Friday, April 10, 2015

Afro- Beats, Eargasms, and Les Lions! Oh My!

" De reason dat black people in  America and all over de world love so much bass and percussion in their music is because we still hear de African drum.It is how your homeland speaks to you and how you speak lovingly back to her."

Quote from Column a Jamaican Musician I met on a train in  2009

Talking Drums- In Africa, New Guinea and the tropical America, people have used drum telegraphy to communicate with each other from far away for centuries. When European expeditions came into the jungles to explore the primeval forest, they were surprised to find that the message of their coming and their intention was carried through the woods a step in advance of their arrival. A  drum message can be transmitted at the speed of 100 miles in an hour.

Among the famous communication drums are the drums of West Africa , also known as talking drums, specifically from  regions known today as Nigeria and Ghana they spread across West Africa and to America and the Caribbean during the slave trade. There they were banned because they were being used by the slaves to communicate over long distances in a code unknown to their en-slavers. In some cases, messages can be transmitted as rapid beats at the same speed as speech with the rhythm and melody completely matching the equivalent spoken utterance.

Afro-beat -is a combination of traditional Nigerian and Ghanian music, jazz,   funk and chanted vocals,fused with heavy percussion and vocal styles, popularised in Africa in the 1970s. It was created and named by Nigerian multi-instrumentalist  and bandleader Fela Kuti. You may have heard of Fela Kuti,his life was featured in a Broadway play produced by Shawn "Jay Z" Carter and Will and Jada Pinkett-Smith.  Fela used Afrobeat to revolutionize musical structure as well as challenge the oppressive regime in his native Nigeria. It was Kuti who coined the term "Afro-beat" upon his return from a U.S. tour with his group Nigeria '70 . Afro- beat features chants ,vocals, and complex, interacting rhythms.

Eargasms  Now, lets get to the two  topics that you've been waiting for: namely eargasms and Lions! I typically don't mention events that I plan to attend until very near the date the event is scheduled to occur. But, I am captivated  by the singing duo Nico and Vinz and  their album Black Star Elephant.  The two men are from Oslo, Norway and their music features the heavy percussion of  the Afro-beat genre. Nicolay "Nico" Sereba  is of Norwegian- Ivorian decent and Vincent "Vinz" Dery is of Norwegian- Ghanian decent. Whenever I hear the first single from Black Star Elephant entitled " Am I Wrong", I get profound rhythmic waves of pleasure that travel from my ears to my entire body and I just have to dance and move. The percussion in this song is explosive! ( ie: The eargasm. I mean really,  this song is In addition,  the message is amazing. ( Nice to hear a song that's not about bitches, money and how I'm everything that you're not. Know what I'm saying?) 

 Les Lions Now, lets talk about the origin of the album name Black Star Elephant. Interestingly, in Ghana, the people refer to themselves as " Black Stars" and on the Ivory Coast, the people refer to themselves as" Les Elephants/ The Elephants". And, we black people in America refer to ourselves as what?  ( Don't worry, I'll wait.) You know the word that I'm talking about.  "Black Stars" and " Elephants" are such regal proud names that speak to a self love, dignity , and noble, impressive heritage. The word that many African Americans use to describe themselves does not. As such, I move that we rebrand ourselves as " Les Lions/ The Lions" our  creed can be , " The truth is like a lion, you don't have to defend it. Let it loose and it will defend itself."  ( Bad ass, I know.) But, I digress, Nico and Vinz will be performing at  The Independent in San Francisco on Saturday, June 6, 2015. The Independent is a standing room only music venue for those 21 and over. Even though the venue is standing room only, if you call the day prior to the event, they will arrange seating or wheel chair access if you're disabled. The tickets are $25.00. As far as standing room only ,for me, once Nico and Vinz come out , I won't be able to sit anyway. I will have to dance!

In closing, I am posting a link to the you tube video for the single, " Am I Wrong".
 Now, just a word of advice, the first time that you view or listen to it, do so in the privacy of your home. The first time I listened to it, I got put off the bus and they wouldn't even let me get all my stuff. ( And, that was a brand new bra. The guy who caught it didn't seem upset. Sheesh. Some people are so touchy.) Well, that's all for now! Until next time...

Hakuna Matata!,

Ms. Brown


zendoll said...

I love this song! heard it on Soul Tracks!! check them out!! they review grown folk music!! love the blog!!!

Unknown said...

Love this song! Love the blog! I'll be living vicariously through you!

Remy Jean said...

Thhanks! I'll check it out! And, thank you so very much for reading!

Remy Jean said...

Thanks LaShawna!

Remy Jean said...

By the way, I am so glad to see that my comment section is now working!

Unknown said...

This was a great post!