Here’s a part II to Monday’s post. While this interview has been around for a few months now, I thought I would still promote it, so you can hear it. Canadian radio station The Antidote interviewed Dave Emmerson from ZAP Records as he talks about music, why he closed down ZAP, and his new plans. It was another great interview and not just because I know both Daves talking to each other. Yes, I’m namedropped briefly, but don’t listen to this interview because of that. It really gives insight into Dave’s ideology in music and creative projects.
I researched a bit of the Gullah Geechee culture somewhat recently especially after watching the movie Daughters of the Dust and checking out some of Miss Trudy’s Sierra Leone travel vlogs. I wanted to know about some of the musical parts of the culture and didn’t realize a number of African American spirituals came from that autonomous group. One band known as the McIntosh County Shouters who’ve been around for decades and preserve a lot of the Gullah songs as well as the culture. Not going to lie, I wouldn’t have actively listened to them when I was younger, but I’ve been gaining more appreciation for other types of music. I even bought one of their albums and saw some of their concert videos on YouTube.
I got to see U-Carmen earlier this year. For those of you that have never heard of that movie, it’s a South African adaptation of Bizet’s famous Carmen opera. Not only is this set in the 00s and in a different country, the entire opera is actually done in the Xhosa language (the X is pronounced by clicking). It was a very fascinating take on that classical work. In the movie, all the actors actually sing live on set instead of lip-synching to pre-recorded performances. I would definitely recommend the movie and soundtrack. This song in particular is a Xhosa cover of “Habanera” which is a song a lot of you know even if you don’t know anything about opera or classical music. Just listen to the melody, and you’ll instantly recognize it.
Here’s a band I found out about somewhat recently after finding out that they’ve collaborated with the Congotronics Vs Rockers project. It was a superband involving Congolese bands (mainly from Konono No.1 and Kasai Allstars) and various musicians from all over the world. Two of those musicians happened to consist of the Swedish married couple known as Wildbirds & Peacedrums. I’m a sucker for experimental forms of music and I didn’t think anyone can make a band with just vocals and percussion. They’ve got some avant-pop and jazz kind of vibes with their minimalist approach to music which I found to be unique. I was also a fan of the stop motion filming in this music video.
I’m glad I still have an appreciation for music in these stressful times. Hope you like these selections.
I certainly dodged a bullet
When I threw in the towel as a live musician
Steams flow in digital portals
Siphoning all potential means to live
Phones in front of people’s faces
Apathy reigning over the live singer
Then there were 19 degrees of isolation
As festivals disappeared and possibly on life support until further notice
If I have shed my “music man” identity, then this was the perfect time to do so
I’d rather be known by my other artistic endeavors, writings, or my positive actions
All those who bullied me in the past for being a music fan deserve to shut the Tartaros up
I have my issues with BET, but I thought this was a great tribute regardless. One of my friends showed me this video which was for this year’s BET Awards. Public Enemy made a new version of “Fight the Power”. This song came out 31 years ago and it’s still relevant. They came back with Nas, Rapsody, Black Thought from The Roots, Jahi, YG, and Keedron Bryant. This was very necessary and relevant given the times. It’s a shame how nothing’s changed since that song came out or even the movie Do the Right Thing. I was even surprised to hear references to the Haitian Revolution, Breonna Taylor namedropped twice, Seneca Village (FKA Senegal Village) in Central Park being an all-Black community a long time ago or Juneteenth in a mainstream channel. There were great lyrics and one particular highlight was Rapsody (in my opinion, had the vest verse and a shoo-in for guest verse of the year) saying “You love Black Panther, but not Fred Hampton.” WOW! I thought I would share this updated version of this classic rap song with you.
Stay tuned, everyone.
Despite being thousands of miles away from some other creative types, I managed to get a little help from some musical friends. The internet has been very helpful in that regard.
So many creative types have been doing artistic things during lockdown. I managed to write in Camp NaNoWriMo and I get to use my Ospreyshire skills under this condition, too.
You’ll find out soon enough. :3
Mbote! Nsango nini, bato?
