mikey smith raw works festival at anitafrika dub theatre

from tuesday december 16 to saturday december 20, come engage in a revolushunary afrikan model of theatre featuring works-in-progress. each evening is comprised of workshop readings and q & a by adt! resident artists and performances by local storytellers including saidah baba talibah, da original one, ania, sedina fiati and ian kamau. the five day festival celebrates the end of the first term of the 2008-2009 season culminating in a ritual-based ceremony of drummers, dancers, poets, vocalists, djs, dancing and great vibes.

all proceeds support anitafrika! dub theatre 2009 programming!

tues dec 16 doors 7pm *pwyc suggested $10*
resident raw works & talk back sessions 8pm
:: jamilah malika
:: liza paul
feature storyteller 9pm
:: saidah baba talibah
:: dbi young with live house band rakesh tewari and ian de souza
open mic 9:30pm (contact

wed dec 17 doors 7pm *pwyc suggested $10*
resident raw works & talk back sessions 8pm
:: natalyn tremblay
:: kim crosby
feature storyteller 9pm
:: ian kamau

thurs dec 18 doors 7pm *pwyc suggested $10*
~bcurrent raiz'n nite~
raw works & talk back sessions 8pm
:: tanya pillay
:: rhoddy richardson aka i am that i am
feature storyteller 9pm
:: sedina fiati

fri dec 19 doors 7pm *pwyc suggested $10*
resident raw works & talk back sessions 8pm
:: colanthony humphries
:: sketch ensemble
feature storyteller 9pm
:: ania
:: sea blackwalker
:: aya dance collective

sat dec 20 doors 7pm *pwyc suggested $15*
:: drummers & dancers ritual closing ceremony 8pm
feature storytellers 9pm
:: da original one
:: d'bi young
:: akinoah
jam down session 10:30pm
:: dj el machetero

photography by moses kofi 'not so far from home'
mural by victor manzo 'love and revolushun'

come and support art in process, art for social change, art for life - bring fresh ideas and give us your feedback and don't forget to tell your friends!

much love,
adt! collective
416 434 1823

stories that you like

i've recently realized that my maternal family, mother and aunts, have a deep penchant or significant preference or uncommon affectation towards sad stories with unhappy endings and misbegotten intentions and tortured souls and regret and so on.

i am troubled.

growing up, the constant occupation with tragic news headlines or sad stories from neighbors, loved ones, (or hated ones, even better) never struck me as strange...

but now, now, when i receive calls of suchs news, relayed with a casual, satisfied knowingness but a touch of precarious fear nonetheless, i am struck by their frequency and the twisted joy in their delivery...

rought down on me with the heavy, weighted 'truths,' of people facing their mortality, 'jammie, one thing ma ah go tell yuh, one thing is don't waste yuh life!'

even romantic pragmatic cliches drop like lead, 'yuh know 'what happens to a dream deffered'?' langston would reel, would he not?

i do.

i find i prefer happy stories, novels that end with a sense of completion, films that allude to the continued existence of scenes, tales that teach but do not torture their characters... some sense of closure without impending doom.

i wonder what that means? what generational shift or change in geography, citizenship, class has created this rupture? what could be done to change their obsession? if it should change? if i am merely young and naive and age will transform my desire for a happy ending into a bitter realization of its impossibility?


the odds are

what are the odds
that you find
someone you like

who likes you?

question to the universe

why aren't reproductive responsabilities more equally distributed across genders?

does the monthly cycle, gestation, labour, birth and breastfeeding imply that nature trusts women over men?

or the inverse?



times neue roman -

go to the times neue roman myspace

a moratorium

today is monday
i declare a moratorium on men this monday
i will call it 'no more men monday.'

on this day, i solemnly vow
to discontinue sex with men
(this is attempt number two -
hoping there won't be a number three)
to free my mind of 'it' as a necessity
of 'it' as a distraction, a preoccupation, a potential

but men only.

note to self

another year is passing...

don't be so hard on yourself this time,
be easy,
there's so much more to come.

if you don't forgive yourself -
others will not.

remember to schedule more
and make a budget next time

everything can be undone
and rebuilt again.

don't regret -
you can change it.

you're not dead yet -
nightmares can be resolved.

i won't stand for shame.
i will stand for truth -
truth for healing. only healing.
no more truth for hurting. no more.

you can't know what was
'a waste'
until the very end.
even then,
to call it a waste
would show a severe lack of

for if you are humble enough to see
nothing was ever wasted
if it was given a try at all.

remember what's important

important technique - life mapping - begin last year, chart all meaningful events and connections to following occurrences, culminate in potential forward movements

important questions - what have i learned? a new lesson? was it a re-learning? an un-learning?

important ideas - compassion and mindfulness. accountability and integrity. time is always.


time passes
time flies
time seems to zip on by

brings changes
makes for growing
leads you to the self

not tomorrow's
or yesterday's
but now's

can't wonder bout
can only know

that's time
just now
no more
then gone

so stay

and don't fret
time knows
what we don't


the moon,

the moon hang fat and low the other day when i finally emerged from my bed, bundled up and left the house. i promptly blamed her for my senseless, constant, recent (but familiar) anxiety, 'ah, it's you... my dear, from the window i couldn't see you but now the evening has brought your xray image, a light bright white vision of fine lines and shadows, translucent and out of place in dusk sky.' the day was a write-off, considered too long and began too late, spent paralyzed in reflection - i know this day. this day follows me, peeps from around a corner... then pounces early in the morning without warning. this day is full of questions and wonder, not curious, nor hopeful, but more leery and apprehensive in nature. the questions and wonder are met with easy justifications and explanations - my mind is an expert, an old hand, no amateur here, i know my way around this maze of made up interpretation, defense, analysis and some pretense. i trod to the center, scale the wall with ease and sit atop it quite comfortably, my eyes perusing the twisted paths and the locked gate on the horizon ... in the mist. i sit here often and look out... i look out, pull my collar up against the cold and breathe until i'm dizzy. inhale, count to seven, exhale, count to seven.until my lighthead takes on the weight of a brick, sends me veering slight left, no right, and down.

the street is much too busy to look out from my perch. people are passing, talking, commenting, laughing - jostling, bustling, hustling. it's going to be winter soon. i'll be here. when that snow comes. i'll be here. i've chosen to. or the staying chose me. i'm not sure now. but i'll be here. when the sun returns, i'll be here. i've committed. in my own mind. and it's good. i'll be busy. But what happens when the moon returns?

thanks saf... sigh



sometimes you gotta feel
far flung and
detached to
see how to get in,
get back
on track

and moreover,
if you even want to.



