Amoeblog

BILLY JAM'S HIP-HOP ROUND UP OF THE WEEK: EMMANUEL JAL +

Posted by Billyjam, May 2, 2008 07:20am | Post a Comment

Not since M.I.A., with her well-publicized turbulent political past, has an artist with such an extraordinary life-story arrived on the scene as Sudanese child soldier turned-rapper Emmanuel Jal.

The musician/songwriter/rapper whose autobiographical album Warchild will be released on May 13th was a featured guest at the premiere of the Tribeca Film Festival in New York earlier this week where the documentary about him, the Karim Chrobog directed War Child, made its American premiere. (It had its world premiere earlier this year at the Berlin Film Festival.) The film outlines the tough life of this 28 year old musician who was a soldier in the Sudanese People's Liberatin Army when he was only eight years of age.  Jal's autobiography will be published by St. Martin's Press later this year.

His story is truly an amazing one.  But what about the music, you ask?  Well, unlike M.I.A., whose music was even more exciting than the publicity package that preceded her, Emmanuel Jal's new album "Warchild," which was recorded in London in 2006 and 2007, is kinda disappointing -- to these ears anyway, after one full listen. Maybe the hype had me expecting too much.   Sung/rapped mostly in English and veering between reggae and rap, Emmanuel Jal sounds too often like he is trying too hard to emulate popular American rappers and it just ain't working. Hence, he is at his best on the tracks where he isn't trying to streamline his sound for US or British audiences.

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The Latest News from the Wild Kingdom

Posted by Whitmore, May 1, 2008 08:41pm | Post a Comment


I seem to be writing animal obits on a regular basis, I have no idea why, but here is the latest news from the wild kingdom: Japan's oldest Giant Panda, Ling Ling, a favorite at Tokyo's Ueno Zoo, died last week. Ling Ling was 22 years and seven months old, the equivalent to about 70 in human years. According to the autopsy, he died of heart failure. He began losing his appetite and strength last August, but recent heart and kidney problems began to take their toll. Ling Ling died just one day after the zoo withdrew him from public view for veterinary treatment. He was the fifth-oldest known male panda in the world.

Born at China's Beijing Zoo in September, 1985, Ling Ling came to Tokyo in 1992 initially for breeding purposes. Since then he had become one of the most popular attractions at the Ueno Zoo. He was also the only Giant Panda at Tokyo’s largest zoo. In recent years Ling Ling traveled to Mexico three times in an effort to mate, but each attempt, like the attempts in Japan, were unsuccessful.

Over the last week Ling Ling's portrait has been displayed in his cage as visitors come to mourn, leaving bouquets, condolences and offerings of bamboo shoots. Giant pandas are one of the rarest and most endangered species on the planet. Only about 1,600 live in the wild in China, mostly on nature reserves in their native mountains and bamboo forests of the Sichuan and Shaanxi provinces.

Hollywood May Day Celebration

Posted by phil blankenship, May 1, 2008 04:51pm | Post a Comment

May 1st

Posted by Eric Brightwell, May 1, 2008 04:10pm | Post a Comment
There are a lot of holidays today, chief among them, May Day.



Also...
  • Ascension - Catholicism
  • Beltane - Celts/Gaels
  • Constitution Day - Latvia & the Marshall Islands
  • Feast of Saint Joseph the Worker
  • Festival of Bona Dea - Rome
  • Kazakh Peoples' Unity Day - Kazakhstan
  • Labor Day AKA Labour Day AKA Workers' Day - Worldwide
  • Law Day - USA
  • Lei Day - Hawaii
  • Loyalty Day - USA
  • Maharashtra Day (Maharashtra Divas) - Maharastra, India
  • National Day of Prayer - USA
  • National Love Day - Czech Republic
  • Save the Rhino Day - USA
  • Taco Truck Night - Los Angeles
  • Virgen de Chapi - Peru


May Day celebrations are rooted in the ancient Celtic/Gaelic practice of Beltane and the Anglo-Saxon/Germanic observances of Walpurgisnacht.  These include crowing the Queen of the May, Morris Dancing, the giving of May Baskets, getting drunk, and the erection of a Maypole.

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Madonna Fans And Haters Agree To Argue Over Age: Can a woman still be sexy or act sexy at 50?

Posted by Billyjam, May 1, 2008 09:06am | Post a Comment

As you most likely well know, Madonna is back with her brand new album Hard Candy (Warner) which hit Amoeba Music shelves earlier this week. What is interesting about this new album from the "Queen of Pop" is that while the artist, who built a career on controversy -- usually via her music videos-- is at perhaps the very least controversial portion of her long extended, ever shape-shifting pop life, she somehow manages to still stir up controversy.

The controversy (or heated discussion) this time amongst the Madonna fans and haters is not about the music, but about age-- her age.  Can a woman still be sexy and/or act sexy at almost 50? (Her birthday's in August.) That is the real question posed by the masses and the issue says more about our culture than about the pop singer who inspired the discussion. 

Pop music doesn't have a history of being particularly kind to its aging stars, especially its female stars, and especially its aging female stars who choose to still act sexy. So the floodgates of debate or controversy over whether Madonna should still be making catchy contemporary pop music -- and, what's more, shaking her stuff while collaborating with the likes of the much younger Timbers -- Timbaland and Timberlake (Justin) -- have opened up.

Not too surprisingly, the best place to go to put a finger on the pulse of what the Madonna fans and haters are really thinking of Madge Version 008, you need go no further than YouTube -- a place where no one minces words, as proven by the swath of comments posted for the video to the new single "4 Minutes" featuring the aforementioned two Timbers. In the time since the video (see below) was posted three weeks ago, the opinions have poured in: divided into the diehard Madonna fans on one side and the Madonna haters on the other, with a substantial group of in-betweeners who are undecided or have mixed feelings in the middle ground.

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