Monday, July 27, 2009

Reviewed: Forging a cultural reconnection with The Connection Vol.1

lit: PurpleZoe

Our kids are missing out on alot these days.
When wee-me was running around on little feet with an afro of curls glowing in the sun, good music was everywhere. You didn't have to dig in any crates for it. You could turn on the radio and hear it, step into just about any club to find a band delivering it, or enjoy it on wax. The world in many ways was a different place then, safer, softer, and though not without its problems (which have certainly led to the dilemmas we're contending with today) there was still a strong conscience present.
I'm of the thinkers who believe the decay we're seeing in society is directly related to the artless junk entertainment-fueled thoughts the masses have allowed or rather have had rammed into their minds from nearly all sides.

So when I recieved The Connection Vol. 1 for review, though there was some delay in my being able to deliver a worthy article during a time of transition and housemoving, I couldn't help but remember my childhood, and appreciate that there are plenty of 70's sun-kissed afrocrown bearing kids who remember life before corporate-agenda music took brainwashing to the next level. What R2 records has extended in 'The Connection Vol.1' is pretty much a masterpiece of yesterday and underground today coming together cross-culturally, superhero-like with etheric cape and a mission to help redirect the conceptual framework in the music currently offered up to the masses.

From the beginning of the cd nostalgia transported a good part of my consciousness to the local Jazz Fests of old, the fuzzy black faux-hair blanket my parents lugged around to every show or outing we attended, the igloo cooler full of ginger ale and fizzy lemon-lime mock drinks, as well as the 'single-serving' friends I'd run into from year to year by the swingset. I was taken back to the space in time where we'd take in elongated jazz symphonies (with occasional vocal offerings) long after the sun dipped below the horizon.

Perfect for dancing barefoot in the grass, The Connection Vol.1 's festive intro begins with Aiff's 'Let it roll'. Its communal spirit and feverish percussion demand movement, with a horn section adding a kind of regal vibration of welcome and importance. It registers as an ideal door into classical world music with lounge appeal, followed by downtempo psychedelia and mellow breakbeat fathered by dusty afrobeat tracks that display the deep funk spirit possibilities in the Afrobeat genre.

Sultry blends of Breakbeat, Dub, R&B elements and traditional sounds push forward on the cd, and create a perfect introduction to Worldmusic for youth whose brains have unfortunately been exposed to music lacking emotional and passionate investment for the most part.

Some tracks bring us closer to the Motherland through music and song theme.
Raw Artistic Soul feat. Wunmi does just this by lifting the tempo in honor of Oya, Yoruban Orisha (elemental power) of the sea. In its depths, salt, sand and the sway of colorful skirts await the mind's eye of the listener, while other tracks blend the best parts of the club scene, synthesizing world music into a more-hyper version of itself.
'Sound is everything' (Rich Medina Mix) changes the vibe a bit with a watery electronica that makes for a fun, sharply whispered adventurous and flirty track.

Natural rhythms and instrumentation find their place on the sonic journey as well.
The Daktari's track is a sinewy groove with self-assured horns, the tweak of the guitar and the smooth roll of the hand drum, with a fierce flute breaking in towards the middle of the track, while 'Revolution Poem' a synth-tinged Afrobeat gem with house elements and a fanning out of horns standing in for instrumental hooks, manages to be upbeat and lounge-worthy in the same spin. ' I want to dream about revolution. I want to live revolution,' calls the Motherland Diaspora to rise.

Experimentation on this album is fun, cross-cultural, surprising and of-a-sudden in its introduction.
Salsa Scratch, for example, true to its name is a scratch-heavy melding of Salsa, and Hiphop. Horns play a familiar melody accompanying the staccato scratch sequences, with tranquil hand-drumming adding a rooted element. Very energetic and celebratory, its experimental nature unites two closely rooted but distinct forms of expression enthusiastically.

Big Bang's slinky jazz-heavy excursion introduces scatting harmonies and blunt afrobeats framed with the lead singer's rouge-red press and curled vocals warning ' I'm back for you' in one breath, before beckoning 'Dance with me', in the next. A feverish flute fills the song's middle with a flurry of energy for twirling skirts.