so unless you attended a scotiabank funded thereby city sanctioned event, you were harangued by police who so audaciously shut down public parties put on by real people for people to access in tha street (where people be, duh!) - tha police decided that during a purportedly ' city wide art thingy' (actual marketed tagline) but in effect it was a nuit blanche zone-wide art thing and turned out that regular people could not participate independent of corporate sponsorship by jammin out in front of or inside their homes and/or establishments.

my trajectory for the evening -

  1. styrofoam ones and times neue roman UHAUL show at the lower kensington 11:30pm set- no 1. of 4 stops in the streets of this city - COPS SHUT US DOWN.
  2. musicbox live installation with five featured musicians and installations by five artists inside - 12pm COPS SHUT US DOWN (amazingly for a noise complaint -at 12pm in kensington - in 'the area' although we had been shut down for almost 45 mins to give some sound respite to our friends in the UHAUL)
  3. rolly's garage jam - 3am party going strong - we're thinking til the 6am nuit blanche official end, but no, wait - screech, that's five cop cars and 6 bike cops rolling up to... SHUT US DOWN.
horrendous, despicable, outrageous. that's why Harper can talk foulness about the arts, cause he's talking about galas and corporate sponsored events - know what real canadians are interested in? real artists with real connections to community who make real art to really share a sentiment with community in a way that is accesible and inclusive AND A CITY THAT DOES NOT SHUT US DOWN - why? because we're not in nuit blanche zone a ,b or c? just foolishness. i mean 'white night' - that's just creepy.

but here's something real unforgettable - the u-haul, wat a stellar idea fella, beauty clip

nneka - the uncomfortable truth

the clip is from '06... still waiting for some northamerican dates... nneka come check us!

not interested

please don't push a product
please don't upsell the sale
please don't promo some improvement
i don't buy it
i won't buy it
i wouldn't even if i had the cash
but broke means
i'm not interested

just breathe

stop processing a moment

just breathe

cease the nonstop todos

just breathe

end the endless follow up

just breathe

the priority
when you

just breathe



oh friend,

i miss you -

i sense the
i worry
about you

at times
i fret that
you are

i worry
that you are
not being
to you

or even
the possibility of
something new
for you

but these thoughts
are so much
less important
(and so much
more subjective)
than the fact that,

i miss you -

i miss your


i don't want to ask
when will i see you?


that one time
i fell asleep -
i'm so sorry

i miss you
like 'crazy'
like alot
like i miss
when life

i must miss
with yourself
we laugh
we chat
bout you
and me

come over
call me
cos friend,

i miss you


finance figures fall furiously

so what does it mean?
when media references the great depression?
when bush bails out billion dollar banks?

i imagine rats scurrying
liquid money riverbeds sucked dry
copper coins spilled through cracks

into pockets?
for cash can't quite disappear
science equations make that much clear -

but really,
bush has bailed out
banks with bad karma
commercial turn speculative
straight speculate about rates
that aren't their business
about figures that aren't their affair -

now 4 million
low income
home owners
working poor
soon on the street
with more to come

to be joined by slick haired men in suits?
oh no, the government came to their rescue
bailed them out with buckets of money
filled the holes in the bottoms of their steamships

but not you and me,
not 'the people'
our canoes stay tipsy

but 'the money'?
save the money!
the people will fend for themselves.

and we will.

damn the bank
damn bush
damn money

all speculation
no reparations
no consequences
all jumpin fences

what foolishness...
wait, how'd we get into this mess?

wrong question -
more important,
who got us into this mess?

why, the bank -
then why'd they get bailed out?

and why not the people?
why not you and me?
what did we do to deserve this frenzy
spinning out of our control
driving us from our homes
wreaking havoc on our economy
but we don't figure in the rescue plan -
cause the government prefers to save the bank

to buy back their debt with taxpayers money.
our money
the people's money.

fine then,
take our money
but at least give us a say

cos, the banks are the ones that got us here in the first place -
these times show they can't be trusted with our money,
nor the rates.

so give us a say
c'mon give us a say
i say -

give us a SAY!

troy davis died on death row last night,

if you think the unjust prosecution and manipulation of witness testimony in order to kill an innocent black man cannot happen in 2008,

think again.

must see film this fall - FLOW


do you ever just not know?

i don't quite know.
i really have nothing to say -
and really and truly
you ought not listen to me anyway...

but sometimes we start things
without knowing where things go
but i value curiosity
(fuck the 'cat' - it will not kill me)

if we just take things slow
and allow things to grow
and see where they flow
we can begin to know

at least that's what i believe
so i won't fret bout it just yet
cause i know i don't need to know yet
the relevance will become clear to me

like water settled,
once murky
murky's not so bad
don't let it get you down
cos murky's full of learning
sift through murky
find sure ground

hold time close
but let it pass
let life happen
lay down and be glad

cos we don't need to know just yet
the knowing will come
i can feel it -
and besides
it feels good too
to not know just yet,
not quite yet.


do not befriend the market, heed taalam's words

thank you taalam acey for this succinct and eloquent analysis -

terry lynn - new video

she is terry lynn.
the album is kingston logic.
the single is system.

deal with it, star, she nah easy. big up to tha rickards bros on direction. respect.

my dear blogsphere,

i went away for a while -
i missed you.
i don't know why i stayed away so long -
i missed you.
i'm going to try and get back up because -
i missed you.

really, i didn't mean to go
a tizzydizzy of life had me do so
things have cleared a little
(in my mind at least)
i sense this page was a beginning
now i will accept all the offererings
this life continues to give me,
each day is a blessing.

i am humbled when i apologize -
people are so good and forgiving
i am surprised when i am open -
all the thing you wish for can happen
when you really start living
something you care deeply about
and believe in...

and i want to keep sharing
with you
this blog was a real beginning.

bisous, blogsphere -
je t'aime.


adrian hayles aka dj sawtay, parkdale in progress

art blooms in parkdale,
artists of multi mediums
lurk among
the miscreants
the misfits
in these mean streets,
their gifts
bless our sight
helps our eyes to see
all the world
is free to be
or do or say
or scream
at you and me.

check 'the havenots' by adrian hayles (thanks sofree!)


d'bi young anitafrika - dub poet

please forward the clip to 5 minutes to hear my favorite poem by this brilliant black poet artist performer community activist womban mother sister friend. please visit us this week for the story tellers groundings conference at the new anitAFRIKA! dub theatre in liberty village TO.

game is my middle name

they say some foolishness bout 'behind every strong man, is a woman' and i say it's foolishness because this silly saying self perpetuates and we accept that the female partner's contribution is blurred in the background somewhere while we focus on the man out in front - here's what we lose - this is betty davis (second wife to miles who, as talented a musician as he was, beat every last woman in his life, mother included) - now livin in NYC, this woman pushed out albums in the seventies that are among the most raw rock n' soul i think i've ever heard. thx for tha tip cola!


