jose james - the dreamer

would you believe there's still some cool mofos making current quality jazz?

ayo - live show

last night ayo and her three piece band performed at the rivoli - sublime. half nigerian, half gypsy, ayo has a stunning voice, high and sweet with a rough tone, soft but strong, something sounds like nomad, like hard times that have befallen such beauty, like tragic heartbreak. ayo beat that guitar as hard as she strummed it, maintaining eye contact with her band mates, the four jammed away listening to each other create pauses and patterns spontaneous, harmonious, continuous...

she is such a warm pretty presence with her bright bronze shine in a turquoise t shirt dress and grey vintage leather boots - no accessories - she leapt down into the crowd midway through the encore and danceddanceddanced and her hips and quick pace belied her west african origins and she grinned madly, held hands with the audience and gave us her last tired final everything so that we could remember this special show, her first appearance in toronto.

as they jammed without end, she explained the tradition of twenty five minute songs to the crowd... i can't speak highly enough about this concept. the african band has a few things on the western band - stamina, instrumental freedom, and of course rhythms. Take for example, the Egypt 80 (originally played with Fela Kuti, now play with his son Seun, you can see them next Tuesday 8pm Harboufront - FREE show) these fellas could play for hours with a repetoire of 30min+ tracks; literally, concerts go all night. Note that this is in part because no self respecting artist would send their loyal fans out into the dark Lagos night. Hence concerts must last until sunrise, effectively for the crowd's sake, to ensure their safe return home (they live to tell the tale i suppose.) but also because we love the beat and so we follow the beat, we do not lead it, we don't push or prod or stop short, we follow where she takes us and we are patient because we know there will be a surreal climax and a sweet come-down.

to undestand what i mean by instrumental freedom one must listen to Salif Keita, Habib Koite, Baaba Mal - these musicians are not bound by any sound structures, guitars can play parts of melodies and harmonies that might be sung or beat on a drum - no matter - all instruments make all sounds and all sounds mesh and make music.

rhythm - nuff said. what can result in the continent where the beat began? but the best of the best of the bestbestbest. The range is astounding, from addis to abidjan to kinshasa to jo'burg to cairo to madagascar to cape verde to darfur to desert to coast to mountaintop and back again -endless different paces, beats, breakdowns, cadences, tones.... with every people in every place there is a sound they make... this sound is different and definite and undisguised... it is shocking and fast or haunting and slow or jarring and both.

the ayo show was fantastic. she is as she says, from everywhere. a beauty. take a listen, something will take you away.


boonaa mohammed - spoken word

see/hear/learn more at


closing the "cuba loop" -

i've been posting here and there about cuban reforms and fidel's health, more specifically if reforms mean the man is dead. This article assuages my fears, reporting that there is no rift and fidel is aware and accepting of changes... not that anybody has seen him since July '06... as i'm posting this, i'm checking myself, because do i really trust aussie news?

i am ignoring the sinking feeling that fidel died a long time ago, maybe one of those scares that made miami's cuban exiles take to the streets and block traffic with glee...

understand, there exists an older generation of caribbean folk who highly esteem the revolutionary leader of one tiny island in the face of an enormous powerful continent - i am the daughter of one such west indian, niece to another, and so on. at the dinner table, my mother, aunt and uncle spoke with dreamy nostalgia and complete respect of an island in the archipelago able to gain and maintain its independance. understand we are trini - the island colonized not once, not twice, not thrice but FOUR times - the dutch, the french, the spanish, the british - everybody wants a damn piece.

when i travelled to cuba i understood there are opposing sentiments, but i can't shake the love. but this it it, the loop is officially closed.

cerrado. nada mas. disculpame.

strange news from africa

The year began with disputed elections and violence in Kenya

Followed by frightening stories of xenophobia from South Africa (continued into this month)

And recent news from Zimbabwe is not good.

This news does not air on our daily national broadcasts; we are not informed of root causes, we hear no analysis, we get no updates. I've heard alot this year about earthquakes and floods. But Africa has its share of "natural"-type-climate-related concerns too - still, largely unnoticed. I mean, they're quite sensational stories with twisting plots and unreal characters, good and bad and very bad. What gives?



I am afraid

I am afraid to tell my beloved
That I love her;
Jugged wine
Loses something when its poured out.

-Nizar Qabbani


who can tell me what is really happening in Zimbabawe?

love on the streetcar,

(hard girl) snuck glances through dark sunglasses

(soft girl) fingered her lapel and laughed lightly

(hard girl) braced her girl's body,
secured hands on steel bars,
forearms touch and hairs bristle

(soft girl) stole a look at her face when she looked away
and smiled sweetly


funny man died on sunday

george carlin passed away this weekend. he was a funny man, an angry man, but a very clever comedian who made an audience laugh at where we've gotten ourselves... politics, social classes, norms, economics, religon, history... brilliant but the truth of it is often sad and/or shocking.

enjoy the clip - my own first introduction to carlin:

citizen journalism

you can make news too at (vancouver-based!!)

as a rule

as a rule
i do not
open my mail

i let it pile
i do not file

it can collect dust
toss it if you must

but i will not check it
i prefer to fake it

let you assume
bills get paid
let you presume
the rents not late

i can miss
pizza delivery deals
i don't need
newspaper delivery deals

phone bill
credit card statement
bank notice
airmiles special

to me
is useless.
i won't open it.

it's a rule.

how hard is it really?

please find
who has
the wherewithal
the time
the mind
to love.