note: Pardon my delay sharing some of our experience at this year's UrbAlt. The past month and change has been a whirlwind. A delightful one, but a whirlwind nonetheless. The pc containing the UrbAlt data crashed so our pics are limited to what we've uploaded at Afropunk, but we may be able to offer some of our UrbAlt captured video from a few message attachments we sent through email.
The trip to UrbAlt was surprisingly painless, and the music line-up only served to deepen our appreciation for the first day of summer and all of the splendor it revealed. What Boston of Muthawit and Sheena of Tenderhead have put together with the Urb Alt festival is nothing short of genius. Urb Alt is aiding our survival as a people who in truth, defy the very definition of stereotypes, with the variety and depth of originality in our artistic expression and beingness.
UrbAlt's 08 roster kicked off with Kendal who I hadn't previously heard of. It's a shame Kendal's name hasn't become underground household knowledge by now, but I'm sure that will change. He's soul alternative with a grit and realism to his melody that makes his acoustic prowess extremely memorable. His music lingers in the mind and heart long after its been played with a welcomed haunting, like black and white photos found in the attic foraging of golden eras.
Songs like 'I saw Simone' are born classics.
Kendal's mindgarden is formidable. He was the perfect opening for a festival with the depth of meaning and force that Urb Alt possesses. Later, when Kendal was walking around the festival ground, I had to let him know he was incredible. He's a down to earth delight of an artist.
After Kendal exited the stage with the wealth of music overriding the beating we took from the heat on the first day of summer (that made trips to the water fountain located in the park directly next to Harlem Stage, essential), we met Miss Amanda Ray.
The sensational Amanda Ray who kicks a-- even on acapella joints, took the stage and stunned us with music that comes from a very special planet, where
fly b-girls sing punk rock laced with electronica. She was gracious enough to extend a cd to us for our perusal. Most definitely check her.
Melvin Gibbs delighted us with bass-laden instrumentals, a reading from Sun-Ra (who this year's festival was dedicate to), and an experimental homage to the Motherland.
Freedom Rockstar graced the stage in her cheeky prom dress, with a ferocious guitar hand.
Afro futurist, Micah Gaugh shared his wonderfully fluid electronic sound, and a fly presence. We truly enjoyed his short performance.
Devi brought a spirit of old school rock to the building that caused enthusiastic members of the audience to rise from their seats and dance. They also spoke about the transcendental spirit that Sun Ra possessed.
DejaPres kicked arse for reals
(their song 'Grandeur' is tragically beauteous) .
Tenderhead, a spitfire of great proportions was a fantastic force for Urb Alt this year, bringing the organic flavor of alternative rock that is uniquely hers to a thirsty audience.
Waberi Jordan, accompanied by the Muthawit band, brought spiritual wisdom to us by reminding us that we are vessels for Divine energy. The message was timely and necessary, much like her rendition of Strangefruit that allowed us to witness some of the box-breaking spirit in BostonFielder of Muthawit.
Millsted (I tell you: See them live. Nothing like it) slammed the stage with an intense ambrosia of Alternative Rock's polygamous marriage to Nu metal and Punk. Their majesty called for much head banging and thrashing. I will never forget what they feel like live. Ever.
And Muthawit, though we caught them during Waberi's performance, were an act we missed as we left to make the train on time to return home. We know we missed out on the Grand Finale, and are committed to planning better for the next event.
We would attend this festival again in a heartbeat.
Thankyou UrbAlt for giving a very non-stereotypical people, a venue, and a flexibly fitting category. You can see a small scattering of pics at my Afropunk page.
Peep the Bold as Love Interview W/ UrbAlt:
URB Alt 2008: Interview with co-producers Boston Fielder and Shena Verrett from Rob Fields on Vimeo.
UrbAlt is an annual excursion... scratch that, rite of passage for the UrbAlters and Afropunks who don't see their mold on the MSM, and won't assume the identities crafted for underrepresented cultures and sold to them by way of commercialized imitators who call themselves artists and hypnotize their masses of listeners into thinking underrepresented cultures are composed of nothing more than mainstream-branded thugs, whores, and hustlers...
We are so much more than carbon copies of actors who accept pay from record company owners of over-represented cultures, then put on bullet proof vests in videos and convince our youth that they should aspire to be criminals and flunkies in fishnets.
Any disbelievers of that can look to the Mainstream that jacked its culture and wealth from the origins of the Motherland for repackaging, and they too will see. There's an infinite dept of Moor *_^ coming from the underrepresented.
Look for more on UrbAlt and Boston Fielder in particular in Purple's Fall/Winter issue.