Setenta's Funky Tumbaa's traditional latin rhythm changes, drum claps, and synthesized reinterpretation of masculine vocals meld into an interesting take on the immortal Michael Jackson's 'Don't stop' hook towards the song's end, while Quantic Soul Orchestra Feat Noelle Scaggs bring a feel reminiscent of the Big Fat Heavies with a softly sung percussion-dominant track touched with a bit of guitar twang in the acidic jazz mix.

The cd morphs from fast, to slow, to medium slow grooves throughout the cross-cultural excursion, blending genres deliciously. It's a disc you can put on mid-morning and still be enjoying well into the afternoon. Closing it out, memorable tracks like Tequila's Someone to Love open with wah-wah guitar strumming and wind instruments playing in the tradition of the 70's etheric haze with Tom Jones-like vocals. Latin rhythm infuses the song's mid-section which fades out with the wah-wah guitar that ushered it in.

Totin's 'Rumba Cultura' layered in tribal clacks, deeply hollow hand drums and the voices of male elders taking vocal reign in native tongue gives way to the final track 'Ya Nada Me Importa ' by Elenita Ruiz, which registers like the last dance of a music box ballerina, sweetly singing melancholy in latin tongue, amidst the high chiming of xylophones and subdued guitar strumming in the background. Somber in mood but sugared, its ethers close out The Connection Vol.1 with a bittersweet feeling of remembering and a faint but heart-fueled hope, that is completely fitting for most of the children who remember music, and still hold light in heart, however faint it may be, that our melancholy will be relieved and our children will know a world that abstains from bombarding it with frighteningly hollow interpretations of the soul's call to humanity through the arts.

Extremely well-done and recommended for any music collection.

Am I Not Human: The Lost Boys and Girls of Sudan Request Protection For Sudanese Civilians

The Lost boys and girls are children orphaned in the second Sudanese war that erupted between the North and South in '83. By '87 over 30,000 young children were forced from their homes in Southern Sudan during a viciously long civil war, as Northern forces destroyed their villages and murdered their parents.

A trek began for them that covered the area from the Southern Sudan to refugee camps in Ethiopia (and Kenya after the fall of the Ethiopian government). 11,000 survived the trek, with 5,000 registered now as refugees across the US.

Thanking President Obama for arranging an envoy to be present during the handing down of the Abyei Arbitration Tribunal in the Hague's ruling on the oil-related boundaries contested by North and South Sudan, and for renewing support of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, the National Network for the Lost Boys and Girls of Sudan sent a recent letter of appreciation. In this letter they were also clear in their request that a fully implemented CPA be ensured, so civilians would be protected.

For some time Darfurians, for instance have struggled with a smaller-number-than promised peacekeeping force, and obstacles to receiving proper Aid. It is certain that US promises must be kept, as all the delays that could be afforded have by now been exhausted.

It's clear there are many delicate layers to the conflicts in Sudan, with strong emphasis on Darfur, but it's important we keep ourselves informed as world citizens and lend our support by writing letters to the US government, blogging to raise awareness, supporting Aid organizations and the like. What is happening in the Sudan, most notably in Darfur in recent years, will not be forgotten, and promises made by our government need to be kept, just as the International Criminal Court needs to bring the persecutors of Darfurians to extreme justice.

You can take action for our siblings in the Sudan through the links below. Online it takes little time to make a difference.

On behalf of our siblings in the Sudan we ask:

You can take action here:
note: Please share any links to actions you know of that we can take to eradicate genocide at the root.

Call for divestment
(A major action that impacted the abolishing of Apartheid can be successful in stomping out genocide in Darfur and anywhere else it raises its head)

Lost Boys of Sudan- Take Action

10 ways to stop genocide in Darfur

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Votes for UU Nomination end at 11:59P this evening 7/25

If you haven't voted on a category yet but wish to, you can click the image to visit the UU nomination page at Black Weblog awards *_^

#ShineYourHeartlights Greenies.

Update 7/26:
Nomination phase has ended and first-run nominee pages have been removed.
Keep your eyes open for the chosen finalists entering the final phase beginning 8/1-8/31.

Winners will be announced on September 4 2009.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Vegan Pancakes From Scratch *_^

Shown above: A simple no-frills cruelty-free pancake. Add fruits as desired.

