugio", etching, selected by Ourense International Print Biennial 1994.

His earlier works from about the mid-1990s are largely representational and realistic. In 1995, Agustín received the Prize Pilar & Joan Miro & Sothebys Foundation for Techniques and Development of Creative Projects with a series of six etchings which had been exhibited previously at The Fifth Biennial of Havana in 1994.
"Balca cerca de la costa", one of the prints that received a Prize Pilar & Joan Miro & Sothebys Foundation for Techniques and Development of Creative Projects in 1995.

Newer pieces are more abstracted or expressionistic. His work is evocative, with a lovely sense of texture, and engaging compositions that draws on the viewers emotions.
Etching and drypoint, printed with special handmade Japanese papers - selected by the jury at The 6th Douro International Print Biennial 2012.

Augustin's work has been shown in solo exhibitions all over the world, including the Fyns Grafiske printmaking studio in Odense, Denmark, Banff Center for the Arts, Alberta, Canada, and Stuyvesant Fine Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York. He's also shown extensively in collective exhibitions from Japan to Serbia to Miami and back.
Etching and drypoint, printed with special handmade Japanese papers - selected by the jury at The 6th Douro International Print Biennial 2012.
Along with his own work, gallery and exhibition submissions, he teaches and conduct Intaglios workshops both privately and publicly. Augustin's works are part of the collections at the National Fine Art Museum of Havana, Wolfgang Shreiner, the Private Collection of the Ludwig Foundation, Lowe Art Museum, Cuban American Permanent Collection and others.
Etching by Agustin Rolando Rojas

Saturday, August 5, 2017

CD Review: Rich Lerner & the Groove - PUSH ON THRU (Independent, May 5, 2017)

CD Review:
Rich Lerner and The Groove - PUSH ON THRU
(Independent, May 5, 2017)

Stream on Spotify
Buy on CDBaby

This latest from North Carolina band Rich Lerner and The Groove continues in the Southern-tinged rock vein the band has been plumbing for many years and through many releases. A flair for hook-laden songwriting and tight musicianship give it an instant likability factor.

Push On Thru, the title track, has a bit of a country swing, with twangy guitar lines and lyrics about just keeping on.

There's a little bit of glory on the avenue
Ya we're gonna drive it, that's what we're gonna do
We're gonna push on thru

The songs cover life and love from a working man's perspective, something that the band's local following no doubt connect with. She Kept My Room Warm is another track that leans towards country rock, with a wry, down to earth message about relationships. It's Always Something turns to classic rock for inspiration, with a nice guitar solo in the middle.

Lord Have Mercy is one of the stand out tracks. The band's easy groove translates perfectly into the retro vibe of the song. They've had largely the same personnel for the past several years and you can hear that loose/tight swing in the music.

Love Monkey is another interesting song with a stripped down, bluesy feel that layers in a wailing steel pedal together with a prominent bass riff and inventive drumming. The lyrics mine the well worn territory of love with insight and hard earned wisdom.

I stumble to submission
I'm falling through the cracks
Should've seen it coming
Like a full on freight train running
Got this monkey on my back

Soul Sistah is a radio friendly song in a mournful minor key that sticks in your head.

Back in the 1990s, Rich recorded and released four solo albums on the Rockduster label. Since 2000 Rich Lerner and The Groove have released four more albums on their own Freethemusic label. As longtime members of the community, the band founded their own annual Groove Jam Music Festival to benefit their local homeless shelter and food bank. The festival has been running since 2012.

If you're looking for solid rocking blues with a dash of country played with an upbeat groove, this is your album.

Rich Lerner - guitar & vocals; Sammy Smith - guitar & vocals; Craig Pannell bass & vocals; Sam Seawell - drums; Bob Sykes- pedal steel & guitar; Steve Taub - keyboards


It's a blurry live video, but the sound is not bad on Lord Have Mercy

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Rock Review: Chrystyna Marie - LIFE (Independent - July 24, 2017)

Rock Review:
Chrystyna Marie - LIFE
(Independent - July 24, 2017)

Buy the CD

LIFE is the solo debut release from Chrystyna Marie, a full length album full of rock and blues hooks. Chrystyna says she's inspired as much by classics as contemporary singers and musicians, from Janis Joplin, Ottis Redding and Etta James to Selena and Christina Aguilera. Born in Toronto, Canada, she now makes her home in Los Angeles.

I Want That Boom Boom, the lead single, is a straight ahead driving rocker with her strong, clear voice threading through the heavy guitar licks. Chrystyna attacks vocal duties with a strong rhythmic sense and while she has the obvious control of a trained and experienced vocalist, she knows when to let a sense of abandon take over, as in the bouncy, bluesy Devil The Angel Eyes.

