Amoeblog

New York State of Mind Amoeblog #45: Afropunk Fest 2013, Charlie Parker Jazz Festival, VNova, MTV VMA's, Ken Fury + more

Posted by Billyjam, August 21, 2013 06:06am | Post a Comment

This weekend the two-day Afropunk Festival in Brooklyn promises to be not just the best line-up in the ten year history of the annual festival born out of the documentary of the same name that showcases the best of African American made music on the punk/alternative music side of things - but also one of the best events in NYC in the week ahead. And the festival that as well as music features films and food is totally free! It is also one of the most diverse lineups with more hip-hop related acts than in previous years.

This year's scheduled acts include Chuck D and DJ Lord, The Coup, Living Colour, Death, Saul Williams (right), The White Mandingos, Mykki Blanco, Jean Grae, Danny Brown, CX Kidtronik, Big Freedia, and many more as seen in posters above seen on the streets of Lower Manhattan earlier this week.  Afro Punk Fest 2013 happens in the Commodore Barry Park in Brooklyn's Fort Greene (between Nassau St. and Park Ave., and Navy Street and N. Elliot Place) from noon to 9pm on both Saturday and Sunday - August 24th and 25th. No cover. All ages. More info.

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New York State of Mind Amoeblog #44: The 40th Summer of Hip-Hop

Posted by Billyjam, August 14, 2013 02:05pm | Post a Comment

New York City is the home, the birthplace of hip-hop and this past Sunday was the actual 40th birthday of this unstoppable global music and culture that was unceremoniously born at the Rec Room (a simple recreation room of an apartment building) at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx (aka the Boogie Down Bronx) back on August 11th, 1973 when Kingston, Jamaica born DJ Kool Herc (born Clive Campbell) had a party to celebrate his sister's (Cindy Campbell) birthday. The cost to get in was just 25cents (ladies) or 50cents (fellas) to help offset the basic costs. Fast forward 40 years to this past weekend and both Kool Herc and his sister Cindy celebrated this landmark with two big concert/parties in NYC at Summerstage in Central Park, Manhattan and at 5Pointz in Long Island City, Queens on Saturday and Sunday respectively. I already reviewed for the Amoeblog the Central Park 40th anniversary birthday concert party that included such legends as Coke La Rock, Soulsonic Force, Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, DJ Red Alert, Roxanne Shante, Grand Wizzard Theodore, and Marley Marl. In this latest/44th New York State of Mind Amoeblog I will review Sunday's party at the graffiti mecca of 5Pointz as well as preview some of the many other big hip-hop concerts / events in NYC that are all part of celebrating the 40th anniversary of the music and culture (DJing, MCing, B-boying, and graffiti) that ironically was once considered by so many as merely a passing fad. 
 

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NYC Summer 2010 Pt. II - SummerStage Brings New York City's Parks to Life with Free Concerts

Posted by Billyjam, June 30, 2010 03:11pm | Post a Comment
DJ Kool Herc
Considering hip-hop got its start during the 1970's in block parties and in various parks in the Bronx, it is more than fitting that the man credited with creating the genre, Jamaican transplant DJ Kool Herc, will be headlining this evening's free concert in Crotona Park in the Bronx. During the 70's and 80's many pioneering hip-hop figures performed at informal hip-hop jams and several scenes for the seminal hip-hop film Wild Style were filmed back at the park in the day. Tonight's show in the "Boogie Down" Bronx park is just one countless (mostly free) outdoor concerts in the wonderful SummerStage concert series produced by New York's City Parks Foundation. Each year in June, July, & August the foundation stages an impressive 100+ musically diverse concerts plus theater and dance performances in various parks in NYC's five boroughs: Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island. Many days there are two or three events happening simultaneously in different parks & boroughs, so it is impossible to catch everything, but there are still oodles to choose from. This summer shows include acts such as The Specials, Public Enemy, EPMD, The Metropolitan Opera, Gil Scott Heron, The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Jimmy Cliff, Pharoahe Monch, Doug E Fresh, and the two-day Charlie Parker Jazz Festival featuring such acts as James Moody, Jimmy Scott, and McCoy Tyner.

A few days ago I talked with DJ Kool Herc, who said that it is "a nice feeling" to be DJ'ing in Crotona Park in the Bronx again all these years later. And as for the music he will be spinning? "I'm playing music to reminisce [about] then and now, extremely then and extremely now." Herc emigrated to America from Jamaica and took the Jamaican sound system style of DJing with him to the Bronx, where essentially created hip-hop itself by being the first DJ to isolate the "breaks" parts of records and play two versions back to back to extend these "breaks." Of this pioneering act he says, "I'm like a shepherd. I'm watching my flock. I'm watching my audience, and I like to dance and I would notice that people who liked to dance would wait for particular parts of the record to come up and play before they would start to dance and I am always observing. So one day I thought I would put all these parts, these breaks, that I have together and I am going to call it the merry go round. All the good parts -- get right to the yolk and everybody just ranMcCoy Tyner with it."

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