Master Chef Q, revealed his culinary glow in the kitchen in recent months, to an extremely impressed Umi (Moi). On some blessedly hazy Sunday mornings, a teenaged Q flexes his vegan culinary muscles and hooks up the house with Pancakes made from scratch. Q is an herbivore who hasn't gone all the way vegan (he really must have his cheese apparently), but graciously customizes his contributions to the house-eats to suit the diehard vegan representation present *_^ .

Enjoy a mind-bogglingly simple recipe for homemade pancakes, that are tastier, and even easier to prepare than the product sold in boxes in stores, that is passed off as convenient. Q is also the co-creator of 'Pan-panadas', empanada pastries made of filled pancakes.

Vegan pancakes are ridiculously easy to make, simpler to prepare than the one's that come in the box, and way yummier. GuruMasterChef Q. is a pancake flipping expert who discovered the beauty of both the flat pancake and the fruitfilled panpanada ( : a folded pancake w/ filling--- you can create panpandas with mushrooms and assorted greenery, onions and etc. or stick to fruit filling).

Ingredients are highlit in the directions below.

To make a small batch of vegan pancakes you will need to:

Mix 3-4 cups flour (your choice of wheat, rice or bean flour) with 1/4 cup agave or sugar, opt'l tsp of cornstarch, opt'l 1/2 tsp baking powder, opt'l tsp vanilla extract, opt'l diced fruit and enough water or rice milk (any vegan milk will work) to meet your desired consistency, usually 1 cup is adequate.

When well-mixed or blended, pour the batter into a well-oiled pan on medium-low heat and flip when the batter circle solidifies and its edges become golden. Continue on until batter is used. Usually makes about 2-3 decent size pancakes.

You can also make Johnny cakes by using less water/ veg milk and making a dough, rolling out the dough and using the mouth of a large cup to cut circles into the dough for the small cakes. Could be fun for creating easy pancake stacks.

You can use (opt'l but recommended) Earthbalance vegan butter to top the pancakes along with Pure maple syrup or topping of choice.

For panpanadas: fill the middle of a semi-cooked pancake with desired filling and fold the pancake into a half in pan, continuing to flip the halved pancake w/ filling carefully, until golden brown.

(Panpanadas (coined by Q.) are the lazy person's vegan empanada *_^
These can be filled with a number of ridonkulously good ingredients, and can even contain typical cheez calzone ingredients using Follow Your Heart Cheez- Monterey Jack flavor.
The Panpanada can be started in the pan, and finished in the oven's broiler (the area beneath the oven) if you like, or you can do it all on the burner.

Batter: Mix 4 to 5 cups of dough, with a dash of salt (or optional other seasonings), and water to desired consistency.

Set aside and carmelize sliced onions and mushrooms. Quickly sautee zuchinni or your preferred vegetable separately if you like with your chosen seasonings.

Grand nums and veddy easy.

#CountTheStars Greenies.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Capital HipHop Fest this Saturday

Teisha Marie, Substantial, and other shining indies that make up a long list of acts will feature this year at the much-needed 2nd annual Capital HipHop SoulFest on Saturday July 25.
If you're in the area or have the coinage to trek out by the Crystal River (Birthplace of Marvin Gaye) for a showcase of artists keeping music with soul, original style and conscience alive (amidst a sea of carbon copies in the mainstream), a rare culture-fix awaits.

Enjoy the musical splendor between the mainstage and famous Crystal Lounge from 11am to 7pm with your family. A schedule has been prepared here.

For more details visit the festival site and the home of the founders at Liberated Muse.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Haz Solo releases June Bug

If you haven't heard (CultureKing announced the release at the beginning of the month) Haz has :P released the mixtape microbloggers knew was coming and impatiently waited for. Click the image to download the love. Smooth nostalgic grooves flipped and tweaked into etheric interpretations of gentle winds and bright rays of solar splendor await. Sounds and feels like lazy Summer afternoons.

Enjoy samples at Moon Satellite's house

Friday, July 17, 2009

Liberator interviews Valerie Caesar

Valerie Caesar infuses life into the everyday, reveals the magik in self-love, and reminds our eyes of the enchantments overlooked in the kaliedoscope norms we take for granted. Danielle of Liberator conducted a meaningful email interview with her that struck our purple hearts. Def click the link to read the full interview at Liberator, and continue to #countthestars greenies.

