In music on August 10, 2012 at 10:07 pm
…without a definitive soundscape.
lianne la havas’ debut album, “is your love big enough?” has stolen my heart as best album of the summer. the amazing range of this london export is absolutely stunning with recognizable influences from jill scott, mary j blige and even touches of zap mama. there is no clear “box” in which this sophisticated songwriter can reside as her blending of the above coupled with her own distinct styling, defy any classification as mere pop, r&b, etc. what makes this album genius is that la havas is arriving on the scene as a singer/songwriter at the tender age of 22!
there isn’t anything i don’t love about this album! “no room for doubt” a delicate duet with american musician, willy mason is a lazy afternoon treat, their voices twinning beautifully breathtaking:
there is the stronger anthem, “forget” with it’s driving beat and banshee flavored wails throughout the chorus are paired with lilting flute-like vocals. for one so young, i’m surprised by the sophisticated lyrics of the may/december romance of “age”. “elusive” is probably the most “r&b” out of all the songs and yet is light enough to float away on. she is not only talented as a vocalist, but also an accomplished guitarist having been taught by her greek father, a working musician. she showcases her skill on a live recording of “they could be wrong” at the hammersmith bluesfest earlier in june:
then there is the rhythmically playful “au cinéma” as love unfolds as in an imaginary screenplay. “take our positions as the cameras roll. you’ll be the guy, i’ll be the girl.” there is nothing to not love about this artist and her brand of lyrical poetry and i look forward to jumping on a plane and taking her sound around the world with me. the album comes regular and deluxe with extra acoustic songs that are definitely worth the extra dollars and she even does a cover of jill scott’s “he loves me” which i could not get mad at!
In music on July 30, 2012 at 10:39 am
…strikes again with her new single, “go hard! if you’re looking for a song to change the world, this is definitely not it but if you’re looking for your summer theme, then look no further. great video production, imagery, etc. there’s something about this chica that’s fresh, fun and unpretentious!
In music, theatre & performance arts on January 1, 2012 at 12:01 am
my new years eve did not let me down with the brilliant production of FELA at the ahmanson theatre!
my partner and i have to give ourselves a pat on the back for splurging on such amazing seats. third row was just close enough to catch all of the action and none of the sweat as there was plenty of that to go round with the amazing dancers onstage!
the story of FELA begins with his ’69 tour of america and follows his subsequent political development. like many disenfranchised young africans of the time, he too subscribed to the notion of leaving nigeria and making it large in america, yet he struggled with abandoning the nation of his birth full of the haunting memories of his mother. that struggle being the focal point of the musical, allows the audience a glimpse of the forces that shaped his life and the underlying political messages of his music.
brilliantly portrayed by sahr ngaujah, his rendition exudes the magnetism, intensity and humor that fela was known for while staying true to the stylings of his musicianship. melanie marshall was a stand out as fela’s mother, funmilayo, with a voice that can only be described as mesmerizing. her operatic range would swell and soar causing the hair on my arms to stand up!
the choreography was relentless making it impossible to sit still as lithe young men and women performed hip grinding african influenced moves peppered with american tap. staying true to the flavor of fela’s shows, the dancers did double duty as chorus and solo musicians. i would have wished for more audience participation but most of the peeps within my scope were too self conscious to give any of the performers’ direction a try.
regardless, it was an evening fueled by fast and funky beats as i felt myself transported by the imaginative production value of the stage design and the performance of a truly inexhaustible cast! i strongly urge any music enthusiast with a love of global groove, to go to the ahmanson and check out this show posthaste. this limited engagement runs only through january 22 so don’t miss out!
in keeping with the spirit of the show, barka da sabuwar shekara and all the best of 2012!
pictures courtesy of the centre theatre group
In art & design, fashion on June 28, 2011 at 6:30 am
…the letter “A.” azzedine alaÏa brought to you by virgine magazine!
virgine magazine is a new online and hard copy glossy that focuses on innovators of art, fashion and music. their outlook is unique as the articles themselves are meant to be written by industry professionals for industry professionals. having the photographer write about his subject or the fashion model who wants to break into editing writing about a designer. there is also the additional charity component of devoting the first few pages to charitable advertising. imagine that, a magazine that attempts to sell more than materialism! i haven’t picked up a physical copy yet but i have to say that i like what i see. clean design elements, easy to read and it has, most importantly, interviews with amazing individuals and tight photography!
the article on azzedine alaÏa is so inspiring and human! i think of myself and my friends who are struggling to find ways to express ourselves and the impact that interviews like these have on the psyche. what he speaks of, the breakneck pace fashion has taken on, the pressure put on creatives to hit every retail market, we know from experience will burn a designer out. when a two time fashion oscar winner speaks, hopefully people will listen! designers are abandoning the retail mill, opting out of the entire mass market process and reinventing themselves through e-commerce and smaller collections. a much needed shot in the arm of creative progression… and oh! the bits about lagerfeld and wintour were very insightful!
beautifully done, virgine!
unfortunately the app isn’t up yet and their digital copy doesn’t offer any information on what the format options are for download. the link in the sidebar takes you directly to paypal. i need a little more than that! still, i’ve bookmarked them for future reading and am more than willing to add their app to my ipad. my wishlist would include a cross issue search tool that will enable true archiving for creatives!
click the image for the must read article on azzedine alaïa or click here to go to virginemag.com.
In music on May 10, 2011 at 10:04 am
…new release ‘stone rollin’ just made it onto my playlist. for those who already know the retro soul sound of his previous ‘the way i see it’, won’t be disappointed with his latest effort. there are some haters out there who will chalk retro soul up as a move backward but all i can say is, it thank goodness artists like these keep old school soul alive! i think current “soul” music is wandering through the wilderness and maybe we need a trip back to reconnect to what was so wonderful about classic soul. as long as it inspires heads to explore the sounds of musical greats like stevie wonder, the miracles, the isley brothers, marvin gaye, sly and the family stone, curtis mayfield and such, you cannot go wrong!