I hope you appreciated my Lingala greeting to all of you. I’m sorry that I haven’t been posting on here for a long time. It’s been quite a turbulent few weeks for me. Not just because of the current pandemic affecting the whole world (obviously), but with how my life has been.
For starters, work has changed. I’ve been getting more hours with one of my jobs. My other job did get back, but it’s in an online context, so I have to get used to that. I’ve been crazy busy for the past few weeks, but I can’t complain about whatever extra money from my jobs. Interestingly enough, I haven’t been spending as much money on trivial things since it’s mainly been for groceries, gas, and personal care items.
Outside of work, I’ve been trying to keep myself occupied. There have been times where I’ve gotten very nervous and anxious, so I don’t want to lie to anyone here. I’ve been reading lots of books as well as trying to learn other languages. Can’t say I’ve been watching too many things though. I finished a book written by Desmond Tutu and been reading some of my language books. I revisited Lingala and also been dabbling in French, Spanish, and even Wolof of all things. Maybe my next goal should be Swahili? That would be fun to learn, there are multiple countries that speak it, and it would be relevant to part of my heritage.
Once things were getting more intense on the pandemic front, I made a bandana mask. I thought I needed to buy some bandanas at the store, but apparently I didn’t have to. Last year, I bought a Saitama Seibu Lions bandana on eBay, but what I didn’t realize was I got two instead of one of the same thing. Yes, that’s the same Japanese baseball team that features the adult version of Kimba the White Lion as their mascot. I wore it at work one time and one co-worker whom I found out was an anime fan asked me about the mask. I mentioned the basic premise of that 60s anime and (of course) he said “Wait a minute! That sounds like [that one 90s animated film]! Did they seriously rip it off?”. You should’ve seen his face when I showed him a picture of Claw in that conversation on my phone. A couple of days later, he told me he started watching Kimba and told me “It’s really freaking good!” Looks like I got to show off some anime pride while protecting my face. Some of my co-workers and supervisors who know about that animated work thought it was amazing, too.
I beat Camp NaNoWriMo 2020! WOOHOO! With all the stay at home orders, this gave me more of an excuse to write another book. I won’t say too much, but this one if part of my Hollanduscosm series if one is curious. I got a shirt, water bottle, and a poster as well as discounted writing/publishing programs. It’s good that I accomplished something during this pandemic.
I’ve also been getting into different kinds of music and revisiting others. Here’s a sample of what I’ve been bumping lately.
Besides that, I’ve had some conflicting feelings. Regardless of the news with all the casualties of the virus or the rampant covidiocy going on in different forms (beaches without social distancing, the current protests, the various stories of people coughing on others or food, etc.), I had some feelings of worthlessness and a lot of internalized anger. Sure, I feel productive in and outside of my jobs, but I wondered if I was doing enough to progress in my career(s). It would be amazing to use my skills in more productive ways and to make more connections with others. However, my low self-esteem has kicked in as I wondered how good enough I was in front of others. I wished I would be seen as worthy and for more people to be thankful what I’ve done for them. Of course, there’s one example of a former seasonal job where I used my skills from my Bachelor’s Degree, but I felt so slighted to say the least. I don’t want to discuss this even if I was partially at fault, but I’m infuriated by those who get away by doing legit heinous things with similar positions. It also causes me to wonder if people actually care about my creative works. I feel like (depending on the other blogger), I’m either just an aniblogger/film critic or a random guy on the internet voicing against various injustices who just happens to make music or poetry. There are times where I just want to lash out at others, but I feel like some of those people don’t deserve it. Boy, do I wish I could lash out at everyone who disrespected or bullied me while figuring out ways to destroy their self-esteem, but I’m someone who’s considered “too nice/too kind” to do that. As I’ve said before, it’s REALLY tough for me to insult others let alone coming up with epic comebacks. I don’t want to suffer in silence, pandemic or not.
Anyways, that’s what’s been going on in the life of this diligent avant-garde artist/poet/musician/opinionated blogger/film critic/author/aniblogger/whatever else I’m supposed to be.
Hope you’re doing alright. Stay safe and stay healthy, everyone.