LM: What sparked your interest in art? In photography and video specifically?
VC: I can't pinpoint the exact moment in time that I became interested in art. But I have always believed in and been intrigued by magic. All forms of art are an expression of magic; that nameless and invisible ether that flows in between and through everyone and everything, and that artists seek to bring out. Photography intrigues me because a photo is reality and fantasy simultaneously: everything included in the frame actually exists in the world, but the exclusion of the rest of the world creates a new world. It's an amazing and fulfilling revelation.

LM: Why did you name your portfolio site Black Seed Photography?

VC: Black is infinitely meaningful to me. It is the best absorber of light; the hue of melanin; the color of my true love's hair; black seeds have long been regarded as a cure all, and an amazing source of energy. The definition of a seed is “that from which anything springs.” My site is called black seed photography because each image represents the ever-realized potential of human experience: like a seed, we possess, inertly, all of the components necessary for life. And like life, the expression is varied, and infinite.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Star date: 7102009

So we're in the new spot ... and apparently we've moved out of one house of ignorance to another. It was well-hidden when we looked at the apartment and even while we moved our items in ...Seems obviously karmic [Something to learn and overcome here for certain]. I'm not a fan of this pattern, but I am determined to an off-the-charts-degree to overcome it, God-willing.

The upside is the landlord doesn't play the nonsense emerging from the "neighbors", so *fingers-crossed*. We are looking to leave the area though next July or August for reals. Enough is truly enough. If a sistah has to rent a house next, it may be the move. Who knows maybe I'll buy a fixer-upper in a peaceful area.

In good news ^_^ The library is 5 minutes away. Close enough to fulfill the book jones so I can focus the coinage on a mammoth savings meant for truly greener pastures. I'm also courting the idea of volunteering some time to put together some kind of program at the library. The Ymca is money-hungry like hell out here and the kids need options, as many parents are barely putting food on the table with current conditions.

Also good news, more Modern Mythos is en route. Details forthcoming with a possible contest for the greenies.

Posting may be a tad sporadic as I play catch up [we didn't have the internet for a minute there during the move and the email box was nightmarish to wade through *_^, etc...).

The next issue of Purple Mag is all about Dream Definition [our dreams define who we are, and how we commune]. Define your dreams in exalted symbolisms and send them our way [Submission guidelines link via the post @

High plans are in the works for the next issue. Shiny shiny plans. Modern Mythos for the underrepresented as always is especially desired for Purple issues. We thank you for the light you shine in the community.

Until next time.

#CountTheStars Meta[mind]s *_*

P.s. Apparently Twitter has restored my ability to be seen in search, along with other #tooblack microbloggers. Some say it's a glitch, others point to Twitter reserving the right to block a user without explanation [classy]. Only God and Twitter know for sure. Whatever it is, Twitter has left a permanent bad taste in my mouth and I won't use them directly for microblogging/texting any longer.
You can find me at Friendfeed or read my Friendfeed texts that auto-post onto twitter [only because I've made connections w/ people I cherish who haven't converted from Twitter to a superior microblogging platform yet *_^].

Friday, July 3, 2009

Is it possible to be commercial and indie? [Yes.]

Old audio cassette

The answer to that question is dependent upon how you define 'Indie'. It's a matter that has the makings
of a heated debate in certain circles, but two of the main definitions can be agreed upon (if begrudgingly)
by those wishing to ensure the honoring of a correct Indie definition. They are:

Indie: (Indy) 1: independently created. DIY.
Indie: (Indy) 2: independently-minded creation.

By both of the definitions, it's certainly possible to be a commercial success with the right branding,
enthusiasm, and of course... patience. We can't expect that commercial success equates to sacrificing one's vision.
Everyone has to eat in this particular realm. Business isn't necessarily evil. Whether your indie venture is run
with the right mentality at its root or not is easily revealed by asking yourself why you're doing it and to what
end? 'Selling out' is only shameful when indie artists/merchants sacrifice their vision for popularity
and perceived wealth.