a tune from me to you

an honor, a privilege and a blessing -

grâce a l'univers
quel honneur
je te jure
c'est immesurable
comment je suis


je savais
mais je connais pas
je sentais
mas je vivais pas
cette sorte de vie
ce type d’attitude
cars je travaillais
mon p’tit bulot
mais je n'ai jamais exprimé
ma raison d’etre
et alors
a ce moment
je vous remerci



it occured to me today -
nobody knows more
about me
than me

(so no more listening to
anybody's presumptions
bout who i am or oughta be)

parkdale - PD, parkdizzy, tha hood

how i love my neighborhood!

we are industrious and scavengers
we are outcasts, artists, madmen
we are poor with a few rich too
and we are more resourceful than you

when the parade or a show bring the city our way
we piece off our lawns for you to park (ten bucks flat rate)
and stock up on water and beer to sell to you that day

still when you visit, you turn up your nose at our
aging housing
murmuring alleys
graffiti'd scenery
and the
on the plight of

but we feel the breeze from the lake
and our liquor store is open very late
and we eat thai, vitenamese, jamaican, trini, guyanese, iranian -
any kinda food
and we got open mic night and all kindsa nightlife too

all i'm sayin is stop hatin
stop disrespecting my community
cos parkdale has more culture
than alla TO's bougie streets


what is more arbitrary than money?

prices are never fixed
include overhead and other inputs
like labour (but who decides the fee?)
exclude environmental externalities
live in limbo with
such ephemeral phenomena as
supply and demand
credit rates
slight of hand
tricky business
'ceterus parabis'
'they' say

but all other things are not equal

yes, hard work "pays"
but not always in money
still some people make a lot of money
but ain't it funny -
when you got big money
you don't really need to spend it -
you get swag, line bypass, VIP
free drinks, they all want you so
"buddy, it's on me!"

but when you ain't got no money
lord help you
(and me)
cos ain't nothing like tryna dig from out that hole
tryna get free
cos financial freedom is very far from free
it is in many circumstances very close to futile
out of reach, unattainable, costly to achieve
for he, she, you, me
for eighty per cent of all a' we

you can find money and money can find you
good or bad luck can bring you money
inheritance, insurance settlement, gambling, stocks, lottery,
but you can beg for money and never get it too
not for lack of trying - money can easily evade you


you can make money selling your soul, your body, your mind
you can make money killing, stealing, hurting, fighting
you can make money lying, conning, scamming, conniving

oil spills make money
cancer makes money
even money makes money

but mummies don't make money just being mummies
so you can't make money loving,
can you?

i'm going to give it a try
put love in to everything i do
and if i make money
the love would have been part of the reason too
and if i don't make money
i won't hang my head in shame
cos i know money is seriously arbitrary
i will not let it
make me.


diplo, je t'adore, je t'adore



i fixate on the sex
to suppress other fears
i fixate on the sex
as you are not near

and if you were here
i would continue to
fixate on the sex
to distract from your


and when you leave
i will
fixate on the sex
to forget that
other feeling
i feel now
in the pit
in the back
in the hidden place
i love you

least i think i do

tried so hard
not to
love you
so i think
i fixate on the sex
in case i truly do
love you

(what a shame
i have separated
the two)


the genesis of this blog

please feel free to send your comments
this page changes form and focus
content and cadence
direction and perception

sometimes real people say real things in real places
in reference to this page
i make disclaimers, i say, "you know, hey, it's just my lil' blog, eh?"
"the poems there are brain burps and heart hiccups and
likely need revision and likely require some reworking and
there is no sense
... just a flurry of feeling and little bits of love and media for sharing
and thank you so much for reading"

i make this disclaimer because what goes up here is not so rare
its what we all share
in common
i just post them
so thank you kindly for visiting

apologies if you didn't get what you were expecting
but we never do
it would be too easy
not at all like reality
so come and take freely what you like
it's here for you
from me to you
if there's something you'd like that you do not find
please advise
perhaps we can direct you to another site?


how to tell people they sound racist - jay smooth

i check a bright young fella's site and online mag often - today i pulled this clip of jay smooth (radio host and blogger) to share with you.

jay explains a few helpful tips for a conversation we have all had, wanted to have, avoided having, etc.

thunderheist - jerk it

thunderheist is primo grade a canadiana - isis of TO (emcee) and grahmzilla (on beats) of beau montreal combined to form this phat duo - check the video (in which neither appear)

Youtube Note "The video is the work of That Go, that is Noel Paul and Stefan Moore, two students graduate at the DXArts, the Center for Digital Arts at the University of Washington in Seattle. By the way, an animal wrangler on set made sure that the rooster was not abused." - No Fat Clips!!! Website of Authors

mindstate shift moment

to any reader,
my apologies for the momentary
i am re-discombobulating my senses, my cells, myself
i am re-orienting, re-thinking, flip
stay or go
or just simmer,
i mean simma,
i really mean percolate
on this
right now
for a moment


wedding march

i am off to a wedding this morning, a quick word before i jump in the shower -

congratulations, i commend you.
we grew up in a different time
divorce rates high,
sex ed in school,
feminism in the curriculum too...
but still, my peers
suffer the very best in
cognitive dissonance
and slip on rings, take vows, make babies
at ages as young as our parents

in the woods, on the beach, by the lake
less church, less walls
a ceremony that makes sense
(and costs fewer cents)
for you and yours
with friends about
to wish you well
in spite of what we learned to believe
and disbelieve
as children, as young people
as the selves we have become
we continue to marry and breed
in spite of what we learned to believe
and disbelieve


last day at the firm

today is my last day

i do not fear
but i am overly aware

there is no
there is no


that i have
the right/wrong
to date


d'bi.young anitafrika dub theatre opening tonight 7pm 62 fraser avenue (parkdale)

if you live in toronto and love dub, then you know the dub poets collective ... if you know the dub poets collective, then you know lillian allen... if you know lillian allen, then you know d'bi young.

well d'bi young has returned from the UK theatre run of Da Kink.

and she has returned with a vengeance; last night i saw her perform to a small room of OCAD students. her words assault the mic. rythem follows her cadence. no music but her voice carries the beat. while her bangles punctuate the verse. she is a brilliant dub poet sharing words and stories about struggle and love. on stage, she is a sight to be seen and to be heard. the city is glad to have her back i feel for -

d'bi is opening the anitaAFRIKA! dub theatre at 62 fraser avenue (king and dufferin) -

parkdale big up! if i may speak on our behalf, we over-ostracized parkdalians are honored and ecstatic that dbi is bringing a radical, community artspace to our humble hood -

come out tonigth at 7pm to support the launch party of the first storyteller.groundings.fest slated to run Aug 19-24th, 2008

Live Performances and DJsbidding marketplace * raffles * henna body art * kissing booth * donations welcomed

anitAFRIKA dub theatre welcomes you to its new home in west toronto adt! is a radical arts initiative founded by d'bi young during her mentorhsip with dubb aatist visionary ahdri zhina mandiela, based on seven principles of dubpoetry and dubtheatre, used as mediums of social change through storytelling. This fundraising event is meant to gather resources for the company's inaugural storyteller.groundings.fest.

