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18 Aug

Professor Sun Ra

Sun Ra’s Full Lecture & Reading List From His 1971 UC Berkeley Course, “The Black Man in the Cosmos” by Josh Jones | Open Culture A pioneer of “Afrofuturism,” bandleader Sun Ra emerged from a traditional swing scene in Alabama, touring the country in his teens as a member of his high school biology teacher’s big band. While attending Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University, he had an out-of-body experience during which he was transported into outer space. As biographer John Szwed records him saying,...
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17 Aug

Glen Campbell, R.I.P.

(I have to admit, I forgot how incredible Glen Campbell was; how integral he was to the soundtrack of my childhood. I recently risked dropping "By The Time I Get to Phoenix" in the middle of a DJ set, and a young 20-something year old ran up and asked who it was, taking a picture of the album. Success. A friend posted this heartfelt tribute on FaceBook, saying it better than I ever could.) by Yusuf Lamont Even when you see it coming,...
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17 Aug

Trailer for “Digging for Weldon Irvine” Documentary

by Jordan Darville | The Fader (God I loved this guy's music; still miss him.) Weldon Irvine, jazz musician, playwright, pioneer of liberated black artistic expression, and mentor to rappers like Q-Tip and Mos Def, is the subject of an upcoming film Digging For Weldon Irvine. Watch a trailer for the film above.The film, directed by Victorious DeCosta, will cover Irvine's beginnings in Hampton, Virginia, into his breakout as Nina Simone's bandleader and the lyricist behind the civil rights anthem "Young, Gifted &...
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12 Aug

Google Marks 44th Anniversary of Hip Hop w/ Interactive Doodle

by Google   On August 11, 1973, an 18-year-old, Jamaican-American DJ who went by the name of Kool Herc threw a back-to-school jam at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx, New York. During his set, he decided to do something different. Instead of playing the songs in full, he played only their instrumental sections, or “breaks” - sections where he noticed the crowd went wild. During these “breaks” his friend Coke La Rock hyped up the crowd with a microphone. And with...
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8 Aug

P.P. Arnold’s Album w/ Barry Gibb, Eric Clapton Cleared for Release

by Paul Sexton | Billboard American soul singer P.P. Arnold's "lost" album The Turning Tide, with songs produced in the late 1960s and early '70s by Barry Gibb and Eric Clapton, will be released for the first time by independent Kundalini Music on Oct. 6.

 The unheard album showcases the authentic R&B credentials of the vastly experienced Los Angeles-born vocalist, who went on to work with everyone from Nick Drake to Peter Gabriel. Arnold made the recordings in London, where she arrived in...
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7 Aug

Dorothy Ashby Was One Fierce Pioneer of Jazz Harp

by Nick Millevoi | Flypaper A few years ago, I had one of the most powerful live music experiences of my life when I went to see Stevie Wonder on his Songs in the Key of Life Tour. He delivered one of the greatest collections of musical material ever composed and performed at the highest level with the emotion, energy, and musicality of a true master. The band was massive: two drummers, three guitarists, bass, two or three other keyboardists behind him, a full string section with...
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30 Jul

150 Records by African Women You Should Listen To

Muthoni the Drummer Queen. Image courtesy of the artist. by OKAYAFRICA Just like NPR and The Fader, the OkayAfrica team took a stab at listing 150 records made by amazing African for you to discover and rediscover. We hope you enjoy listening through as much as we enjoyed putting together this list of African women who’ve shaped African music from the continent and around the world. 1. Alsarah & The Nubatones (Sudan) – Manara 2. Angelique Kidjo (Benin) – Logozo 3. Asa (Nigeria) – Beautiful Imperfection 4....
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26 Jul

Esperanza Spalding is Writing & Recording “Exposure” Over 3 Day FB Livestream

by Winston Cook-Wilson | SPIN Esperanza Spalding, Grammy-award-winning singer-songwriter and jazz bassist extraordinaire (and now Harvard Professor!), has announced her new album, though she hasn’t written any songs. On September 12 at 12 p.m. Eastern, Spalding will begin writing and recording her next album, aptly titled Exposure–move over, Robert Fripp–limiting herself to a 77-hour timeframe and live-streaming the entire thing. (Yes, that includes the sleep breaks). The audience will be able to chat comments to Spalding during the process. There will be other...
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22 Jul

