I am still recovering from the sonic & social whirl of this past week in Connecticut where we were engaged in mounting the #DavidBowie & #Prince memorial conference “Blackstar Rising & The Purple Reign,” organized by my dear friend & Yale University scholar Dr. Daphne A. Brooks. A good deal to reflect upon from all I heard from my former rockcrit colleagues including Ann Powers of NPR Music & Michaelangelo Matos & Greil Marcus, as well as those of the Academy such as Tavia Nyong’o of Yale & Eric Lott of CUNY Graduate Center. I do appreciate the wide audience that my session with Sherae Rimpsey & Alan Light — Everybody Still Wants To Fly — garnered due to our being the lead-in to Solange Knowles’ keynote address. My take on Prince as Mystery Cult via the prism of what Harold Bloom has denunciated as “California Orphism” was interesting to some folks (smile). And my Texan bandmate KAR / Kimberly Robison kindly traveled up from the Hamilton Grange to support me in my presentation & also did some vital research at Yale on Emily West aka the Yellow Rose of Texas for an upcoming project we wish to mount – stay tuned!
I was also very sad to learn upon my arrival in New Haven that Allman Brothers Band drummer Butch Trucks was gone to Glory. A lot of flashing on my time spent on-and-off the Road that goes on Forever with the Allmans is surfacing & I am doing a lot of listening to my favorites among their compositions — particularly one of my 3 most treasured songs: “In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed.” So, more to come after a spell on what transpired last week…yet here’s two precious souvenirs of my time spent in New Haven — meeting one of the scions of the great Escovedo family of American music that has had a profound influence on me since I initially grew up in a colony of Aztlan, a Chicano barrio in Chocolate City; I am very much a follower as a singer-songwriter of Sheila E. & her uncle Alejandro Escovedo…& as a past film school graduate and lover of concert cinema, I have also been influenced by D.A. Pennebaker who made my beloved Monterey Pop. An honor all ’round to briefly share space with them…A’ho*
( Sheila E. & Kandia Crazy Horse of Cactus Rose @ Yale University last Friday night, New Haven, Connecticut )
( Kandia Crazy Horse of Cactus Rose & legendary filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker @ Yale, after screening of his 1973 David Bowie documentary “Ziggy Stardust” )
February 2, 2017 | Categories: Live, Showout, Tourlife, Uncategorized | Tags: 1960s, 1970s, Afrofuturism, AfroNative, AlejandroEscovedo, AllmanBrothersBand, alternativespirituality, BettyDavis, BlackstarRisingandthePurpleReign, BurnedOverDistrict, ButchTrucks, CactusRose, CactusRoseBand, California, Camille, Connecticut, CosmicAmericanMusic, CosmicLadies, cosmogonies, DAPennebaker, DaphneBrooks, DavidBowie, DevonWilson, EdenAhbez, ElectricEden, electricity, ElectricLadies, England, Esquerita, FatherYod, GeorgeClinton, GlitterGlam, HerculineBarbin, HierosGamos, Hippies, JehovahsWitness, JoniMitchell, Kandia Crazy Horse, Karline, KarlMay, KimberlyRobison, Lebensreform, LisaColeman, LittleRichard, MetalHurlant, MidnightRider, MilleriteGreatDisappointment, MontereyPop, Mormonism, Mothership, Muses, Music, MysteryCult, NativeAmerican, News, Nightbirds, Oakland, PaisleyPark, PaisleyUnderground, Pleiades, Prince, religion, Romanticism, SacredAndrodyne, SeventhDayAdventist, SheilaE, SisterOfTheRoad, Skymama, SongbirdAquarian, SourceFamily, southernrock, Spiritualism, Spirituality, StevieNicks, SunRa, Technopagans, TheRoadGoesOnForever, Transcendentalism, transvocalizing, VisionaryState, WendyandLisa, WendyMelvoin, WhiteWingedDove, YaleUniversity, ZiggyStardust | Leave a comment
