BLaCK MuSic Month

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In the library book display, I also highlighted several others for breaking records and leaving everlasting memories: The Wailers, Peter Tosh, Chuck Berry, Thelonious Monk, Augustus Pablo, The Neville Brothers, Jimi Hendrix, Art Blakey, The Treacherous Three, Whitney Houston,TLC, Tupac, DJ Kool Herc, Chaka Khan, Notorious B.I.G., Miles Davis, Esperanza Spalding, Kool & the Gang, Marvin Gaye, Run-D.M.C., Aretha Franklin, Max Roach, Quincy Jones, Cootie Williams, the wonderful Terence Blanchard, and the list goes on and on and on… One Love!

Black Music Month is undertow, and this year I’d like to salute, brother Bob Marley for his ability to transcend the every day ills directed at people of African descent. I could have just as easily saluted Sun Ra, Yabby You, Augustus Pablo, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, or Nina Simone. They all elevated, with grace, and love, and the desire to be FREEEEEEE! Let’s get liberated in the music. I call it FREEDOM MUSIC. So, I give praise to all the artists who tell their stories, the griots, who loosen and tighten our heart strings with beautiful melodies. 

Why we must celebrate:

Most jazz critics have been white American’s, but most important jazz musicians have not been. This might seem a simple enough reality to most people, or at least a reality which can be readily explained in terms of the social and cultural history of American society. And it is obvious why there are only two or three fingers’ worth of Negro critics or writers on jazz … usually the critic’s commitment was first to his appreciation of the music rather than to his understanding of the attitude which produced it. The difference meant that the potential critic of jazz had only to appreciate the music, or what he thought was the music…

Leroi Jones, 1961…

BM15      nonetheless,

Although Jones aka Baraka wrote this decades ago, the same can be said about Black music today, we aren’t our own critics! The world we live in has been crafted in such a way that we can’t even own our music, moreover, be the primary critics of our own sounds. We hope for the day when we can have full control over what we produce, and this is why I believe that BLACK Music Month is necessary!!!!!! Our ancestors shouted and hollered in the fields because it was one of the few areas of human expression available to them. In 2015, Black music still evolves. We continue to produce the wonderful sounds of glory, and we get more and more creative as the years go by. Artists like Michael Jackson, Prince, and even Beyonce have battled for the rights to their own music. The fight goes on and the music will live forever!

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Black Music Month

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Poetry in Music- Vocalist ASA (pronounced ASHA)

 

“I’m in chains, you’re in chains too

I wear uniforms and you wear uniforms too

I’m a prisoner, you’re a prisoner too, Mr Jailer”

Asa is a Nigerian- born singer who is currently performing all over the world. Her music is a feel good, conscious protest to modern day slavery. She explains concepts such as love, oppression, peace, and dreaming. Of course I have some songs that I play over and over because the messages speak to what I am, but all of her music has a sharp angle of awareness that we don’t hear a lot these days.

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Vocalist Asa, click on the image to be directed to her website

 

Asa represents a new breed of artist largely indebted to beautiful poets like Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu, and MeShell Ndegeocello. Her lyrics are far from cookie-cutter, lacking the repetitive, hypnotic trance that modern artists get over using. Asa allows you to think and to get involved spiritually with the rhythms. If there is a parent out there looking for some good music for his/her young teenage daughter to listen to, please try ASA.

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Queen Style

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My heart leaps when she speaks in her native tongue on songs such as So Beautiful, Bi ban ke, and Bimpe. On her album Beautiful Imperfection, my favorite song is The Way I Feel. It is reminiscent of Nina Simone’s efforts in addressing the struggles of Black expression. While Nina Simone was more direct with her messages of demur, Asa is still powerful, especially since people are seemingly trying to force the world to forget the crimes of colonization endured by people of African descent. It won’t help to forget, or brush these issues under the rug. It’s better to address them and learn about the real history of the mother land.

“I’m talking to you jailer

Stop calling me a prisoner

Let he who is without sin-

be the first to cast the stone

Mr Jailer

You suppress all my strategy

You oppress every part of me

What you don’t know,

you’re a victim too

Mr Jailer”

These are lyrics from her song Jailer, the first song on her debut album. Just wonderful!  Check out ASA in all her efforts to spread a different kind of message, not driven by money. Her music is linked on her website. Check out your local library if you want to borrow her CDs to try them out first. The video below is cool, however, I normally like music more without having viewed the videos. I like to hear the message before seeing it.