Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Flying free...

Words cannot express how much House Music has changed my Life. Age has no barrier in transformation or learning. I give thanks everyday for this music getting me through some of the peaks in valleys in this thing called Life.

I remember hearing on vinyl, 'What Is This Thing Called Love' by Alexander O' Neal as a child and losing my mind. First, I would look at the vinyl spinning on the deck and look at my mom. Secondly, I would twirl and dance in front of my mom and she would holler and yell in excitement and happiness because of the lyrics and beat.

However, when she played the 'Whistle Song' and 'Rain Falls', we would do the same, but dance in eternal joy, happiness and TOGETHERNESS united us.

Frankie Knuckles was from the Bronx, yes. However, he called Chicago home and crafted a sound that continues to affect the community and so many individuals, including myself, around the World. Hearing his music and mixes always had a level of Love, rawness, yet softness behind it. I would sneak and listen those tracks while my mom was asleep and sing at the top of my lungs until I got caught because a child, you were not to touch 'The Record Player', as mom ever so called it.

I can only fathom how Chicago and the World is taking this right now. I opened my page only to find that I saw his passing. He was JUST at WMC, smiling and taking pictures with fans, heads and fellow DJs. Shock ran through us all until it was confirmed. I have not cried this much since the passing of MJ. That one hurts and still hurts to this day. But this transformation of Life/loss stings just as bad, if not worse. Let me tell you why.

House Music is a soulful thing. I truly feel it within me and dance like no one is watching. I cry as if the Heavens opened up and shined down on me. Some people in my Life do not understand how or why I am a House Head or why I go out and do what I do for it. I sing (way off-key, sometimes) as if I am around a crowd of people and not caring what their faces are reading because I FEEL this music.  Age has no bearing on one's experience and feeling when it comes to music. House Music was just that. Yes, we had other genres of music passing through the speakers in our home. But I never felt complete, until I heard House Music. I would hear the beat count and the stories being told. The melodies that unfolded and the amount of Love put into it. Frankie did that.

Although I never had the chance to formally meet him, I did catch one him on the streets in Miami during WMC. He was with a group of other individuals. Respect, yet humility exuded from him. To say the least, this had me awestruck. I could not even approach.

I have read several stories about individuals close to him and how kind, humble and good of a friend/mentor he was. Then I think about now and how some of DJs, icons and pioneers still live up to that legacy, especially with the youth. Through it all, he still smiled in his photos and shared through music. From what I have read from those closest with him, it was reciprocated both ways with Frankie and the beings he made interaction with. It is few and far in between nowadays. This is a wake-up call, in my opinion. We have to embrace different sounds of this genre and mentor the YOUTH in this movement. The YOUTH also have to do their research, ask questions and find out history about this movement. Thankful for individuals in my Life who have done that such thing. Continue to school me, educate me and enrich my LIFE in this thing called HOUSE MUSIC. We have to come together so we can leave a legacy for those in the future. We cannot let this movement SLIP AWAY from us and become a fad. It has nor will ever be a fad. We remain strong in our roots and like the roots of a tree when it is fed nourishment, it grows.

The pettiness of this movement from certain individuals, I tune out. One cannot waste time on it. You may not like a sound, but its roots stem from House. I read posts about people getting upset or complaining about certain sounds and how it has not roots in House. It may not be a major root, but it is a root that is getting nourished and fed. Respect that root and you shall be nurtured and rewarded as well. There needs to be a balance and I truly feel that if the balance were there, things would flourish. Stifling a root causes it harm and eventually, death. We cannot have that on our hands. House Music, in my opinion, is slowly starting to make a comeback. You hear it in certain songs. It may not be the Deep, Underground or 'soulful' sound that some of us may be used to, but it is House. I can still groove and smile to myself.

'This is only the beginning. We must push on...'

As I sit here and listen to Alexander Hope's Dancin', it only reconfirms that for me. Dance to whatever makes your heart happy. Do not stop because some individuals tell you, 'Oh that's not House...'

Granted, I have done this a few times, as well. However, I have learned to embrace so many different sounds that my feet continue to move.

A level of respect has to be given. In order to respect, it must be earned. Frankie earned that respect. Some people say he was underrated. I disagree. He was, in my opinion, looked up to and a huge influence in many DJs careers. If you were a DJ or a House Head and did not whom this individual was, I suggest doing your research before you claim otherwise. Still researching and finding artists who continue to pave the way in this thing we call House Music.

As for soul, the music that pumps through my speakers has rhythm, Life beats, a story either through instrumentation or vocals, highs and lows, and of course, a beautiful finish. My Heart sings of JOY and HAPPINESS!

Thank You for the music and the radiant smile you gave us all through pictures and the beautiful melodies you crafted. Although tears stream and sadness fills my heart, this House Head is humbled right now.

Fly Black Bird. Fly free...


Saturday, January 11, 2014

F.I.L.A.M. = Forever I Love ATLANTA Music

DISCLAIMER: If I forgot some tidbits, my apologies. Things were coming to my mind at that moment and HAD to get it out.

My apologies for the lack of posts. Life has kept me on my toes I am now in NYC and savoring all that it offers. Truly thankful for this experience. However, I am missing my Atlanta Music family right now.