Many moons ago, I worked at the Schomburg Center For Research In Black Culture of the New York Public Library system — in the last days of the tenure there of my hometown hero Ellis Haizlip, onetime host of the best television show ever: SOUL! I was seeing Mr. Haizlip’s ghost ’round every corner, strolling around in his typical dashiki & tailored slacks, last night @ the Schomburg even before his name was invoked by an elder audience member after the Black Banjo event we were in attendance at the Langston Hughes Auditorium: Banjo Stories & Songs From Haiti & New Orleans, featuring my acquaintance Laurent Dubois (a banjo-playing, Belgian-American scholar from Duke University; I did a talk with him @ CUNY Graduate Center in Midtown back in the spring for the release of his new Harvard tome: The Banjo – America’s African Instrument) & my new friend Leyla McCalla, the Haitian-American banjoist who resides in New Orleans singing songs in English, French, Kreyol & the lone member of my friends’ band the Carolina Chocolate Drops that I had yet to meet. The cited episode of SOUL! featured Taj Mahal (ex-Rising Sons) doing an entire suite of banjo & ole-timey music, talking about the instrument’s African origins and encouraging youngbloods to take up the instrument; this aired back when I was a babychile and obviously there remains a stark racial & generational divide regarding banjo players when the instrument is trendy primarily amongst white Millennials who adopted it after the release of the Coen Brothers’ pastoral pastiche film O! Brother Where Art Thou? with its peerless ole-timey/Americana soundtrack, and the rise of these bands in the Aughts: Mumford & Sons, The Avett Brothers (I was one of the first to cover them as a rock/country critic alongside the Carolina Chocolate Drops, as they were emerging from the North Carolina Piedmont), & Old Crow Medicine Show. Nothing against these bands & the untimely passing of Pete Seeger has also played a role – indeed, he looms large in Laurent’s book — but we still have high hopes that young black kids will get hip to the banjo & take up our decades of work in keeping the black twang musical traditions thriving. I was interviewed for Joaquin Cotler’s podcast on these issues after Leyla’s performance, at the Schomburg; I will share it when it airs.
My dear #BlackHillbilly / twang family of the Ebony Hillbillies were also special guests like myself & we were in high cotton, enjoying the themes and music of the program. The Ebony Hillbillies generously performed at the Standing Rock benefit I curated @ Decolonize This Place back at the dawn of October; I look forward to future collaborations with them — and now — also with Sistah Leyla.
The banjo was my favorite instrument even before I knew of its African roots & I still hope to take it up — possibly in 2017, since I have been invited to the Danny Barker banjo festival in New Orleans by the guitarist/banjoist Detroit Brooks Sr. of jazz titan Donald Harrison’s band who does a lot of outreach in his community and beyond to keep black banjo traditions alive. Black artists (& the Afropolitan ones trying to appropriate southern accents and songlines in the UK) in country music are not a novelty nor a trend; whatever the outcome for current youtube sensation Kane Brown, who’s an Afro-Native (Tsalagi)/biracial country singer from rural Georgia in the “bro” mold (Young Kane & I have several thangs in common), we are here to stay. So #SaddleUp!
