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Malcolm X Home Firebombed On This Day 50 Years Ago

Posted by Billyjam, February 14, 2015 07:21pm | Post a Comment

In the early morning hours of this date fifty years ago -  February 14, 1965 -  Malcolm X's New York home was firebombed with him, his pregnant wife, and four young daughters in the home at the time. The African American civil rights leader and his family managed to get out of the building safely. And later that same day he would travel to Detroit to make a speech in which he would address the house bombing "by the black Muslim movement upon the orders of Elijah Muhammad" according to Malcolm X (see video of speech below). However exactly a week later, after his return to New York, on February 21st, 1965 he would be assassinated at the age of 40.

  

Weekly Hip-Hop Rap-Up: Joey Bada$$, Zion I, 88 Ultra, Freez & Mike Fry, Doomtree, E-Lit

Posted by Billyjam, February 13, 2015 10:01am | Post a Comment
Amoeba Berkeley Hip-Hop Top Five Week Ending Feb 13 2015


1) Joey Bada$$ B4.DA.$$ LP (Cinematic Music)

2) Wiley Life Is A Game of Snakes & Ladders (Big Dada)

3) 88 Ultra Sirens (Ultra Glacial Recordings)

4) Freez & Mike Fry Freez's Frozen French Freys (Soul Tools)

5) Doomtree All Hands (Doomtree)

Thanks to E-Lit at the Berkeley Amoeba Music store for the latest Top Five Hip-Hop chart above. Below is the accompanying video clip shot this week at the East Bay store with E-Lit running down all these and other new/recent (and reissue) hip-hop releases in both LP and CD formats that are featured at Amoeba Berkeley right when you come in the front door of the Telegraph Ave store on your right hand side. Also down below is the brand new music video from Zion I ("Juggernaut") that was filmed mostly right outside Amoeba Berkeley as well as across the street and round the back (Peoples Park) from Amoeba among some other quick shot locations.

The Bed-Stuy Brooklyn NYC artist born Jo-Vaughn Virginie Scott but widely known as main man of Pro Era, Joey Bada$$, as well as Malia Obama's favorite rapper, continues to sell well at Amoeba with the vinyl version of his official debut (commercial release) new album B4.DA.$$ (Cinematic Music) outselling the CD version of B4.DA.$$. And this week the artist released a new music video for "Like Me" featuring BJ the Chicago Kid that (with the refrain "fuck the police") addresses police brutality and the Black Lives Matter movement (see the music video clip down below). Other new chart entries this week include UK hip-hop/grime artist Wiley's Life Is A Game of Snakes & Ladders (that is also available in LP/vinyl format as well as digital download - all care of Big Dada. The others include Doomtree's December 2014 release All Hands (Doomtree) that is also available in vinyl format, 88 Ultra Sirens (Ultra Glacial Recordings), and Freez & Mike Fry's Freez's Frozen French Freys (Soul Tools). For more background on these two releases peep the E-Lit video shot at Amoeba Music this week in which he gives some background on these acts/releases.

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Senegalese Hip-Hop Artist Sister Fa Dedicates Her Life To Activism & The Fight Against Female Genital Cutting

Posted by Billyjam, February 12, 2015 03:28pm | Post a Comment

Harking back to hip-hop's once prevalent era of political/conscious rap - a time hip-hop and activism went hand in hand - is Senegalese rapper, singer, and activist Sister Fa who in 2005 won the first ever Senegalese Hip-Hop award and who uses her music as a tool to spread her message. {Note many US music fans first heard her work in the recent Rough Guide To Senegal compilation}  A childhood victim of the cultural practice of female genital cutting (FGC) she set up the grassroots campaign Education Sans Excision that's fighting to get communities move away from female genital cutting - that takes place in parts of Africa and elsewhere in which girls’ external genitals are removed either completely or partially. She also uses her hip-hop music to spread the good word. So engaging was Sister Fa's story that others took notice including some indie filmmakers she crossed paths with. The result was the activist artist became the subject of the critically acclaimed 201 documentary Sarabah that was made by Maria Luisa Gambale, Steve Lawrence and Gloria Bremer, produced by Link TV and Yerosha Productions. Filmmaker Maria Luisa Gambale recalled the chance meeting with Sister Fa - now six years ago - that would blossom into an ongoing collaborative work in fighting for human rights through music and film. "Steve [Lawrence] and I met her in the Fall of 2009 at the United Nations," she said adding that, "The second we met her we knew it was a big project."  Now four years old the film is still in demand and both its makers and subject are still touring with a US screening of the documentary taking place last Friday in New York City for the United Nation's International Day against genital cutting. Last week's screening, which took place at the Tribeca Screening Room, was hosted by the NGO Orchid Project. Earlier that same day I caught up via telephone with the artist to talk about the film, her hip-hop, and her activist work.