When did selling one's vision/soul become a pitfall to avoid? It always has been in societies
where wealth, and status lorded over others by insecure people posing as the elite has been a concern,
but the focus on maintaining one's artistic integrity became especially important in the 20th century
when payola radio and other cheating systems of business threatened to compromise the arts and the message
that came from our most profound minds.
The problem in reality is fairly grave, especially because the corruption in the system went one further and branded
'selling-out [one's soul/vision for wealth/fame/etc]' pridefully; placing garlands around the heads of artists willing
to create a false culture of lower-to-middleclass-
pretending-to-be-upper-class fantasy role-players that managed for
a time (until it could maintain the charade no more) to fool listeners into buying records, films, merch, and junk lit pushing
the same ideals. How did they do it? With the mass' collective help no doubt, but there's a reason some of our number
helped the machine shut-out worthy culture and replace it with the equivalent of sonic/artistic astro-turf.

A number of us simply didn't know better. Didn't know about indie radio, indie magazines or the indiestream in general.

The Indie Machine wasn't loud enough or technologically powerful enough to easily reach large numbers of people
before the end of the 20th century. In a way that seems fated, that has changed however, and while there is room
to celebrate the instant-access nature of the internet's natural indie focus for purveyors of purely-rooted artistry,
creation, design and etc, many have no idea how to go about becoming successful commercially with even the internet as a tool,
and quit after taking one or two steps. Others are afraid to 'become the problem' and do very little to brand themselves,
hoping for grassroots magik that will effortlessly lead people to them, even without them doing shows
or sending out product samples.
There's been a seriously pervasive lack of know-how interfering with our ability to get good indie offerings
out to the masses, and a question many indies struggle with regarding artistic/indie integrity. It's a problem
that may take some time to solve, but it shouldn't take too much time. Already the desire of the people en large
to enjoy original, unique [non-formulaic] artists has caught the attention of The Machine's main rig operators,
and they've begun to collect authentic 'hipsters', while also packaging more controllable hipster clones
[because even after the basic collapse of the record business they haven't truly learned].
If we're not careful, we could miss a serious opportunity to create an Indiestream that isn't compromised
by financiers with agendas far removed from cultural-empowerment, and frighteningly close to cultural sabotage.
The Indie movement has a real opportunity to come together and create buzz that is paid for with talent and effort,
rather than fluffed-up formulaic illusions.

All it will take is making friends with the notion that business can be ethical. Indie artists should respect the time
of those who support them. Respect the interviewers who express interest. Return calls and emails within
7-14 business days at least. Put a notice up at the project site if there won't be customer service available
for a designated amount of time. Avoid arrogance, temper tantrums when reviewers can't accomodate a project soon enough
(the best move is to send samples out 4 months in advance of release like the pros to give time for review), and strive for respect
and punctual service. The ones a person burns are usually the ones they end up needing the most in the end.
Branding can be done very effectively by a small, even one-person team, but it takes heartlight to fuel it. An
indie has to love what they're doing, respect their audience/market enough to be sure the service (and customer service)
is reasonable for their customer base, and they have to be willing to work. Without a team of illusion-makers rallying around
an artist on the machine's very shiny dime, creative consciousness is not only imperative, but truly becomes its
own reward and route to freedom. The excitement of an indie's vision should be apparent in the logo, and in the smile
of the representative or artist. An indie should be excited about what they're doing/saying. If they love it, the love will
be infectious and catch on in their audience.

And really, without enthusiasm and heart-felt motivation why would an indie bother to extend an offering?
It's all in the motivation.

Biline: PurpleZoe a.k.a Dazjae Zoem is a Blackbean burger flipping (Herbivore), Motherland Faery whispering cheerleader

for the indie movement and underpresented culture in general. Her writings can typically be found via


Note: This piece was previously published here in a form slightly different than the original version posted in today's entry.

In other news of the independently-minded variation: #freemumia
Today is the day his freedoms were stolen.

Monthly Mass Meditation

Happy July good people *_^

Join us today in envisioning a world where everyone's basic needs are met, and safety is assured. Chant, visualize, meditate, dance, and/or pray to raise positive energy for the planet. Do what works best for you.

15 minutes or more of your time can change the world. Details are here.

Monthly affirmation: I embrace and accept my strength as evidence of respect for my true voice.

Monthly totems: Bear (Awaken the power of the conscious and subconscious)

and Jade (Reduce your negative thought, increase tolerance of others, and receive love).

Factoid: Today is PZ's bornday *_^