She's been active in the music industry since the age of 18, when she began as a demo singer on indie label. She's also an actress, and has appeared in local community plays like West Side Story as Maria and Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, along with accumulating a long list of smaller roles in music videos, and TV. She was the lead singer in an LA founded pop group called Greencat.

Mr. Insecurity, the second single, is a torchy ode to Mr. Wrong, with some nice guitar riffs from David Gavin Baxter. Stylistically, she takes from the rock/blues/classic rock genre, but adds polished vocals and harmonies that create a different effect - more sophisticated and urban. Special props to drummer Michelle Josef, who provides not only solid beats but some impressive fills.

She covers the old blues classic Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out. It's a version that plumbs the vocal virtuosity rather than the bluesy irony inherent in the lyrics. If that's the one critique I'd make, it's that the vocals are a little too polished for truly convincing blues expression.

Chrystyna sounds more at home on A Woman Knows, an original song about...well you can pretty much guess. It's always about that damn man, but here she really connects with the sense of the song. Mama's Blues goes into a traditional 12-bar blues mode, her vocals alternating between sultry and strident. It's one of the stand out tracks on the release.

If you're into rock and blues with a polish rather than an edge, this is a release you'll want to dig into.

Personnel: Artist: Chrystyna Marie; Bazil Donovan: Bass; Michelle Josef: Drums and Percussion; Jason Sniderman: Piano, organ, guitar; David Gavin Baxter:  Guitars, Banjo, keyboards and percussion; Paul Reddick: Harmonica; Jim McGrath: Trumpet; Philip Oleksiak: Background Vocals; Joanna Medeiros: Background Vocals

1)  I Want That Boom Boom
2)  Devil With The Angel Eyes
3)  Mr.  Insecurity
4) The Witching Hour
5) Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out
6)  Stop Stoppin' Myself
7)  A Woman Knows
8) MaMa's Blues

Twitter:  Chrystynamarie
Instagram:  Theonlychrys

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Prog Rock Review: Jacqui L - PLANET PARALLEL 5 (Independent - 5 May 2017)

(Independent - 5 May 2017)

Buy the CD

Prog Rock gets a bad rap these days, but in this era of canned and pre-packaged music created to play well to marketing research, maybe a return to virtuosity and imaginative theatricality is in order.

PLANET PARALLEL 5 is that rare of beasts, a concept album. Jacqui L is a character, an alien scorpion-like creature from the planet PP5, known as Planet Parallel 5ians by its inhabitants, if we are to take Jacqui L at her word. Jacqui L only knows about Earthlings from TV shows like Keeping Up With The Kardashians and The Simpsons.

The results are quite interesting. Happy Birthday, the lead track, is a spooky, alien-esque little ditty, featuring sweet, high vocals with a weirdly dissonant chorus that swings right into the next track, Frankenstein. She's got an eccentric sense of instrumentation that works nicely with the theme.

Alice Cooper is the only obvious comparison in terms of the cemetery inspiration, but his delivery was decidedly more bombastic seventies rock. Jacqui L veers into the classically inspired territory of progrock confidently, using complicated keyboard lines and orchestral arrangements, but still with an insistent rhythmic drive. She goes for haunting and ethereal as opposed to bombastic.

Scared to throw my eggs in your basket
Shocked at how wrong I could be...

is the odd refrain to the song Frankenstein.

Jacqui L is based in Sydney, Australia. Vocally, she has a lovely, soft soprano voice that floats effortlessly and dreamily above the complicated texture of the music. Vocals are low key rather than strident, weaving into the music rather than rising on top of it. Some of the lyrics offer social commentary - from the alien point of view, naturally.

From Rich Man,

Keep them sick,
Keep them stupid,
Inside your machines...

I'll Covet is a stand out track, opening with a syncopated rhythm that breaks into a jazzy, contemplative song. It's quite compelling.

Decaying Orbit has a dancey, almost disco feel, with an insistent synthy beat underneath it all. Could Be is probably the most conventional track, a rock ballad with a seductive and hypnotic beat. Distraction is another languid, trippy song with an interesting rhythmic complexity.

Forget the labels - if you're into imaginative and melodic music that's out of the ordinary, you'll want to give it a listen.

All songs written by Jacqui L; All vocals and keys - Jacqui L; Produced/drums/percussion - Joe Accaria; Produced/guitars/engineered and mixed - Marty Hailey; Bass on all tracks (except Rich Man and Could Be) - Dave Symes; Bass on Rich Man and Could Be - James Haselwood

1. Happy Birthday
2. Frankenstein
3. Rich Man
4. I'll Covet
5. Cold
6. Decaying Orbit
7. Under the Noise
8. Could Be
9. Stroke It
10. Distraction


Review: Freddie Nelson - Shake The Cage (Independent - July 7 2017)

Freddie Nelson - Shake The Cage
(Independent - July 7, 2017)

Buy the CD

Shake The Cage is the first solo effort by veteran Pittsburgh, PA musician, composer, and producer Freddie Nelson.