Sarabah trailer
 
"We show the movie in places and are keeping the project going showing it in different communities in Guinea, Gambia, and Senegal. We usually show the movie and show artists how they can be using their art to promote human rights and I can see that the impact [of the film] is still going on and I can see that it is really positive," said the Senegal artist/activist born Fatou Diatta noting how the documentary has become a very central part of her activist work over the past few years. As for why the practice of female genital cutting (FGC) even exists she replied,  "Each community will tell you different reasons" - from religious to cultural and that it is so ingrained in communities that it is" referring to FGC as, "like a social norm. It is like they are cutting hair." The stigma attached to communities where cutting is practiced runs deep, she said. "If I am living in that community then  my child has to be cut. If she is not she will be outcast. No one will like her. She will be treated worse than as an animal in her own community because they will say that she is 'dirty' and that she is 'impure' and she will bring bad luck to the family of the man who will marry her."

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40th Anniversay ("La Grande Edition") of Jethro Tull's 1975 Album "Minstrel in the Gallery"

Posted by Billyjam, February 11, 2015 06:47am | Post a Comment
Fans of eclectic British rock band Jethro Tull will be pleased to know that the group's classic 1975 album Minstrel In The Gallery will be soon reissued this year (its 40th anniversary) by Parlophone as a limited edition 2CD/2DVD set with lots of additional rare and unreleased material that will include new mixes by Steven Wilson plus some rare 1975 live video footage. Note that the album was reissued back in 2002 with five bonus tracks that are all included here - but with even additional newly uncovered material and all (evidently) in improved audio quality.  Originally released in September 1975 - when the folk/rock, jazz, and blues fused unqiue Jethro Tull's lineup was still main man Ian Anderson, along with Martin Barre, John Evan, Barrie Barlow and Jeffrey Hammond - Minstrel In The Gallery was the group's, who first formed in 1967, eight studio album. Minstrel, which production wise was similar to their popular '72 album Thick As a Brick,  would earn Tull their sixth gold record.

For the reissue of Minstrel In The Gallery (to be subtitled 40th Anniversary La Grande Edition) Parlaphone are going all out and offering both CD and vinyl (180-gram vinyl as a limited edition pressing) sets with a multitude of highlights. Packaged in a case-bound DVD book will be an 80-page Tull/Minstrel booklet featuring an extensive history of the album, track-by-track annotations by Ian Anderson, as well as behind the scenes recollections by various others, plus lyrics, tour itinerary, and rare tour and studio photographs. Then in addition to the original seven track album will be seven bonus tracks (six previously unreleased), two mixed to 5.1 surround, and all to stereo by Steven Wilson, flat transfers of the original LP mix at 96/24 as well as flat transfer of the original quad mix of the LP. "Summerday Sands" (the B-side to the title track single from '75 that was also included in the aforementioned 2002 reissue of the album) is also included here, along with several studio outtakes and an alternate session material done for a BBC broadcast. The DVD, which will be presented in DTS & DD 5.1 surround mixes, will include an eight-minute film of the band performing "Minstrel In The Gallery" at the Olympia in Paris on July 5th 1975. The latest Tull album to get the 40th anniversary reissue treatment by Parlaphone in recent years, the Minstrel 40th anniversary reissue will be arrive in Amoeba in early May 2015. Below is the actual tracklisting of the forthcoming release.

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Bridging The Gap Between Artist And Consumer of Art

Posted by Billyjam, February 7, 2015 01:56pm | Post a Comment

Proof that the SF IndieFest, (aka San Francisco Independent Film Festival) that steadfastly began seventeen years ago as a small but focused alternative  film festival with a mission statement of presenting "strong, innovative, challenging yet entertaining cinema," has steadily grown and blossomed into a full-scale, internationally recognized and locally beloved annual cinema event was evident on Thursday evening's packed opening event in San Francisco's Mission District. There at the Brava Theatre on 24th (beautiful theater space that was formerly home to the York Theater) the full house clearly enjoyed the entire evening including screening of the fun David Cross written and directed feature film Hits (followed by his meet and greet) and the concert that followed with musical performances including from Leonard Cohen acapella tribute ensemble Conspiracy Of Beards (pictured above). The David Cross film is just one of 40+ diverse engaging films that will play at SF IndieFest between now and the festival's closing on February 19th when screenings will take place at Brava, the Roxie on 16th, and Humanist Hall across the Bay in Oakland.

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