62 fraser avenue - parkdale- liberty village - one block south of King - two blocks east of dufferin. for more info 416.434.1823.

nouveau riche band - new ep - free money

Download the new, first, two years in the making EP from the nouveau riche band.

nouveau riche is based outta philly and lyrically fronted by soon-to-blow singer/songwriter nikki jean and established illadelplh emcee Dice Raw (of the Roots). you can watch nikki jean's endearing daily blog to get to the minute updates on her new album deal (to be produced by sam hollander - exclusively) as well as nouveau riche news.

it's rock, it's roll, they got mad soul, bit a hip hop, but a bit more original style. check 'em out.

i'd love to see them live - if you hear of any shows, please let me know!

here's a clip of nouveau riche opening for spankrock (also philly-based, also worth lending an ear!)


still loving KJ

the mixtape is below, but i must also post this video from keziah jones - the track is technically dated, but the content is stunner:

beauty real, beauty drawn, beauty feel, beauty born, beauty sing, beauty dance, beauty fly, beauty stance, beauty style, beauty flow, beauty high, beauty low...

remember, debut album from keziah jones 'nigerian wood' coming september 2008.

new mix - diplo vs. santogold

i am going to download this and drop it onto my ipod cos me dun kno' dis mix ah de fiya!!!

course you know diplo, but do you know santi white, aka santogold?

you ought to - she's luverly and amongst my favorite artists who does/can/will not "sing" a la american idol fake gold standards - santogold is a fierce new addition to a community of artists that just plain know better than to pander to reactionary industry expectations about genres or marketability or "it" factor foolishness. her eponymous album dropped earlier this year, 3rd single comin in august, keep your eyes peeled and your ears... husked? hmmm...

listen for it is all i'm saying - talent raw and tasty as sashimi. check her out - there's my fav track below.

big up. respect. luv da mix diplo - thx.

International call for delegates - Ignite the Americas forum September 15-21st

Sharing a message from Che Kothari photographer and co-founder of manifesto & earkwaks:

Peace. If you didn't know already, I wanted to let you all know of this opportunity for a youth arts policy forum, IGNITE THE AMERICAS (, a working forum that we are planning and delivering in Toronto, Canada through the Canadian Government and under the auspices of the OAS.

In September we will be bringing together a group of 68 delegates from across the Americas to work on three main outcomes:
1. Policy recommendations for the OAS (Organization of American States) Culture Ministerial meeting in Barbados in November.
2. The Development of a Pan-American network of young people using arts for social change and community development. This network will include not only NGO organizations but also individual artists, socially conscious businesses etc.
3. The creation of Tool Kits for other young people who are interested in creating a project or socially responsible business in their communities throughout the Americas.The dates for this forum are September 15th-21st.

Besides what will be a really cool and productive working session there is the Manifesto festival running parallel to IGNITE THE AMERICAS.Right now we are trying to identify the best possible delegates from each country across the Americas (including of course the Caribbean but, excluding however Cuba).We have funding to bring up 2 people from each country. We will cover all of their costs (flights, accommodation, per diems) should they be successful in becoming one of our delegates.Right now we are trying to spread the word so any help you can give in sending out the above link (I will include it again at the end of this message) to your networks would be MUCH appreciated.You guys should apply yourself as well.The application is available in English, French, Spanish & Portuguese. With respect, Peace, CK.

visit & download an informational deck for more in depth details


a warning to man

listen man,
do not lie to your woman

do not lie to your woman
'specially 'bout that sex
when you
where you
who you

'cos word spreads
contagious as STDs
transmitted orally

time, chance and womens' sense
will inevitably unspin
your web

and when word spreads
then you will regret
but worse yet
'cos you one man lie
women moan and cry
(and learn to believe)
"oh man, why do all men lie?"

listen woman,
you know
you knew
all along

artist alert - keziah jones

shortly before keziah jones drops his debut album in September entitled 'nigeria wood', fairtilizer drops this/his wicked NY vs. Lagos mix - ENJOY! i do...

sorry friend, what to do

breathe deep
the mood has passed

shoulders lower
now can relax
the mood has passed

smile returned
thank god she's back
the mood has passed

please repeat what you said before
i missed it
please excuse what i said before
i've fixed it

rather it sorted itself out
while i impatiently waited it out

sorry if you took a hit...


sorry, another candidate has more direct experience with policy...

everything is all up in the air,
floating just above my head,
just out of my reach,
blurry and hot to the touch it seems

everything is hovering above me
moving slow then quick then slow
i can't seem to pace my flow
too late, no wait, now too early

everything is not going as planned
but should i really tell you this?
truth is
the shit is out of hand
out of my hands rather
outside of my control
and i'm
out of dough
out of 'in'
out and out
time to begin again

no plans this time
no expectations
no path to follow
no game to win

stupid degree
false sense of security
stupid job
false sense of security
drop them all
false sense of security
watch me fall