Turn You On, the first track, sets the tone with hard driving guitar and a punk rock vibe, with sonic hooks to keep the ear entertained, and flashes of clever phrasing.

I wanna turn you on
Instead of working it out...

Freddie's guitar playing turns seamlessly from minimalist hard rock power chords to nimble melodic riffs. Hey Doll, the first single, veers into pop rock territory with a catchy melody and chorus. Seventies influences are abundant on the release, along with shades of Eighties and Nineties power rock.

Vocally, his literature compares him (several times) to Freddy Mercury, but I'd say he might be a bit closer to Ian Astbury of The Cult fame in terms of tone and sound, especially on tracks like All Night Long. He's said to have a four-octave range; certainly, he has range, power, and fluidity.

It's not surprising. Freddie first took the stage as an 11 year-old in his native Pittsburgh. After establishing himself as a working musician, Guitarist, singer, songwriter, and producer Freddie Nelson caught the attention of renowned guitarist Paul Gilbert (Racer X, Mr. Big) in 2009 and collaborated on an album titled United States. It was released on Mascot Records and the two toured Japan and Europe in support of the CD.

Freddie began work on Shake The Cage, his first solo effort, in 2015. He does all the writing and producing on the album, along with all of the musical and vocal performances, with the exception of drums performed by the legendary Thomas Lang (Peter Gabriel, Kelly Clarkson, John Wetton, among others).

Light is definitely inspired by Freddy Mercury and Queen, and he does achieve the right sound both musically and vocally. My Girl is a stand up track, sexy and strutting like a good hair rock band from the 1980s.

The Show is one of the album's slower ballads, with a twangy slide guitar lick, a slow waltz time, and a story about the woman who let him go.

The musicianship and vocals are next level, making this a must hear release for punk, rock, or retro metal addicts out there.

01.  Turn You On
02.  Hey Doll
03.  Light
04.  Never Fight Alone
05.  Keep Running
06.  Let You Go
07.  My Girl
08.  The Show
09.  All Night Long
10.  Monster In My Room
11.  For Those Who Die

Get Connected:

Muyonjo Jonah: Art for Change

Muyonjo Jonah: Art for Change

Muyonjo Jonah is an artist living and working in Jinja, Uganda. He works with children, many of whom have lost one or both parents and families to HIV, and some of whom are themselves infected.
Muyonjo Jonah, artist
The art he makes and sells goes towards helping to support them. He also teaches the kids how to make their own creations.
Muyonjo Jonah, artist
Muyonjo Ayubu Jonah - or simply Muyonjo Jonah, his artist name - is 27 years old. As he tells the story, he was born of Muyonjo Akhamada and Irene Nakku into a family of seven.
Muyonjo Jonah, artist
He was drawn to art since his childhood. His father was a barber, a craft he also credits with sparking his artistic talents. He's passing on his love for creating art by teaching younger and vulnerable talented youngsters, along with making art for charity .

He's a graduate of the JIPRA-Jinja Progressive Academy SS. Muyonjo works in pastels and paints to create scenes of the world around him, including traditional themes, wildlife, and working people.
Muyonjo Jonah, artist
He's got a lovely technique with colour and composition, with the beauty of Uganda and its people to inspire him.
Muyonjo Jonah, artist
Some pieces are stylized and abstracted, with decorative elements, while others are more realistic in their depiction. They all have a really dynamic sense of design.
Muyonjo Jonah, artist
Muyonjo works with an NGO called Living Hope Children's Organization, and if you are interested in his paintings, or would like to know more, you can get hold of them through their Facebook page and contact information.

Muyonjo Jonah, artist
Muyonjo Jonah, artist
Muyonjo Jonah and friends
Muyonjo Jonah, artist
Muyonjo Jonah, artist
Muyonjo Jonah, artist

Electronic music: ds|fečo - "Jihad du Jour"

With material from a media release:

Electronic music:
ds|fečo - "Jihad du Jour"

ds|fečo was born David Fetcho, and he had this to say about his recent single release:

"In light of the recent spate of deadly attacks by lone wolf, "self-radicalized" extremists—Egypt, Sweden, London, Manchester, London again, Iran, etc., etc.—and all past attacks perpetrated by self-radicalized religious ideologues (the Orlando club attack being one of the worst), I started thinking about how to investigate and interrogate the psychic vulnerabilities of a would be jihadist recruit. As a response, I wrote and recorded this song."