Last night was a fine example: I got to see Kai Alce at Output. Anyone who know Atlanta KNOWS of Kai Alce. Yes, he is Detroit bred in his sound, but his home is ATL. I remember meeting this being at 16, while scoping records with my mom at Satellite Records (Rest In Peace). Such a humble being, yet a music connoisseur who could tell you EVERY single piece of info about a track. Talk about amazing! One of the 1st records I bought there was from Tortured Soul. I got home and played it on my Technics and the sound was Heaven to my ears.

I say all this to say: TREASURE those who impact the movement in the RIGHT direction. The uniqueness of our movement (notice how I did NOT say scene. That ends and another chapter starts. Movements shift and create energy) is what I love. As a young being in this movement, I am always amazed and blown away by the history that paved the way for many to do what they do in this city today. Still learning and growing from the experiences that I have encountered. From people playing at Ying-Yang Cafe, Kaya, MJQ, Backstreet and so many other joints. I can go to ANY city and when I mention Atlanta, I get a few of the following:

A) I did not know that you all had a scene there
B) Yeah I have people down there that do events
C) What's that event that happens every Labor Day? House In The Park, right? Friends of mine went and were blown away
D) Tambor is the lick! I have to make it down there for it.
E) There are some fine ass women who go to the events that I see in pictures and posts. What's their names?
F) Such a youthful and open quality that you rarely see. Keep it moving!

I remember one night while at MJQ dancing on stage with Rodney, RamonRawsoul approached me. No lie, I was wondering who the heck he was. He reached out to me to check out this event that he was doing at Candler Park called House In The Park. Changed me and turned me out. There was less than 200 bodies there. We are now celebrating its 10th year. About 10k the year before and one of my closest beings that I know. THANK YOU!

Meeting Salah Ananse one day through Nina and hearing his sound was like a butterfly emerging from its cocoon. He paid attention, got advice, took notes and BOOM! Respect, homie!

I remember mom coming home with Ron Pullman CDs and we jammed out. Letting the children have it and losing it all at once in the middle of May. Going to Earwax and seeing what Ron offered to everyone. Such a cool cat and I miss that sound...

Ausar bridging the Ancestral World with this realm always makes my soul sing. Opening up discussions and having powerful beings on panels that reach out to the masses. I have so much Love for this being. Respect!

The way Cullen Cole fuses B-Sides and Disco with some House favourites/rarities guarantees that all will be good while on the dance floor.

Meeting Kemit through moms and Kai, then being blown away at his sets at MJQ. Always showing Love to everyone and reaching out to those who want to know more. He keeps it funky, raw and soulful.

Going out to MJQ my first night and meeting Rodney Williams, Ruby Omar (Rest In Peace), Content, Soul, Twa, Talub, Tac, Shana, Isis, Cardrian, Pebbles, Jennifer, Brian Scarlett and so many others.  Some of us danced to House Music and some House Dancers (there is a difference, you know...). Losing our ever-loving minds (sometimes clothing) whenever a track came out. The darkness of the club and the bodies all in motion...

Thankful to have met and know pioneers of this movement, even though some may not understand or fully grasp their sound. We are losing pioneers and we must respect and honor what we have.

My definition of Atlanta's sound: You have a conglomerate of cities that influence it. However, it is of our own. You have Chicago, Detroit, NYC, Milwaukee/St.Louis, London and so forth. You cannot just peg our sound just by hearing one DJ.

Sure, you can go The Gathering and hear RamonRawsoul and Kai Alce play. You hear their distinctive cities, BUT you do notice a variance of sounds that is blended into the sets, which makes my Heart sing. You can go to Tambor and hear Stan Zeff and DJ BE spin, but you hear their roots. Just listen.

Too many people pigeonhole one city's sound and honestly, it bores me. I cannot hear Afro all night. I cannot hear classics all night. I cannot hear Disco all night. I cannot hear Garage all night. Mix it up, folks! That is what makes House Music unique.

And to those who like to create ruckus for the simple fact to bring attention to themselves within our movement: Stop it. It ain't cute. I know for a fact that I will not be attending an event if all you do is bitch and whine about things that ABSOLUTELY have no merit. If you disagree with things that occur within our movement, reach out to the pioneers and get some knowledge before you spew inaccurate statements. I have had to distance myself from several due to this. I personally do not care nor want to contribute. We are here for the music, not ANYONE'S personal agenda. If you are of that Light, do us all a favor: remove yourself. You are only causing yourself more harm to your reputation than anything.

Our family may have its imperfections, but at the end of the day, we come together in the name of music. I am sick of outsiders coming in and saying rude things about our movement. If you do not know, ASK. To be honest, it is disrespectful and detrimental to you.

I get it. Your city knows House Music and do all that it can to preserve its sound. Although that may be the case, do not come to Atlanta and think that we are behind, some country ass bumpkins or lack knowledge. You may be surprised if you step outside the box and experience something brand new. Your ears will appreciate it. Trust me.

I may be in NYC and getting a taste of the movement here, but ATLANTA will always be my HOME!

I LOVE each and every single one of those who bring happiness to many on the dance floor.


P.S.- If you are in the Atlanta area MLK weekend, PLEASE go to MJQ for our MLK celebration. Cullen Cole, DJ Kemit and Kai Alce on the decks. Date: January 19th!! One of the few events that gets me happier than a child on their birthday.