time to begin again
shit makes no sense at all


news from

i thought the news was dead then a friend suggested i visit and watch the daily headlines - he was right, the news is alive and well and amy goodman brings the best in under-covered news. here are three stories i watched this week; i feel all three are the same story...
Luiz Ramirez was beaten to death by a group of highschool students in Shenandoah, PA."The 25-year-old illegal immigrant was beaten over the weekend after an argument with a group of youths, including at least some players on the town's beloved high school football team, police said. Despite witness reports that the attackers yelled ethnic slurs, authorities say the beating wasn't racially motivated." An American citizen for six years, Luiz immigrated to Shenandoah from Mexico and was engaged (to a young white woman.) Read more here.
Police office Scott Nugent tasered 21 year old Baron Pikes to death during arrest on a cocaine charge in Louisiana. "Dr. Randolph Williams, the Winn Parish coroner, told CNN the 21-year-old sawmill worker was jolted so many times by the 50,000-volt Taser that he might have been dead before the last two shocks were delivered." Williams rules the death a homocide and Nugent has been dismissed. Nugent may face charges if the DA pursues the case. "In the year since Winnfield police received Tasers, officers have used them 14 times, according to police records -- with 12 of the instances involving black suspects. Ten of the 14 incidents involved Nugent, who has no public disciplinary record." Baron Pikes is Micheal Bell's (of the Jena 6) first cousin. Read more here.
Private LaVena Johnson's parents continue to call for an investigation into their daughter's death July 19, 2005 in Balad, Iraq. The military claim she committed suicide and pointed to an M-16 wound they describe as self inflicted; Private Johnson's other wounds include a broken nose, two front teeth knocked out, one eye was concave from pressure or force, her gloves were burned onto her hands and acid was poured over her genitals. In addition, the bullet wound was too small for an M-16 and on the wrong side of her head (she was right handed and the bullet was on the left temple.)
Read more here and sign the petition here. Watch her parents on the news here.
i am dismayed
oh lord help us
safety feels so far
fear and hate
here on earth
seems we can't escape
seems hate can
steal your heart
and hate will
murder your love,
or merely commandeer
your right to be
to feel free
right where you be
me, you, we
here, there,
now, then
man, woman
how can we
live, work, breathe
in this arbitrary insecurity?


the noisettes - don't give up


a jihad for love by parvez sharma

i just went to see a jihad for love, a film six years in the making by parvez sharma (film maker's blog). filmed in 12 countries and nine languages, this is the first film about homosexuality in islam - spoken from a devout muslim perspective - fantastic, moving, beautifully shot (though he never used a tripod, filmed in secret with a handheld camera, even spliced footage with tourist style clips to fool customs.)

the transcendent experience across these countries was relayed through the stories of different but similar characters of diverse cultural backgrounds; each man or woman just wants to love Allah and themselves and someone of the same sex but it is a personal struggle, a jihad, and a community's struggle - gay and lesbian muslims in non-secular muslim states wish to be accepted within the islamic community that continues suppress/demonize and criminalize/punish them - an islamic community under attack from the western world - a western world they must flee to as refugees to escape persecution, prison and/or death.

i like this itty bitty story

johnny lee hooker - real talk

sorry for sorry

i am a mess
i cannot tell you this

i hope you find me attractive
as opposed to
desperate and plaintive

i wish you were here
but then i would fear

i'd push you away
i'd tell you not to stay

i'd make up some excuse
then string up my noose

and hang myself again


lessons from rock tha bells in TO,

if i learned anything yesterday at rock the bells it is one must to organize and plan a twelve hour event with your attendees in mind at all times, this means

  1. ensure sufficient bathrooms are available and cleaned regularly
  2. reduce line-ups as much as possible (e.g. DO NOT make a thirsty, hungry, tired person wait in line to get a ticket to wait in line again)
  3. stagger stack shows on two stages if necessary to avoid frustrating wait times
  4. visit the venue you've booked prior and evaluate it for light, seating possibilities and general atmosphere (i found that airport hangers are not as conducive to concerts as they are to raves for example)
  5. allow ins and outs, ESPECIALLY if the show runs longer than six hours
  6. conveniently provide attendees with ample food and water (3$ lukewarm tap water after waiting two lines is unacceptable as is pizza pizza stink permeating your entire venue)
  7. employ quality sound engineers

if the above guidelines are not observed the result is simple and largely unavoidable:

if doesn't matter how much concert goers respect the artists they will leave remembering how poorly planned and organized the event was as opposed to remembering how great each half hour set was.

because de la was fantastic; pharcyde performed like they never broke up; mos basically threw down a helluva reggae set; rakim endured major technical difficulties and finished his set; nas was hype; q tip was full of energy and tribe was tribe - whole and superb.


care bears on fire -

you're probably thinking, 'wha?' yes, that's right, they are a band called care bears on fire - all three members are in grade 7 and they kick major rockn'roll backside. least i think so. i think they are testament to a new generation of parents; the other day i saw a young dad fly by on his bike after his kid, they were both in helmets but no shirts busy blazing down the sidewalk and i thought to myself, 'this is a dad who is going to give his son tips on how to graffiti without getting caught."

the three members of care bears on fire must have pretty cool parents to have started a band in early elementary, re-grouped (lost a member & changed the name,) and set out to forge a path in never-done-before-land, writing and composing original music and gaining rockn'roll notoriety before their teens. i am well impressed with their first single, "everybody else," check it out -

love beware

i dreamed
my love's death
love beware

love, watch out!
no, no, no
it's too late
i hear the shots
together we drop

i want to live
in love
with you
but i fear
for you love

for i have seen
you die
in my arms

in my dream
you lay lifeless
as i scream

love beware
your death
woke me up
this morning


international dance craze,

during a quick jaunt to NYC in april, my cool french friend raved about a new dance the kids be killin' all over france called tectonik. i nabbed the video below from this blog - it's a short doc on the origins of the dance, as well as a quick how-to. but as i see it, just flail, swing and propell your arms to the beat and you've got the electro down pat. below that is a clip all the way from korea. dance puppet dance...

omar ahmed khadr - canadian in custody

the footage shows omar khadr at 16 years old in an interrogation room with some (cold) canadian inquisitors and the clip has had notable airtime in the past three days. filmed in Feb 2003, the film has sparked some outrage in the Canadian public but PM Harper is not interested in taking up the case.

one moment keeps running over and over in my mind: at one point omar sputters, "I have lost my eyes. I have lost my feet. everything." immediately the callous voice of his interrogator points out what appears obvious to him, "no, you still have your eyes and your feet are there at the end of your legs" his tone is flat and blasé - i find him most horrid and disgusting but perhaps it is merely a 'sign of the times'?

no, it is not so.

two nights ago I watched the battle of algiers, 1966 and a few nights prior i watched la haine, 1995. both films portray the captor-captive dynamic in war (on different scales) that exists always in all power struggles. both films show the inhumanity that breeds in interrogation rooms. both films explore the hatred that lives between detained and free agents (often it is born long before their time, but they carry, nurture, grow it and make sure to pass the hate on.) still, after seeing this specific real life clip so many times, i continue to hear a few voices battling out the idea in my mind... it seems i have yet to come to terms... while omar sits in his cell, i am still trying to come to terms - how absurd.