( Leyla McCalla of New Orleans & Kandia Crazy Horse of Hudson Canyon, Sistahs of Twang, @ Schomburg Center, Harlem NYC )
( Kandia Crazy Horse & Kimberly Robison, Virginia Native American songbirds/activists of Cactus Rose + Gloria Gassaway, Catawba lead vocalist/bones player/activist of the Ebony Hillbillies (from South Carolina) – We southern belles love to gather, do actions for #StandingRock & sing to honor our Ancestors. Miz Gloria almost went out to Standing Rock last week with our heroine Pure Fe of Ulali; we hope to combine our efforts & make a sojourn together soon come – A’ho* )
(Throwback to last Thursday night in SoHo @ Morrison Hotel Gallery for private view of Neil Young: Long May You Run exhibit, featuring photographs by Henry Diltz, Joel Bernstein, Danny Clinch & others. Here I am “waging heavy peace” with Henry’s famed image of my hero Neil & his dog Harte in the barn door of his ranch in California, Broken Arrow (named after my favorite Buffalo Springfield native american-themed tune & a Delmer Daves western from the early 1950s), from the year I was born, NYC)
December 8, 2016 | Categories: Interviews, Showout, Tourlife, Uncategorized | Tags: AfroNative, Afropolitan, AltCountry, banjo, biracial, Black, BlackAtlantic, BlackHistory, bluegrass, BrokenArrow, BuffaloSpringfield, CarolinaChocolateDrops, Country, Country Music, CountryandWestern, CountryGirls, CountryGirlsDoItBetter, countrysinger, DannyBarkerBanjoFestival, DannyClinch, DetroitBrooksSr, DonaldHarrison, EbonyHillbillies, EllisHaizlip, folk, FolkMusic, Folksingers, French, galleries, Georgia, GloriaGassaway, grassrootsartists, Haiti, Harlem, HarlemHoedown, HenryDiltz, JoelBernstein, Kandia Crazy Horse, KaneBrown, KimberlyRobison, Kreyol, LaurentDubois, LeylaMcCalla, ModernSoundsInCountryAndWesternMusic, MorrisonHotelGallery, mountainmusic, MumfordAndSons, Music, NeilYoung, NewOrleans, News, NoDAPL, NorthCarolina, OldCrowMedicineShow, OldTimey, outlaw country, photography, podcast, prewarstringbandmusic, RisingSons, SchomburgCenter, singersongwriter, Songbird, Soul, South, SouthCarolina, southernbelles, StandingInSolidarityWithStandingRock, swirl, TajMahal, Television, TheAvettBrothers, TheBanjoAmericasAfricanInstrument, Tsalagi, Twang, WeAreStillHere, westerns | Leave a comment
Beautiful poster art in my favorite color, by our brother-in-struggle Kyle Goen #kyledidthis
December 7, 2016 | Categories: Live, Red Road, Showout, Tourlife, Uncategorized | Tags: AbiodunOyewole, Activism, Art, Artists, ArtistsSpace, artivist, Black Snake Killas, BlackAtlantic, blackcontemporaryart, BlackHistory, BlackLivesMatter, BlackRockCoalition, CactusRose, CactusRoseBand, Country Music, CountryandWestern, CountryGirlsDoItBetter, DecolonizeThisPlace, DefendTheSacred, femalesingersongwriters, folk, FolkMusic, FolkRock, FreedomSongs, FreePalestine, grassrootsartists, Icons, IndependentArtists, IndianCountry, Indigenous, InMemoriam, IStandWithStandingRock, JeffMcLaughlin, Kandia Crazy Horse, Karline, KimberlyRobison, KyleGoen, MahinaMovement, Music, News, NoAIM, NoDAPL, outlaw country, Palestine, PeteSeeger, poetry, Protect The Sacred, Race, radicals, RadioFreeDixie, rap, RebelMusic, RebelMusicInTheHourOfChaos, RedRoad, RobFields, singersongwriter, SingOut, Sisterhood, Slavery, SlaveTrade, Solidarity, Songbird, Soul, South, Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, StandingRockSiouxTribe, TheFutureIsFemale, TheLastPoets, Water Is Life, WaterNotOil, WaterProtectors | Leave a comment
“Rebel Music In The Hour Of Chaos:” Music emanates directly from my indigenous soul. Therefore, it immediately made sense for me to perform my music again this year as a soundtrack to our overlapping struggles – including #NoDAPL. Sounds, including freedom songs past & present, most powerfully link us together & amplify what’s transpiring from the actions in the streets. I was born in the Season of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going’ On,” an album that dominated my childhood as the strivings for Total Revolution continued past the 1960s societal upheaval; and the inspiration to become an artist-activist sprang from that era. I remain under the influence of rebel music from many artists and cultures – Please join us on Monday 12 December @ Decolonize This Place. 55 Walker St, TriBeCa NYC (Doors 8pm). when we will perform some songs of protest & be in conversation about our activism with Brotha Rob Fields (Bold As Love / Black Rock Coalition) – A’ho! Cactus Rose ft. Special Guests: Abiodun Oyewole (The Last Poets) & Mahina Movement
