Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Summer 2008 Playlist

What can I say, meant to get to see Janelle Monáe, Little Jackie, and José James, on Sunday, at Central Park Summerstage but stayed out late after seeing EXPATRIATE and didn't get into Brooklyn until late afternoon the next day. Plus there was that whole thing with the F being the C and the G being the F, or something like that, making traveling crazy. So I heard Malian musicians Habib Koite & Bamada and Zimbabwe's Oliver Mtukudzi & Black Spirits at Celebrate Brooklyn's African Guitar Festival. If you want the word on the Summerstage, head over to Bold As Love's one, two, three (!) part "Scenes from Summerstage" coverage, including some outstanding audience-shot video of Janelle Monáe reputedly setting the performance bar up-up-and-away somewhere in outerspace according to BAL's Rob Fields.

They were both great but I enjoyed Mtukudzi more, I think because he was more of an entertainer. This "festival" wasn't a traditional guitar showcase: all the acts were vocal based, and played polyrhythmic, dance-friendly music. If you didn't care about observing guitar skills, and just wanted to dance--which seemed to be the case with much of the crowd--neither Koite or Mtukudzi's technique overshadowed the overall feel of their songs. The voice is how many people make a human connection with an artist; having a working voice is much more common in most places than having a similar dexterity with a musical instrument. It's not surprising that the voice is a point of access to which most of us feel readily acclimated, albeit perhaps unconsciously. It is as Rachelle Farrell titled her album the "first instrument" and as such it carries the melody more memorably than other instruments.

On the other hand if you were a guitar geek you could certainly get a lot out of what Koite and Mtuzudki were doing. Koite had a rhythm guitarist in his band, so he had more leeway to play with the melody and play skeins of arpeggiations. African guitar styles from different parts of the continent tend to play with an open treble sound, so while some Afropop guitar parts seem to stay in the upper range there are still a lot of middle frequencies in effect and this allows a warmer sound even when there's a distinct finger picking-on-strings aspect to those tones. Both musicians played with a full drum kit and multiple percussionist. It was hard not to think of the cross-pollination between legacies of African polyrhythyms, nascent Afropop, and James Brown back in the day.

I also found myself enjoying Mtukudzi more because he had female musicians in his band. Yep, I have a bias, and appreciate seeing women making music in these contexts. I mean the day we see an internationally touring African woman guitarist playing on a bill of this kind, that will mark a major cultural shift. Koite stepped on my toes in that area with his song for the young men of Mali who have different kinds of women to choose from: "in the North the beautiful white girls with their pale skin. He started out his list this way, and mimed the beauty of the pale skin by drawing caressing fingertips up the inside part of own outstretched arm. I think there was a collective caught breath from some of us in the audience. This continued with the delineating of the beautiful girls in the South, "who have black skin"--this drew some appreciative applause from the audience, and the girls in between who are either black or white or (surprise!) a mix of the two. OK, you see why I'm not even going to go there. I'm just going to focus on what an amazing guitarist Koite is, and how tight his band is. Great bass player, even if he sometimes seemed to be phoning it in.

Meanwhile the women in Black Spirit weren't T&A with a tambourine. One was a percussionist and the other played amplified mbira (unfortunately, not amplified enough I really couldn't hear her at all). The 56-year old Mtukudzi played with some gender expectations in the staggering and swaggering dance routines he shared with both his other percussionist, a male marimba player, and the female percussionist. He shared those energetically playful moments with them as equals, and he had a great way of doing a staggered step to the right at the end of a phrase that deceptively ended and then began again. My friend cracked up with pleasure every time Mtukudzi and his bandmates matched these steps to the musical phrase, uprighting themselves just as the phrase uprighted itself and repeated. It was great inside musical joke, that also had a layer of humor broad enough that everyone could appreciate it--people were roaring with each repetition.

Those performances and the soundtrack of EXPATRIATE’s duo, Black Venus, were in my head this weekend.

Labels: ,

5 Comments:

At 11:23 PM, Blogger john said...

