Category: Music

“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.

Pic of the Day


Click to enlargeAP Photo

Great visual and music effects with dancers performing to Swan Lake – with glass-fibre cloaks – in the opening ceremony from the Sochi Olympics. I haven’t found a decent video available, yet, that loads into WordPress. It really requires HD.

The overwhelming majority of critics and viewers loved it. Which means there still are a number of Fox News-level reviewers in the US who didn’t get it. Some folks have never seen a waterbird like a swan rise in slow motion from a lake, I guess.

Pete Seeger, 1919 – 2014

The film accompanying Pete’s rendition of “Which side are you on…?” is Salt of the Earth – filmed here in New Mexico and based on a strike by the Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers Union. Just in case you think Women’s Liberation started in the US in the late 1960’s – instead of with a bunch of Reds in the 1950’s. Folks who made the movie were blacklisted. Folks in the movie, actors or local mine workers, were blacklisted. The movie was blacklisted.

Pete Seeger was blacklisted for years. An old American tradition, blacklisting. Trying to keep folks who got out of line from getting work. Believe me, it still happens.

I was on stage with Pete more than once. No one appearing with him ever thought of competing with the hold he had on an audience, his ability to communicate through song and good sense was greater than most can imagine – unless you ever experienced it. Matched by his courage, conviction, willingness to stick up for a good cause regardless of how popular it may have been. Or not.

He will be missed.

MLKjr

I think I’ll write a little bit about this photo. You see, I’m standing just to the right of the field of vision – politely nudged aside by the news photographer who wanted to get a good close-up of Dr. King speaking in one of the toughest neighborhoods in Black Chicago. Out in front of the Robert Taylor Projects.

Looking around for a photo and a news piece to reflect upon on this holiday, I bumped into this news photo from the summer of 1965 in Chicago. I spent that summer as a community activist working with other like-minded folks from the then fairly-new W.E.B.DuBois Clubs. Radicals, communist and non-communist, religious and atheist, all colors and creeds; but, convinced that it would take more than band-aids to patch up the effect of centuries of racism in America.

I met some wonderful people that summer. Not the least of whom was Dr. King. Though he wasn’t the biggest influence on my feelings, understanding of what the movement needed to do, where to go next. Most influential was Ismael Flory, founder of the African American Heritage Association, editor and stalwart in his dedication to producing an encyclopedia of African American studies. Ish could turn traffic directions into a discussion of history, turn lunch into the science of gastronomy – could make you laugh or cry over silly humanity.

I opened for Dr. King, that day in Chicago’s South Side. Back in the day, there wasn’t anyplace I sang and performed that didn’t have at least a core of the call for change in it. Newspaper articles and historic documents say this was the first time that Dr. King was booed by a Black audience. It was much, much less than that.

There were two truly tiny efforts birthing in Chicago at that time joining the early call for Black Power within the civil rights movement – and ready to exit the larger effort at the drop of a dollar bill. That day the noisiest boos came from members of the Blackstone Rangers already devolving into hustlers taking money from the Feds and using the funds to build one of the largest drug gangs in Chicago. The other silliest group was comprised of one well-known young Black man – an early advocate of separatist activism – who trotted out a line of a half-dozen or so schoolchildren, none over 6 or 7 years old, who carried anti-King signs. Dr. King chided him for his opportunism and guile.

For me, the day is remembered as the first time I met Martin Luther King, Jr.. I remember the summer sun and heat. I remember one Black teenager who liked one particular song I wrote – something I rarely did. I never wanted to be a songwriter. It was one more step away from America’s bigoted history. One more step towards a future still unrealized; but – believe me – better than it ever was.

I wrote this a few years ago. Worth reposting.