This may be our final show of 2016, so we really appreciate you coming through & all of your support during the many Standing Rock resistance actions – Wopila tanka, y’all
( Afro-Native sisterhood from Virginia: Kimberly Robison/KAR & Kandia Crazy Horse of Cactus Rose, Native Americana / cosmic country band, @ Decolonize This Place in TriBeCa this past Sunday for Black Art & Activism Now, curated by Dr. Camara Holloway & Tavia Nyong’o (Yale University) )
( preliminary poster for REBEL MUSIC IN THE HOUR OF CHAOS by artist Kyle Goen (Decolonize This Place/MTO Collective) #KyleDidThis )
( Jeff McLaughlin, lead guitarist / vocals of Cactus Rose )
( Kandia Crazy Horse with Lorena, Vaimoana & Gabby of Mahina Movement @ Decolonize This Place NYC )
( Kandia Crazy Horse & Abiodun Oyewole of The Last Poets – Cactus Rose Instagram: @cactusroselovesyou )
December 7, 2016 | Categories: Live, Red Road, Showout, Tourlife, Uncategorized | Tags: 99MileMarch, AbiodunOyewole, Activism, Activist, AfroChesapeake, Afrohippies, AfroLatino, AfroNative, AfroPunk, AfroTexas, AltCountry, Americana, AmericanHistory, AmericanSlavery, Ameripolitan, AnneMarieForrester, Artists, BlackArtAndActivismNow, BlackArtsMovement, BlackAtlantic, blackcontemporaryart, BlackHillbilly, BlackHistory, BlackLivesMatter, BlackRockCoalition, BlackSnakeKillas, blackwomenartists, BoldAsLove, BrianJackson, CactusRose, CactusRoseBand, Country, Country Music, CountryandWestern, CountryGirls, CountryGirlsDoItBetter, countryrock, countrysinger, DecolonizeThisPlace, Dixie, femaleartists, femalesingersongwriters, folk, Folkie, FolkMusic, FolkRock, Folksingers, Georgia, GeorgiaPeach, GeorgiaRoots, GilScottHeron, grassrootsartists, Icons, IndependentArtists, Indigenous, IStandWithStandingRock, JeffMcLaughlin, Kandia Crazy Horse, KimberlyRobison, KyleGoen, Latina, Latinx, MniWiconi, ModernSoundsInCountryAndWesternMusic, Moon, Music, NativeAmerican, NativeAmericana, News, NoAIM, NoDAPL, NYC, NYC2StandingRock, NYStandsWithStandingRock, OccupyGuitarmy, OccupyMusic, outlaw country, PaulRobeson, PeteSeeger, poetry, PolynesianCulture, Prayer, ProtectTheSacred, ProtestMusic, PublicEnemy, radicals, RadioFreeDixie, rap, RebelMusic, RebelMusicInTheHourOfChaos, RobFields, SingOut, South, SplitRock, spokenword, TheFutureIsFemale, TheLastPoets, Virginia, Water Is Life, Water Is Life Solidarity Concert, WaterNotOil, WaterProtectors, WoodlandsIndians, WoodyGuthrie | Leave a comment
Some of the great photography that’s come in from Afro-Native artist & milliner from Texas, Kimberly Robison / KAR. I look forward to performing with her here in NYC next month, as well as being involved with various actions on behalf of Indian Country. When I did the same march up Wickquasgeck back in early August with Brooke & Luis of Eagle & Condor Community Center, there were only 10 of us. So it was heartfelt & illuminating that so many have come to stand in solidarity with Standing Rock in the time since – A’ho*
#mniwiconi #IStandWithStandingRock #NativeAmericanHeritageMonth
(With my fellow NYC artist Cheadah, upon our arrival @ 107th Street)
(In the sage smoke…)
(Kandia by Kimberly / KAR in my “Karen Dalton” hat)
November 10, 2016 | Categories: Showout, Uncategorized | Tags: Activism, Activist, Americana, Ancestors, Artists, Country, Kandia Crazy Horse, Karline, KimberlyRobison, Muses, Music, NativeAmerican, News, NYC, NYCPrayerMarchInSupportOfTheStandingRockSiouxNation, NYStandsWithStandingRock, Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, StandingInSolidarityWithStandingRock, StandingRockSiouxTribe, Texas, Virginia | Leave a comment