Friday, January 30, 2004

Just in from the front lines: The Weapons of Mass inFUNKtion will INDEED get found out. At Club Groove on February 28,2004. Yes, The Wright Bros. Band is resurfacing after a 6 month hibernation. We're down to do at least a coupla tunes featuring yours truly on vocals and quite possibly some valve trombone. Stay "tuned" and you will "C" the power the weapons can produce.


Monday, January 26, 2004

Word Up My Lovelies

So last Wednesday I was privileged to bring my students along with two other teachers and their classes to the Simon Wiesenthal New York Tolerance Center to pilot their education program. The museum is not yet open to the public so it was a privilege indeed. Additionally, we got to hear a very special speaker, Clarence Jones, who was Dr. King’s speech writer. He was charming, insightful and loves football…oh yeah! I was moved by his insistence that we as young people not embrace apathy, fear and silence as ways of dealing with the world around us (unlike some of our leaders). “We cannot be neutral or silent in the face of evil” he said. It was the greatest lesson he learned from Martin. I was baffled by my student’s responses to his presentation. Floored, really. One of them responded to a comment by saying “wasn’t that the year of the church bombing that killed the 4 girls?” another, “last year, didn’t they convict for that crime?” another, “when you met Dr. King, did you know he was going to change the world?” Whoah. So they’re listening after all. We will combat the monsters on Maple Street yet.

Saturday, January 17, 2004

Recommendations from AK-47 (the LoveGun)

CD: R&B/Soul- The Ultimate Luther Vandross or
-The Essential Luther Vandross (2 disc set)
What possible explanation would I need for this recommendation!

CD: Jazz-Sanctified Shells - Steve Turre
- One 4J-Steve Turre
I promised you trombonings and here they are. I've especially been digging on Sanctified Shells. This dude gets several trombone players together and they play actual shells...and stunningly. Beautiful chords and overtones, you've got to hear it to believe it. The other is a tribute to the late great J.J. Johnson. And not knowing him is like not knowing Miles Davis. Get to know him.

DVD: Music- Bjork: Inside Bjork. This folks, is the dopeness. The perfect vision of how to appreciate the depth of an artist. Anyone who wants to create something meaning-full should get this DVD and witness this woman's process. She is the best example of the integration of creativity and intelligence I've seen lately, and she must be nearly as crazy as I am.

DVD: Music-Standing in the Shadows of Motown. Great performances, and informative. Everyday I change who my favorite musician is. Today it's Jack Ashford, the tambourine man. Listen to the tambourine on "Ain't to Proud to Beg" He makes those of us that picked up tuba as children wish that we had figured out that not only should we have realized that the tambourine was lighter, it was doper and you could still march in the back with the cute boys!

DVD: Drama- Ghost Dog. The RZA's music is the dopeness. P.S. He also appears on inside Bjork, and is unexpectedly profound. Like, he dropped some RayDM type literary profundity on Bjork's whole vibe. I'm sorry, am I talking about Bjork again? Check out Ghost Dog and no it's not a Samurai thrilla and if that's what you were expecting and you got dissapointed, tough for you!

DVD: Television- The Twilight Zone Collection 1. yes, yeS, yES, YES! The Monsters ARE due on Maple Street. This is hours of freaky fun. Rod Serling had amazing vision and all of these are frighteningly appropos.

BOOKS: I am currently reading "The Chosen" by Chaim Potok, "The War of the Worlds" by H.G. Wells and "Black Wings and Blind Angels" Poems by
Sapphire. I think the thread that is connecting them all to each other is the question: How do I deal with you if you hurt me? And better still, how do I deal with me?