1. Music playlist for myspace
Hey, so I just made a piczo site and it looks so awesome but it seemed that something was missing. Than I realized I should add some music so my friend recommended a really cool site.www.hypster.com. It's so quick and easy,anyone could do it! In a matter of minuets I had made a account and uploaded the music onto my music player,not only that but You can also edit your music player to match your site colours! and if you don't want to upload your own music,you can search on other users playlists and take any songs you want! It works for piczo,myspace,facebook,bebo etc. check it out! www.hypster.com

Myspace Playlist

 
At 8:21 PM, Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

ninest123 10.17
prada handbags, red bottom shoes, michael kors outlet store, tiffany jewelry, ray ban sunglasses, nike air max, louis vuitton outlet online, christian louboutin, cheap oakley sunglasses, nike free, replica watches, polo ralph lauren outlet, louis vuitton outlet, louis vuitton handbags, kate spade outlet online, michael kors handbags, ugg outlet, louis vuitton, tory burch outlet online, burberry outlet online, michael kors outlet online, nike air max, christian louboutin outlet, cheap ugg boots outlet, oakley sunglasses, prada outlet, polo ralph lauren, ray ban sunglasses, louis vuitton outlet, tiffany and co, gucci handbags, replica watches, longchamp outlet online, christian louboutin shoes, longchamp handbags, cheap ugg boots, oakley vault, burberry outlet online, ugg boots clearance, michael kors outlet online, ray ban outlet, nike outlet, chanel handbags, cheap oakley sunglasses, oakley sunglasses, jordan shoes, ugg australia

 
At 8:22 PM, Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

michael kors outlet online, air jordan, north face pas cher, mulberry uk, guess pas cher, nike air max, burberry pas cher, longchamp, nike roshe, coach outlet, coach outlet, hollister uk, nike air force, true religion outlet, michael kors canada, air max, scarpe hogan, ray ban uk, nike free pas cher, nike blazer pas cher, lululemon outlet online, michael kors uk, nike air max, true religion outlet, air max pas cher, louboutin, lacoste pas cher, ralph lauren uk, hermes pas cher, nike roshe run, abercrombie and fitch, kate spade outlet, longchamp pas cher, ralph lauren pas cher, new balance pas cher, michael kors, coach purses, true religion, true religion jeans, hollister, converse pas cher, nike free, sac vanessa bruno, vans pas cher, north face, coach outlet store online, tn pas cher, timberland pas cher, oakley pas cher, ray ban pas cher

 
At 8:24 PM, Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

nike roshe, nike air huarache, baseball bats, p90x workout, ferragamo shoes, asics shoes, louboutin, vans outlet, herve leger, valentino shoes, nike air max, babyliss, new balance outlet, insanity workout, chi flat iron, nfl jerseys, ray ban, air max, abercrombie and fitch, giuseppe zanotti, hollister, mont blanc pens, oakley, converse, vans, longchamp, beats headphones, ralph lauren, north face jackets, reebok shoes, north face jackets, abercrombie, bottega veneta, jimmy choo shoes, iphone case, birkin bag, soccer jerseys, lululemon outlet, ghd, hollister clothing store, instyler ionic styler, converse shoes, nike trainers, celine handbags, mac cosmetics, wedding dresses, gucci, timberland boots, mcm handbags, soccer shoes, michael kors outlet, longchamp outlet

 
At 8:26 PM, Blogger ninest123 Ninest said...

michael kors handbags, ugg, moncler, montre femme, canada goose, sac louis vuitton, pandora uk, wedding dress, louis vuitton, swarovski uk, marc jacobs handbags, louis vuitton canada, moncler outlet, pandora charms, canada goose outlet, coach outlet, michael kors outlet, moncler, links of london uk, canada goose pas cher, uggs canada, louis vuitton pas cher, moncler, moncler, michael kors outlet online, swarovski jewelry, juicy couture, moncler, hollister canada, supra shoes, louis vuitton uk, canada goose outlet, moncler outlet, moncler, ugg boots, barbour jackets, doke gabbana outlet, pandora jewelry, canada goose, canada goose outlet, canada goose, ugg soldes, canada goose, thomas sabo uk, karen millen, sac lancel, replica watches, ugg, juicy couture outlet, barbour, toms outlet, pandora jewelry
ninest123 10.17

 

Post a Comment

<< Home