Sounds of a quiet night. A rich voice, facing life’s tests, calling on grandpa and grandma for strength.
she channels the earth
her skin petrified wood
born into a marbled texture of sound and dust
her hair the parched twine of a tumbleweed
spread across the floor, picked up and reassembled
like a wispy broom lying in front of a clay Berber house
and as her song comes forth she channels the spirits of old desert women
teeth clenched against the bitter residue of a headscarf
taut against a wide solid head
her back twisted, aching
spinal vertebrae atrophying
in a sudden sclerosis of history
the nameless women who have walked the streets of
Tamerza, Tozeur, Medenine
dipped in music, encased in light
and placed on an airy mantle in Carthage
I want to slowly drift into a Bossa Nova wonderland
Suspended by soft whispy clouds and propped up by the playful tune of fingers hitting black and white piano keys
A soothing male voice sings, exuding the energetic warmth of a grocer drifting into his seat
Thinking about the day with caipirinha in hand, occupying the space between work and the comfort of home
The smell of pastries and a light meal streaming steadily into my room
Surrounded by ivory-colored soft leather couches and the cool mist of a late spring evening floating onto my skin
– Listening to Vinicius’ Carta Ao Tom 74
On Tuesday I had an inspirational call with Derrick Ashong (aka DNA), a West-African born musician, social entrepreneur, and host of The Derrick Ashong Experience on Oprah Radio.
Derrick inspires me for two reasons: First: he has guts. With the prospect of a lucrative career on Wall Street, Derrick (at the time a senior at Harvard) had the courage to strike a risky path for himself and co-founded Soulfège, a West African band with beats as catchy as their message is positive. Second: he pays the rent. Through speeches, performances, consulting gigs, and his radio show, he has designed a career that enables him to express himself artistically yet also supports him financially.
Derrick had the following words of wisdom regarding my storytelling project:
– On growing my network: It’s not about who you know, it’s about who knows what you know. Tell people what I’m working on.
– On finding a mentor: A mentor will want to work with me because they care about me deeply, or they respect my work. The most efficient way for me to find a mentor is to go out to venues and perform (a.k.a Just Do It).
– On the art scene in LA: Some of the most talented folks in LA’s art scene are artists who most people have never heard of. Seek them out.
– On where to perform: Start with Zanzibar in Santa Monica.
I’m excited to track Derrick’s pragmatic approach to building a career of self-expression, and I hope that I can channel his courage and discipline as I build my own.
Just spent the better part of a weekend laying down some beats and vocals on my shining star: a James Brown inspired parody of news coverage of the US healthcare debate. (yes, it’s meant to be funny). Made entirely in Garageband on my Mac. Turn your speakers up!