(voice 1 earnest and frantic) "he's Canadian!"
(voice 2 cool and aloof) "Canadian and brown in the wrong place at the wrong time boils down to brown and suspicious - brown and suspicious equals terrorist these days kiddo"
(voice 3 tentative and fearful) "so if i'm a canadian caught in a firefight and accused of throwing something, that's it, i'm detained indefinitely, tortured and ignored?"
(voice 1 aghast) "no, impossible, that's can't be!"
(voice 2 unforgiving) "well, would you like to deny reality, deny the footage you see"
(voice 1 alarmed) "but he's obviously distressed and severely traumatized! why don't they do something"
(voice 2 sensible and calm) "do what my dear? do what? you heard them - they obviously don't care - that video was shot over five years ago, got leaked and now we're concerned - the man is now 21 years old and still in custody."
(voice 3 quiet and sad) "...i couldn't figure out if he said 'help me' or 'kill me'"
(voice 1 full of sorrow and sympathy) "oh that clip is just awful... his poor mother"
(voice 2 exasperated) "whatever man, at least his family knows where he is; there are blackhole detention centers worldwide with guys whose families believe they're dead or worse yet their mothers fear them "missing" when in actual fact these guys are completely off our radar, these guys are being submitted to god knows what - i mean seriously, only god knows..."

i have lost my eyes
i have lost my feet

i lost my right eye
in the firefight
i lost my feet
once they detained me
since my 'capture'
they have taken
my freedom, my hope, my sanity

the war is not canada's
this was is america's
a war against my father, brothers, uncles,
a war against my family

these unjust authorities
take us from our land
americans have since
forgotten afghanistan

first they accused my father
now they torture me
the war still goes on
we die, they die, we die, but i

soldiers attacked my home
soldiers killed my family
soldiers shot me in the chest
soldiers now detain me

"help me"
"kill me"


hot n' bothered

over this fella - Leon Jean-Marie - debut album 'bring it on' out now; imma cop that.



so full
love for you
and you
and you
and you

it's easier

it's easier to see others than to look at yourself
well, that goes both ways *sshole, don't it?
turns out jailers are prisoners too (listen)
so why end by telling me what to do?

it's easier to tell a lost soul what to do
because they look up and down, left and right
in the end they end up checking you too

but it is not easier to take a look at yourself
a good hard look - bet it's not so easy
but i would not presume to tell you what to do
too easy, dearie, much too easy to do.

tell your heart

"Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second's encounter with God and with eternity." Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist.

Yet Fatima feels complete fulfilment upon finding her treasure, Santiago. She does not leave the oasis in pursuit of her Personal Legend, in search of her dreams. Instead she bids a teary goodbye and patiently awaits her love's return, sending kisses on the wind to travel through the Soul of the World and find his lips. Is it so? Why? Why not?

Fatima ought to read "Women who Run with Wolves" by Clarissa Pinkola Estes PhD. I am.

write me

write me
a long letter
a love song
a long love letter song

start slow
soft sweet salty

feel so high
so good i want to die
butterflies riff

guilty crescendo
breakup breakdown

good bye


fear and doubt - a story in parts - 2

her mother used to say, "chile', you don't like hard things," and she wondered if she was right. she sat up abruptly racked with the fear that her mother had condemned her to a life of easy outs. she looked out onto the cool serene lake for answers it seemed and laughed at herself softly thinking, 'watch how i give myself an out for taking outs!' she breathed deep and stood up in one motion, catching herself slightly surprised at her body for making such a sound, swift movement.

he stood up from the bench slowly surveying the leaves rustling in the trees, children and parents, grass in patterns of patches and began to head home. he looked down, his hands were dry, soft but dry and empty. he was thinking about writing a letter; he wasn't sure to whom but that wasn't important, it was the letter that counted or the things he could write down in it rather. as he walked, he felt in his pocket for a pen, took it out and wrote the following words onto his palm: 'purpose, identity, worry, happy'.

they crossed paths at the light. she thought, 'how odd, this man is meditating on the back of his hand.' he felt her eyes and looked up to find them staring back at him. he was startled with his mouth open slightly but she liked his face anyway. she smiled to herself but he caught it even though her eyes changed their focus almost immediately. 'how beautiful,' he thought.

short film by galen summer, 'martin the tailor'

the score, the shots, the character, the message - beauty.

(and thanks to first for posting for me to find.)

Martin the Tailor from Ed David on Vimeo.


respect tabi bonney,

born in lome, togo and raised in washington, d.c., emcee tabi bonney is producing good works in fashion, film, and music. respect to an artist representing where he comes from, reviving the dc music scene and generally bringing a fresh and tasty product to tha people - thank you.

tabi (son of itadi bonney, afrofunk legend) dreamed of filming a video in the country of his birth so to hail in his second album, 'Dope meet Fresh... Fresh meet Superstar' Team Bonney and Cool Kids Forever Films traveled to West Africa to shoot the first single, 'so cool, so fly' -


it's great to have a job
(but not when it's not where you want to be)

it's fine to hate your job
(but remember you gotta get from a to b)

it's fantastic to quit your job
(as long as you can feel what you need,
and see what that looks like
and sense how it will feel
so that you will know for certain
when you finally reach.)


fear and doubt - a story in parts - 1

he feared that everything had been done before. he was afraid but the fear was comforting at times. the fear allowed him to feel less guilty about the static routine his life had become. "i needn't try that, it's already been done," he thought to himself, holding the finality close against him, warm and comforting as a cup of tea. the thought was the mug that held the tea and the tea was the feeling - much too hot - insulated to protect his heart he imagined. he kicked out at the dirt under the park bench and squinted at sunlight dancing through tree leaves. he heard his own breathing under the sounds of the park and listened to children play. he noticed they either skidded down the slide to stop abruptly or fly out into the sand. he felt like the little girl in pigtails and pink nail polish whose hands flew out to the sides just short of the break where plastic became air and pressed against the red tubing. at the same time she raised her knees so her bare sweaty feet would fight the gravity that sent her down in the first place. she sat looking out into the playground from the tunnel. 'children see too much' he thought as she caught his eyes. he flinched, looked down at the patchy grass and felt depressed. he was at the bottom of his red tube.

she sighed hard and felt as though she sent her expelled breath clear across the lake. she twisted the blanket beneath her between her fingers and closed her eyes tight. "what am i going to do now" she thought to herself, not a question, more reprimand than possibility, not at all open-ended as questions ought to be. she wanted to lay back and lift up onto the wind like her breath. 'inhale' the worries her head fought with her heart over and 'exhale' them out into the atmosphere. 'oh, if it were only so easy,' she thought and placed one hand over her chest and another across her forehead in the hopes her hands could quell the fury flying between the two. but her head wouldn't let her heart be, her head bombarded her heart with questions that were really accusations covered in a facetious film of curiosity (her heart could tell.) her head rang out with worried what ifs that all boiled down to missed opportunity. What if she should have pursued piano - damn her childish fears of the royal conservatory exams that kept her from returning to write the exam that fifth time. What if her limbs were meant for dance and she was keeping them from their true purpose - she cursed the insecurity that kept her in the back row of jazz class far from the mirror her own shape obscured by other bodies. What if she had been a more active student and survived not three but four internships or taken not two but five languages or tried to run the school paper instead of spin records hiding in away with music at the school radio? What if, what if, what if, whutiph, whutiph, whutiph... Her head was running away with her heart in the back seat, dictating the road to take and gaining speed. To focus she tricked her brain into slowing and stretching by pulling her hair from the roots at her neck, then tugging her ears out to each side and rubbing her temples round n' round. She sighed again and imagined herself floating up onto the air out into the atmostphere.


