Category: Music

Hopis connect to Reggae — keep on rocking

Some Hopi people lovingly refer to their remote reservation as “the doughnut hole” because it’s surrounded by the Navajo Nation and so far from a major city.

But three decades ago tribal members convinced Jamaican artists from the SunSplash reggae festival to make a major detour off the Interstate and venture all the way out to Hopi land.

Since then the Hopi have organized dozens of reggae concerts.

Jennifer Joseph, who goes by Jonnie Jay on KUYI Hopi Radio, recalls when reggae was first introduced to Hopi.

“The artists that came, they didn’t play to crowds that were 10,000,” Joseph said. “They played to crowds of less than a hundred. But they came and they came and they came because they felt the roots. They felt the connection.”

For three decades many Hopi have adopted reggae as their music of choice. It’s difficult to travel the three mesas that make up the reservation without seeing several gold, red and green bumper stickers, not to mention someone in a Bob Marley T-shirt.

Joseph said the Hopi can connect with a lot of reggae music’s themes, but oppression really hits home.

“Although they sing about their strife and issues where they live, we can really relate to it,” Joseph said. “Those are the same issues we face everyday up to today. And it’s always Babylon coming down on us…”

…KUYI Hopi Radio general manager Richard Davis said reggae has been a powerful yet peaceful expression.

“The message of peaceful resistance, conscious resistance is definitely something that is a direct link between Hopi culture and reggae music,” Davis said…

“Ziggy Marley he says love is his religion,” Joseph said. “Love is our religion. We were once the same people. When we came to this world we were all one people.”

Glad to hear the Reggae continues. I was at the Sunsplash concerts on Hopi Tribal land, early days. Great fun. Audiences tended to be Hopi, Anglos and Apaches. Navajos rarely attended – no surprise. I don’t know if that ever changed.

The music was a gas and, yes, it fit right. RTFA for context.

Dancing robot cheerleaders

The only thing better than state-of-the-arts robotics is when it’s combined with Force 9 cuteness. Japanese electronics company Murata Manufacturing has given us one example with the unveiling if its robotic Cheerleaders. The squad of ten ball-mounted robots uses advanced ultrasonics, infrared, and group control technology to perform synchronized dance routines with perfect stability.

The Murata Cheerleader stands 36 cm tall. The pom poms of the Murata Cheerleader are part of the balance system.

The Cheerleaders were built in collaboration with Matsuno Lab at Kyoto University and represent Murata’s fourth generation of robots. The design is based on the company’s bicycle-riding Murata Boy and unicycle-riding Murata Boy, though the Cheerleader robots are designed to represent “elementary school students full of energy and curiosity…”

Who says robots can’t be cute en masse?

“Nafurahi” translates to “Happy”

Pharrell Williams made his song “Happy” freely available to use and encouraged people all over the world to make their own videos for the song. Hundreds of groups have taken him up on the offer, but most are lip-dubs or dancing to the original recording.

This one is a full cover version in Swahili, liberally sprinkled with French, from the city of Goma, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The performers, from KivuYouth Entertainment, are awesome.

I have an abiding love for Afro-French rock. My favorite of the genre being Wock. And special thanks to Ursarodinia for finding this and passing it along.

I love music videos

I love music videos!

That they were killed by opportunist schmucks making money from the lowest common denominator of entertainment – so-called reality TV – just makes their absence more painful.

I loved MTV from Day 1. I love every kind of real music, love cinema and video, hate what happened to MTV and VH1 when they were sold off for gigantor profits.

No one had the heart and the backbone to simply take their place when the creepy new owners wandered off into peddling the boring lives of meat puppets.

Thanks, Ursarodinia

Firefighters soothe scared girl by singing to her


Click for the song and lyrics

Two Reading, Mass., firefighters sung Let it Go from the Disney hit Frozen to soothe the fears of a 4-year-old girl stuck in an elevator.

The girl, Kaelyn Kerr, of Billerica, Mass., was on her way to a hair salon with her mother, Kristin Kerr, and baby brother when the elevator jammed.

“I went to go push the door and nothing happened,” Kristin Kerr said. “So that’s when I was pushing the buttons and nothing happened.”

Once firefighters arrived, they determined the only way to free the family was for them to climb a ladder out of the top of the elevator car and over a wall.

“When they put the ladder down that’s when she kind of started freaking out a little bit,” Kristin Kerr said, describing Kaelyn’s fear.

Firefighter John Keough started talking to Kaelyn to calm her down and discovered her favorite movie was Frozen. Keough’s partner, firefighter Scott Myette, pulled the song Let it Go up on his phone and started the sing along.

“It worked,” said Keough. “We got her to a point where she was comfortable with us and up the ladder we went, right up and over, no problem…”

“You say, okay how would my kids be comforted in this situation, so anything we can do to make them more comfortable makes our job a lot easier,” Myette said.

Bravo. My kind of heros.