BLOG ON (clap clap)
BLOG OFF (clap clap)

So I waited until I actually felt it to say it. and I do. I think there's a lot in store for 2G's 'n 4. I spent New Years Eve in silence. Reading, praying, meditating, I may have sung a thing or two, but I was in my house in Connecticut, alone and grateful. Felt no compulsion whatsoever to be doing the loud things. I've decided I'm going to spend more time listening for the voice that speaks inside of me. I am turning inward for joy this year. Going into the bedroom of my heart's house and finding rest there. And not just any rest, a mighty rest. The kind that has joy as it's chief ingredient. Not a one sided happiness or even a raised contentment, but joy. The stuff that can embrace sadness and gratefulness simultaneously. One can dig deeply into pain and find that joy. It's the stuff of the divine. It's what I hear when Morgan Freeman's character says at the end of Seven "The earth is a beautiful place and worth dying for. I agree with the second part."

African-Colored-Negro-Black-AfricanAmerican-let's pick out the same five points from History-month is fast approaching as it always does just after Dr. King's birthday. I, like many others, I suspect, have mixed emotions about this minstrelized ritual. I spend the month in celebration of the many opportunities to raise issues that may otherwise fall on deaf ears, but I'm enraged that it takes the opening of a metaphorical door, like the fiction that this month is somehow different, to allow this. Furthermore, I end up hating March1st because like clockwork, all the black choir infested Mickey D's commercials are gone and so are the specials about blues musicians. Well yes, you could argue that I have March Madness and there are a lot of African-Colored-Negro-Black-AfricanAmerican gentlemen and ladies who play basketball, and even a few coaches, but come March, no more Malcolm X on network television or Toni Morrison on CBS Sunday Morning. If I'm lucky I may catch the Leadbelly movie with Roger Mosely directed by Gordon Parks, but if I miss it, I'll have to wait another year, since of course I can't find it on DVD anywhere. Nor can I find another copy of the River Niger, seeing that the one I have is "start'nta ack funny" (I admit, I watch it a little too often...) I suffer from major withdrawal. And when the children say things like, "wasn't Martin Luther King the one who rode on the bus" I'm afraid I won't make it to the end of the school year. But as Sweet Honey in the Rock so eloquently put it, "B'lieve I'll run on...see what the end's gonna be..." But wait, who else has got months? The last time I checked, my Latino and Asian brethren each had a week. Have you been upgraded or rather supersized yet? OK so sattirical comedy is one way to embrace these questions. Maybe I'll pull a Bermeo and figure out some survey questions, not only for this Blog. In fact, I was expressing my frustration to my boss and I recommended that we have a question of the week that touches on these issues, so that we can discuss them in our schoolwide meetings. Help me out folks. Email me some thoughtful questions for discussion on anything race related, related to the propoganda borg that is the media, related to the fact that UCONN is going all the way (yo, my cousin is on the team, can you believe that? Ghana repreSENT!) just a few questions that will help us all filter through the social messages of this culture. (For this only) hit me at:

A poem for my colored brethren. I'm still working on it.

your birthplace
was love spoken volcanic
your birthwaters
tears that ran hot lavaheart
until skin broke
scars and cracks writhing.
Held up to light
you appeared written
as veins on a rose

You are the nakedspeak
the clay vessel sold for blood on fields
until Jembe and Gonkogwi
Dondo and Talking Drum
Steel National and Drum Beat
Hand Clap and Funk Bass
spoke you back together beat by beat

Still they hunt you
watch each careful move you make
peephole to find your welding in the dark
earscratch their way against the walls of your clay skin
if they cannot break they will reach inside to take
compose blues by pulling Rodney out of truck for percussion
or 41 rimshots on a Diallo snare

Lick the wounds they
leave on you with
sworded tongue
Speak trustwords with
the same mouth
Their definitions must not cling even though their arrows sting
like children you must eat pleasure
from the swirled fingers of God’s hands
singscream soul robberies
Sing sun rapture and bloody wounds
sing soul capture and muddy blues
between these symphonies
let the sound strip your hands clean
let the light cut your mouth raw
and when the song begins again
let the language that wraps your tongue
unravel toward heaven
You are more tomorrow than yesterday
more light than darkness
more angel than ever.

Peace Y'all.
Abena Appiah-Kubi Koomson