Jay Electronica - please take a few moments to process

sounds like a tragic hip hop opera,

like universal secrets shrouded in beats in rhymes in bytes,

like what comes after the darkest hour edging in like sunlight -


But remember that if the struggle were to resort to violence, it will lose vision, beauty and imagination. Most dangerous of all, it will marginalize and eventually victimize women. And a political struggle that does not have women at the heart of it, above it, below it and within it is no struggle at all.

- Arundhati Roy. Learn more about the film here.


weekend wind down

the weekend has come to a close... one symbolic tear rolls down my cheek - it was a good one.

breaks, beats and culture on saturday and afrofest on sunday, a jam-packed weekend, literally, packed full of jams, vibes, good times and oneness all around. the harbourfront was fullupapeople yesterday, as was queen's park today - respect toronto, you showed love. sometimes you meanmug through the whole show or screwface all up in the event, but some weekends you come out in droves and smile and applaud, and when you do toronto, when you come out and support and celebrate it is most memorable, most enjoyable.

so thank you toronto, thank you organizers, artists, vendors and supporters alike for a fantastic weekend.


i heart steven meisel

this week i am going to drop +15$ bucks on the july issue of vogue italia, the first all black model issue. here are some sneak peaks.

photographer steven meisel is superb; last year he produced models enter rehab for the same mag (worth clicking to view.)

for the record, black models are nice, but black women are beautiful.

living in toronto i've come to appreciate a certain shape most - that of the voluptuous east african woman. respect - you ladies got body and your figures, all curves and contours, all shimmers and softness, are most beautiful in my opinion.

applause for mos def and gill scott-heron

mos def and gill scott-heron on the stage at carnegie hall backed by a classical orchestra - wawawawow.

listen to mos here

check out okayplayer coverage and clips here

and here's jay electronica's act I - you must listen to this, the intense beauty and timelessness of this peice is heartbreaking. truly.

new tchune, new kicks, new work out, wha?

reader, you may find this an out of place entry but i am in a new dancehall tchune dizzy and would like to share with anyone inclined to explicit lyrics set to heavy bass.

mavado is an interesting cat. i quite like his ugly mean mug and i love almost every track he's dropped in 2008. following the vybz-mavado beef that produced some hit tracks in '07 mavado continues to chatpurelyrics without making as specific threats, including, "money nah change we, we a money changer; if you diss we, ah danger" or "me nah bleach wit cream, me bleach wit me M16, shotta nah bleach in team, me alone create mi crime scene" or "thank jah, i'm so special, i'm so special, so special, so special, that why me strapped wit me 45special..."

each new tchune has a new dance, see Nah Bleach here and I'm So Special here, but do not try this at home kids.... the day break riddim is frightful, rockets takin off, clappin, chain links clinkin - nutty - if you don't bounce, something might be wrong with you - a neuron in your left brain ccould be misfiring or something because the sound is too hype, you might need to see a doctor.

if dancehall turns you on, but changes too fast to keep track, check out Federation Invasion's wicked weekly pod casts

now, as you can see I'm a fan of the music, but currently there is one crazy crossover i find confusing -

Nike recently came out with a Mavado shoe - see pic here - and now that Asafa Powell, a Jamaican, is the world's fastest man, Mavado released a tribute track entitled On The Go - watch here - somehow the crossover has culmintated in all 3 collaborating to produce a 35 minute workout set to reggae/dancehall - see press release here.

I'm sorry, what? A few questions:

1) what will mavado rhyme about for 35 minutes that is work out appropriate?

2) will the workout gear be a yellow and green mess of spandex?

3) will the exercises be a series of dances created by jamaica's own all star dance crews?

i don't know who it will be marketed to or how but i am buying a copy! or more likely copping a bootleg up on eglinton... and you'd better believe i ain't exercising to it at all - pure entertainment collectible value, star, big ting a gwaan, big tings.


music genres

all musical genres or labels or categories have accomplished is squarely defining sound parameters to stretch, musical boundaries to cross and the institutional rules to be broken by real talented artists -

there are some exceptional acts that are doing so with serious flair;

one such duo is J*Davey. or check out brooklyn duo The Blak Experiment . one more duo is He Say She Say. if you dig these, you'll heart Rozzi Daime and Sa-Ra.

a trio by the name SugaRush dropped their debut album in June.

a fine lady is NNeka. a fearsome one is Terry Lynn.

a spectacularly fantastically absurdly talented young man is
Jay Electronica.

careful - the ish is hot.

oluseun anikapulo kuti aka seun (kills-the-stage) kuti

we in toronto are extremely lucky to be bombarded by high quality live music all summer long-

last night Seun Kuti performed at the Harbourfront for the second time - he is sexy, black and built in rhythm - always opens with something from his papa and always ends with his shirt off.

mind you, man can dress; Seun's green & white spiral print shirt with a wide lapel and butter cup, high-waisted, tailored slacks made me think Fela's closet is in good hands or the Kuti men have an afrofunkrebel pattern in their y chromosome...

but the real quandary is why do the Egypt 80 stick with Seun, the youngest son, as opposed to travelling with the much celebrated, more established older son Femi? it could be that Seun has been performing with the veteran 18+ piece band since he was nine years old. or it could be that the Kutis are Yoruba, descendants of demi-god Oduduwa - a king left his throne to the last son, the most clever son. or it could be that Seun embodies the hardline, satirical, revolutionary lyrical style of his father. or because when Fela died in '97 and Seun was 15, it only seemed right to push him from the back-up vocals section with his mother to center stage solo. I do not know, but I feel this was the right choice. Seun is animated, funny and commanding. At 25 years old, the man is a stellar live musician who brings a touch his own personality to illuminate his father's spirit and traditions. On stage it's clear Seun strives to give as much to the band as they give him - and do they give boy, they give.