The track is appropriately dissonant and discordant, the vocals harsh, and the lyrics trying to look into the mind of a person who would commit suicide to create destruction.

The problem is that lyrically, he reduces the entire phenomenon of religious extremism to an individual experience of disturbed people making incomprehensible choices. There is obviously an individual experience that occurs each time, but the recurrence of it across time and over many people tells us that there are larger forces at work. In fact, it's the identity with a group that actually prescribes the nature of the attacks by radical extremists.

Reducing the whole thing to,

Will you join their fantasy of desolation,
learn to kill and rape without hesitation?

doesn't tell you anything about the phenomenon at all. Why do such religious extremist groups exist? And why are there so many disaffected people - including those born and raised in the West - who seem to identify with the philosophy? A look at the possible answers - rather than just the questions - would tell you far more about the nature of radical religious extremism.

Fetcho has been working in the music biz for a long time. In 1967, his folk trio in college was signed to Jubilee Records by producer Lou Guarino (Chad and Jeremy, The Skyliners). From 1980 to 1993, he and wife Susan English Fetcho, a choreographer, created and wrote the music to 14 performance pieces that were presented in the San Francisco area, and he's written music for radio and other media. At age 67 he released his debut solo EP called "Watch It Sparkle."

The music works, and the sentiment seems sincere, it's just the idea doesn't get the real exploration he's aiming for in this release.


Sunday, July 30, 2017

Roots Folk Release: Adam Winn EP (Independent - May 6 2017)

Roots Folk Release:
Adam Winn EP
(Independent - May 6, 2017)

Buy the EP

Resident of Fort St. John, British Columbia, Adam Winn is a firefighter as well as a working musician, and his experiences have given him a real sense of the fragility of life and relationships.

He's a singer songwriter in the folk/country/rock veins, with a nice sense of melody and lyricism that raise it above the usual. Creston tells a classic kind of story about young lovers on a pioneer's quest for a new home. Burnout, the first single, combines poetic lyrics with some nice rhythmic complexity.

So I'll watch you burnout
I won't make a sound
I had to let go
You were pulling me down
I could scream, I could shout
I won't make a sound
Till these flames die down
Till these flames die down

Adam's voice ranges from a gravelly lower range to a more insistent tenor, with a plaintive cast that lends itself to the music. The songs cover familiar territory from fragile relationships to lifelong love with a well developed sense of melody and songwriting.

The music has a stripped down feel that leaves the spotlight on the stories and emotions of the songs, and Adam's got enough melodic and lyrical hooks to hold your interest through the EP.

Global Beats: Alarma - World Ignition (Independent, November 17 2016)

Global Beats:Alarma - World Ignition(Independent, November 17, 2016)

Buy the CD on iTunes
Listen and share via Spotify

Alarma bring the ill-defined realm of world music down to your local bar or college campus with this collection of globally flavoured pop/rock music.

Based in Northeast Los Angeles, California, the band has been interviewed on LA's KPFK and has been featured on a number of internet radio stations across the country. They have been busy delivering their live show at community music festivals, clubs and colleges across California for the past several years.

The new release is their third. Their initial, self-titled EP  consisted largely of Latin rock sung in Spanish. A live performance on Fox 11’s Good Day LA boosted their profile, and they followed up with a self-released full-length album titled Ripe Conditions in 2014.

For their latest release, World Ignition, they delve deeper into the vast range of influences in world music. Fire has an insistent beat reminiscent of West African musical genres.

You'll hear Latin cumbia - Negra Tomasa is a stand out track in that vein, a song stripped to its urgency of feeling and the bouncy cumbia beat - along with reggae, ska, African, and Middle Eastern influences blended into a danceable groove.

Chaingang is a song that wraps up a number of influences inside a classic pop song structure. We Are The Ones includes a message about solidarity in action inside a ska/punk beat. It's a winning blend of elements where the result ends up greater than the sum of its parts.

Alarma band began in their native northeastern Los Angeles as an experimental Latin rock project along the lines of Santana and Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, and their signature sound continues to evolve.

On the album:
Pedro Martinez-  lead vocals, guitars, keyboard; Alessandro Morosin- guitars, backup vocals; Richard Esparza: bass (tracks 1-4, 6, 7). Back up vocals track 7; Eduardo Sandoval: drums and percussion (tracks 1,3, 4, 6, 7); Rito Fonseca: drums (track 2 and 5); Ulises Rodriguez: accordion track 8; Track 6 by Guillermo Rodriguez Fiffe (English translation by Pedro Martinez); All other songs by Martinez/Morosin