I really don’t care what anyone says. I like African music. Whether it’s the traditional stuff, experimental works, or Afropop, I enjoy it. Here’s one singer I’ve known for almost a year now. This is Sami Dan from Ethiopia. I first heard this song last year not long after the peace deal with his home country and Eritrea. Even though I rarely listen to pop music, this had a fun beat and it’s a fun love song of sorts. Amharic sounds great when sung.
Feel free to check out this song.
I’m sure there have been people thinking that question whenever they talk to me especially in this blogosphere. It certainly doesn’t help that I have a full-length concept album coming out in late December that involves innovators in numerous fields. Some of them were unfortunately plagiarized by more popular people and organizations which is quite unfortunate. I have certainly made an opinion post about it earlier this year if memory serves me correctly. Feel free to check that post whenever you can.
I don’t want to repeat too much about what I’ve said in previous posts or to namedrop certain examples especially certain film controversies you all should know about by now. Originality is something I cherish and I know people can really try to make something truly unique. I just shake my head when I hear people say that nothing’s original anymore. Those same people haven’t even tried in their lives. Even in my film review blog, I will even award an extra point or two for originality or at the very least something I’ve personally never seen before. It’s a virtue for me and that upcoming album Dear Innovare is an homage to several people.
Now, I have an issue with rip-offs which you may know. I don’t throw around that term flippantly unless I can back it up with facts and obvious similarities. What I may not have mentioned was that I’ve been made fun of for some of my tastes allegedly being clones. Back in college, I got into a band called La Dispute. They are an experimental hardcore band that incorporates spoken word vocals for most of their songs. They were one of the first bands I ever saw at a basement show in my life when some friends and I saw them, Touche Amore, Into It. Over It., Tension Generation, and Former Thieves in someone’s home in Chicago. It’s weird to think some of those bands would get signed to bigger labels. Anyways, there was a (now ex-) friend of mine who have me crap for liking them because he thought they were a rip-off of mewithoutYou. I liked both bands then, and I disagree with that. Yes, both bands incorporate spoken word elements, but musically, they don’t sound alike. Besides, mewithoutYou isn’t the first rock band to use spoken word elements. Just look at Envy who’ve been around years longer and did post-rock elements before Aaron Weiss and company would do so. Even listening to Gil Scott-Heron or more recently The Last Poets really opened the floodgates wide. I can’t picture mewithoutYou or even La Dispute fans getting into The Last Poets and would be too scared to do so if you know anything about their lyrical content. This infuriated me because I never got my official comeback against this person. One time on Facebook, he admitted to watching the Never Say Never documentary. Yes, I’m talking about the Justin Bieber one and he said he liked it. I verbally thrashed him online telling him he had no right to make fun of me for liking La Dispute if he was a Belieber. What shocked me was the lack of insulting towards him. If I said something like that, I’d be clowned for weeks! Why does he get a free pass?
Part of that lingering resentment still exists with me today. Do you know how many times I’ve been severely tempted to insult bloggers for what they like if I know if something is a rip-off or problematic? Doing that would be like an abstract revenge for being made fun of for liking La Dispute back in the day despite my musical tastes changing since then. It’s like I would be doing unto others what was done to me as I would dish out that verbal barrage. However, I’m not good at insulting people and I feel like I behave in a respectful manner even when I rant. The anger I feel more often than not is towards other bloggers, so it does put me in check that way. With that being said, if someone calls something a rip-off, yet gives a free pass to something that genuinely is, then I will call that person out. No, I don’t need to name examples as to when I would have that kind of talk with someone. I guess originality and striving to be original was an attempt to be taken seriously despite upholding that virtue or a way to prevent myself from being bullied. I’ve certainly been bullied and/or mistreated for far worse reasons, so don’t get me wrong. Toxicity breeds toxicity as I’ve thought about shaming people if they liked something that was a clone whether I declared it to be so or not.
As I’ve said before…liking things is really hard.
This was a topic I wanted to revisit again, but I want to cover a certain aspect of it. If you don’t know about my thoughts on whether artists and art should be separated, then you can check out that previous post here.
Now let’s get to the subject at hand.