the Egypt 80 are afrobeat history - 2/3rds of the band are original members of the (Africa 70 renamed) Egypt 80 band who traveled with Fela in the seventies. when you hear big band, you may think Duke or Bassie jazz orchestra or even brazilian style samba drum groups or perhaps seventy strong steel pan sets but the original BIG BAND is the african band. and historically the biggest baddest bestest big band on the continent is the Egypt 80. they are live. Egypt 80 are afrobeat originators, innovators, instigators. these men tell its story every night. make me tell you bout endurance: one soldier member transitioned from sax to keys at the age of 70 only because the brass became to heavy for his old bones. but them old bones have been playing twelve hour sets of 45 minute songs for the past forty years - do not mess, these are musician soldiers, artist renegades; if there was an afrobeat war, these guys would never have need for a white flag - rather they would play the funkiest version of the funeral song you ever heard while their beleaguered opponents were carried off the battlefield.

a word about how real african men dance - word. (sigh.)

no, but truly, it is spectacular: the stance is wide, bampsy pushed out, chest puffed up, shoulders wide and strong, head cocked, all muscles at alert and GO!

hips switch, back snakes, shoulders shift, rise and lower while pelvis goes whinewhinewhine and thrustthrustthrust... in concert Seun turns his back to the audience often to make them see precisely how it is done and sends his shoulders flying as he wails on his sax to the band or he turns to the side and folds his torso at ninety degrees and sings down into the mic with his backside raised, gyrating with his free hand held out in front of him fingers spread wide. finally, to further demonstrate, he removes his shirt to ensure the crowd catches every last quiver and movement, his back black and bulging with musical muscles, glistening - sigh. let me stop there.

there are great bands still making new sounds in afrofunk style -

hot tip: few people caught the February 2008 release by Dj Mike Love of Nigerian Gangster - check it on his myspace - i'm not sure of the conception of this crazy mix, but Love takes Jay Z's lyrical film score and mixes Hova's ryhmes with Fela's funk; throughout there is historical reference to Fela with wicked soundbytes and because i love Jay's flow, i really enjoy this album.

thank you Oluseun Anikulapo Kuti for a brilliant concert, an amazing show. we torontonians are luckier than we know - the orchestra baobob is at the Harbourfront tonight... i'll tell you how it goes tomorrow!


a lesson in reggae music

my ex's bredren ras bagl said once, "di white man a hate di rastaman cos di rastaman hav di key!" he shook his locks in protest, but then grinned madly and winked as he whispered, "di key ah di reggae muuuzik."

here's a great clip that breaks down the roots of reggae - reggae is revolution music. reggae is a roots movement, a rebel movement, a rasta movement. rastafari is love. rasta wear him hair so fi mek people know him nah business with babylon society ways.... i could go on and on... my mother loved reggae music and peter tosh and so i do it seems... i suggest any music lover familiarise themselves with the music - from studio one fahwad ...rocksteady, dub, ska, reggae, dancehall...

Lee Scratch Perry - 72 years young and badass.

Lee Scratch Perry strutted back and forth on stage, strollin, too cool, his hat smokin (literally) and shining gold - AMAZIN' - dub poet, master mix man, mad genius, dropping precious flecks of wisdom into the audience. He sang "sun is shining" into the cool night air and i believed him.

After burning down his Black Ark Studio in 1979 (following enormous commercial success,) critics began to question his sanity. After some bizarre live performances in the nineties, critics bgan to question his talent. Some may say he is mad, sick, head no good but me know say Perry is the truth, the undiluted truth. here are some of the gems i kept from the show, but also check out the clip below -

lighting flash...
bless your name...
bless your brain...
shake your head...
write your name...
bless your name...

i am confused...

i am not confused...

cannabis, cannabis, cannabis...

i am a bug...
give me a hug...
i am not a thug...
give me a hug...
i am a thug...
but i am in love...
i am a bug...
give me a hug...


did you ever know someone who

did you ever know someone
who turned hater when intoxicated?
someone you thought was your friend
but the alcohol made you know
it is not so -
like you turned your back and instead of mix,
she poured haterade in her drink?

define "liveable"

i often find
i choose to live
in places you might not

in canada
i seek shelter
and not much more than that

i rent and move
i move and rent
i do not seek someplace

i select by feeling
i don't look at the ceilings
i never check against building codes

cracked windows, no bother
faulty element, no matter
yellow tap water, just wait one moment

it will pass

faulty fixtures don't upset me
aging wires will not distress me
peeling trims could never offend me


i do not care for
new appliances and fresh paint
i do not care to
purchase furniture to fill space

i keep it

for this is not my home
i seek shelter alone
and not first class residence

don't you call it ghetto
don't dare turn up your nose
don't tell me the futon is hard and lumpy
all i do is sleep here -
this country is not my home

i prefer a reminder
our life is much kinder
and so i choose a shitbox

until the day
i make my way
and build myself a home

africa or south america
archipelago or coast
somewhere with water for my bamboo

a second floor with
a wrap around veranda
and an inner courtyard too

Neg Marrons feat. Cesaria Evora

Petit pays
Je t'aime beaucoup
Petit petit
Je l'aime beaucoup


'old talk'

i spoke to my mother this morning and she lamented,
"what a shame, jammie, you know old talk is dying out."
"old talk?" I ask and she continued with an explanation (slightly flabbergasted,)
"this business of old talk is a set of west indians sitting around, it's an easy kind of atmosphere, we catching up on news, piconging -"
"wait, what is picong?"
"oh gosh chile', look it up - everybody has gotten so uptight, so focused on their own agenda, if you say something nobody takes it as you say it, they're looking to hear what they want..."
and true to my mother's character (a teacher) she referred me to a book to further understand the concept - 'the housing lark' by sam selvon.

today is sunday, so we should all be out and about enjoying the sunshine. i say summertime is made for loitering, so let's; let's take a moment today for old talk, to sit around and catch up with friends and enjoy their company - give it a try and maybe we can resurrect this valuable tradition...for my mother.

jose james - jazz '08

here's the thing about jazz - jazz is complicated.

i mean that it's inextricably tied to time, place and people in our minds -
think rare recordings in crowded smokey bars
think bird, miles, coltraine, chet, herbie, dizzy, monk...
think blues, swing, bebop,
basically, think back -

but jose james thinks back and brings it forward in a way that blasts most other styles of contemporary jazz - you know the kind that wafts around waiting rooms and elevators?

well, the fella strolled on stage in a white t shirt, jeans and a NY baseball cap, grabbed the mic and...
it was clear that scatting is the archetype freestyle and
lyrical content added the here-and-now to the way-back-then sounds of the jazz quartet and
his hands moved like an emcee in a cipher...
and it was authentic and live and now and then - wicked.

respect to jose james; let's hope ears out there are attuned to his oldnewthennow style... he proves that we can make current what we revere and speak about with nostalgia... we can bring forward our musical roots, hug them tight and cloak them in today... lest we forget; then where will we go?