How Playing an Instrument Benefits Your Brain

Lesson Anita Collins, Animation Sharon Colman Graham | Ted-Ed When you listen to music, multiple areas of your brain become engaged and active. But when you actually play an instrument, that activity becomes more like a full-body brain workout. What’s going on? Anita Collins explains the fireworks that go off in musicians’ brains when they play, and examines some of the long-term positive effects of this mental workout. ...
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20 Jul

Dub Music: A History of Jamaica’s Musical Artform

by Patricia Meschino | Billboard   On a balmy late May evening under the stars at Chris Blackwell’s stunning cliffside hotel The Caves in Negril, Jamaica, legendary producer Lee “Scratch” Perry strolls up to the DJ booth and takes the microphone. For the next 45 minutes Scratch, now 81, his hair and beard dyed cherry-red, freestyles lyrics as DJ (or selector, in Jamaican parlance). Kingston Dub Club owner Gabre Selassie tweaks his mixing console’s controls, manipulating the riddim track, transforming the bass line into a...
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12 Jul

The B-52s’ Lost Recipe For Sweet Potato Cornbread

by Dangerous Minds Some principles are non-negotiable. I like talking to people whose views on religion, politics, food, the environment, hairdos and footwear differ from my own. But I stand firmly behind Dangerous Minds’ “zero tolerance” policy for anyone who doesn’t like the B-52s. Those jerks can wash down a plate of boiled shoe leather with a cold glass of splinters. The rest of us will be borne aloft on the angelic sounds of Ricky Wilson’s guitar and the subtle flavors...
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8 Jul

Honda Scooter Commercials w/ Devo, Lou Reed, Miles Davis, Grace Jones & Adam Ant

by Dangerous Minds In the mid-1980s Honda had a series of quite dauntingly cool musicians hawking their scooters. They had particularly playful, sexy commercial in which Adam Ant and Grace Jones flirt with each other and then presumably fuck because they are so preposterously vital and attractive. Others featured DEVO, Berlin, Lou Reed, and Miles fucking Davis. The Adam Ant/Grace Jones ad was “racy” enough that there was an edited version. In the full version Jones bites Ant’s ear, an act that...
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8 Jul

NASA Sent Salutations & Music Into Space to Communicate w/Aliens

by Chris Coplan Consequence of Sound We already know that space generates its own deeply beautiful music. But back in 1977, as mankind thought about its place amongst the stars and the possibility of extraterrestrial life, NASA decided to add to the cosmic symphony with the launch of the Voyager I probe. There among all the radio gear and high-end cameras is The Golden Record, a disc containing a ginormous auditory archive representing our planet’s menagerie of sounds (via Death and Taxes). From music to greetings in every language and even sorted animal grunts,...
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8 Jul

Nina Simone in Liberia

Nina Simone, left, at Wilhelmina "Coo Coo" Tubman's birthday party in Monrovia, 1974. Courtesy of the Parker family collection, Monrovia, Liberia  by Katherina Grace Thomas Guernica Someone who knew Nina Simone well—a Liberian friend of hers, I suppose a mutual friend now—told me a story. Liberia’s past is in pieces, he said, and here’s one of them. Maybe it’s the one you’re looking for. On a September night in 1974, the wet season was closing down and an encore of rain washed the streets...
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8 Jul

“Punk London” Festival: 40 Years of Art, Design, Fashion & Music

by Neil Bennett Digital Arts In 2016, the year-long punk festival saw events across London's museums. 2016 marked the 40th anniversary of when punk reached the British public consciousness – prompting a year-long series of events across the capital in celebration of the many forms of punk culture. Punk London sees exhibitions and events at the Barbican, BFI Southbank, British Library, Design Museum and Museum of London – and there's as much a focus on the visual culture of punk as the music that's best remembered by your...
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