Some of you already know that I have a very hard time separating the art from the artist especially if they do really bad things. It was interesting seeing people respectfully disagreeing with me for most of my comments. This brings up a question for you: What if the art IS part of the vices? Would you still separate the two from each other?
How could the art be involved in an author’s misdeeds or sins? Here are a few ways that could happen.
I guess one way would be the artist incorporating their deeds in their work or making a message that’s antithetical to their actions. It would be like if some creator had some villains murdering people, yet the author murders someone. That would be far harsher in hindsight. Or maybe they have a message against wars, but they end up howling for blood against another country. Those would be some examples on how that could be the case.
Another case would be if the work is plagiarized. Okay, some of you have seen this coming. Don’t worry, I won’t mention the obvious examples of cinematic plundering done by Disney, Christopher Nolan, or Suzanne Collins since you should already know those examples. I’ll use different examples. Look at Led Zeppelin. They made a career ripping off blues and folk songs. Eventually they got sued and were forced to give royalties and writing credits to most of the songs they stole from. I also pray that Spirit wins that appeal and sues Zeppelin’s pants off for them stealing “Taurus” to make “Stairway to Heaven”. I hate how that band gets a free pass for thievery. If any older person (or at the very least a classic rock purist) says that newer music just rips things off, show them the songs that band stole from to shut them up. Anyways, I need to get back on topic. Art theft gets tricky because those bad things are in their stolen creations. You could even go to those rock artists ripping off Black blues and original rock artists (**cough** Elvis **cough**) without paying dues to who they stole from. You have patents stolen like how Edison totally ripped off Nikola Tesla, Lewis Howard Latimer (there would be no efficient light bulbs had it not have been for his carbon filament!), and Granville T. Woods to name a few for his technological empire. At least Woods sued Edison twice and WON when he proved he made those patents instead of that overrated thief of an inventor. I have no respect for people who steal other people’s creative works. It’s lazy, intellectually insulting, and it shows how they are lesser beings because they stole from someone else. I can’t separate the art from the artist if it’s stolen.
What I wonder is why horrible people get free rides for their creations while others are obscured or demonized? How is it that an originator get crapped on for daring to sue the person or people who stole from them? For those who separate the art from the artists, what would cause you to stop or rather at what point can you not forgive the artist? Hey, I’m just staying in the question lane here.
Feel free to leave your comments on this matter.
Recently, I’ve been having a kick of listening to classic R&B, soul, and blues. There were so many artists that I have ignored after listening to so much music that was released when I was alive. After researching music plagiarism and how so many forms of Black music were stolen and appropriated without credit (contrary to semi-popular belief, I’m not just talking about “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” or the documentary The Lion’s Share). I underestimated how bad it was in America, but that’s a story for another time.
This is a ballad from the singer Joe Tex which dates back to 1966 called “The Love You Save (May Be Your Own)”. I had never heard of Joe Tex or his music until just a few weeks ago, and this was the first song I heard from him. I stumbled across it when I researched how rock, blues, soul, and R&B were stolen en masse and this song was mentioned. This sound is haunting with the waltz time, orchestration, and Tex’s mournful vocals. The part of the song that really hit me hard was the second verse. Here are the lyrics that stood out to me:
“I’ve been pushed around
I’ve been lost and found
I’ve been given til sundown
To get out of town
I’ve been taken outside
And I’ve been brutalized
And I’ve had to always be the one to smile and apologize”
WOW! Those are tremendous words and it shows how so many musicians in multiple genres are such sheltered cowards while also being extremely relatable even though this came out decades before I was born. The sundown line is brutal since he’s clearly talking about sundown towns. Those were towns where Black people had to leave before night lest they be slaughtered by the white population during the Jim Crow era. The line that really hit me in the feels was the last one in that quote. I have a bad habit of apologizing too much and there were times where I was coerced to do so even when I didn’t do anything wrong. I HATE being treated like the bad guy when others are exalted for worse things! A song like that could ONLY be written by someone like him, but even I could relate to those lyrics even if it’s not entirely for the exact same reasons. How did I not know about Joe Tex or his music until now?
I hope you enjoy the song.