#musicamondays #MusicMondays (30)

Welcome to the 30th installation of #musicamondays #MusicMondays, which features music from around the globe. Each song is selected to start your week off on the good foot! One still in the bed and the other in another country…

So, Major Lazer is pretty awesome already, but that’s also just b/c anything Diplo touches turns to auditory gold. But this song includes Ghanian-British hit maker Fuse ODG (who blessed us with Azonto in 2013) and Jamaican dancehall artist Nyla. If you aren’t dancing in your bathrobe right now, something is wrong with you…

#musicamondays #MUSICMONDAYS (14)

In honor of my Jamerican boo thang Chlovah who came to visit me recently, this week’s tune hails from Jamaica. Sometimes you just need a pick me up after a very lively Sunday and very busy week to come.

Welcome to the 14th installation of #musicamondays & #MUSICMONDAYS, which features music from around the world. Each song is selected to start your week off with a new energy and new country(ies) to explore! Go forth and do great things!

On Recognizing the “Devine.”

Tanya Everett is an actor and writer in New York City. Her latest endeavors have included staged readings of her one-act play, A Virgin Christmas, with David Zayas (Dexter). This fall, she will be starring in “Munched,” which will partner with W.O.R.T.H., a nonprofit organization that helps formerly incarcerated women to begin anew. Her website will soon be live for viewing: http://www.tanyaeverett.com

 

Last night, I boarded a Chinatown bus at 8:54 pm in New York City. It had just begun to rain, and the city streets were slick and iridescent. I headed to Lucky Star, only because the bus ratings are marginally less offensive. I settled myself in for an evening of work, but found that the bus seemed to be coming apart at the hinges, and I’d be better off taking a nap. When I awoke, we were already bouncing into South Station. We arrived just before 12:45, so I bounded off the bus, hoping to get to the Red Line before the last train.

After midnight, South Station is tied up like a virgin before her wedding night, so I knew getting home would be more difficult than catching the G train in Brooklyn on a bad day. Downstairs in the station, I asked the guard if the last train had left. His monosyllabic “Yep,” was unconvincing. I figured I’d try my luck and test the waters, so I trotted over to the station. I was let in by another guard to the main terminal and, with another gentleman in tow, bounded down off to the Redline entrance. I asked the MTA employee and her colleague, and they insisted that the last train to Ashmont was coming. I bought a ticket and I headed towards my train.

At the bottom of the stairs was a lone woman. She asked me “Is there a train coming tonight?” I said, “There should be.” She insisted on checking, so she rode back up the escalator, and received the same answer I had received just minutes before. She then proceeded to hoist her suitcase back down to the platform for a second round of waiting, this time more patiently and less nervously.

With nothing left to do but take a watch and wait approach, we struck up a conversation. We had gone to neighboring high schools. She was in town from Oakland for her mother’s 80th birthday; I, for my grandmother’s 75th. We both dance and write plays. Both of our families are the clingy types that insist that when we visit we spend every waking moment in their presence, kissing babies and washing dishes. I secretly hoped she’d have some insight as how to CHANGE that predicament, but we were too similar for that to be a realistic expectation. Her mother is Jamaican and set in her ways. My grandmother is of Ukranian and Polish descent, hence as stubborn as the day is long. It seemed like no coincidence that she and I met on that platform in that moment. Perhaps we both needed the good vibes of someone similar, but different, to remind us that we were on the right track – and I don’t just mean in the T station.

I saw a light in her eyes that shone from faith, perseverance, and experience. She mentioned more than once how much she enjoyed my energy. When the train finally arrived, a man in a Red Sox cap mustered the nerve to interrupt our vigorous chatting. He stopped me mid-sentence and said, “Excuse me, miss, I don’t mean to bother you, but I was just tellin’ him, you have star-quality.” From the looks of ‘him,’ they didn’t even know each other. But I was pleased by the content of this interruption, so I asked his name. “It’s Devine.” “Huh? I’m sorry, can you say that again?” asked like a bumbling fool, unworthy of his compliment. “Devine. It’s spelled with an ‘E’ though.” He went on to tell me that I had something that caught his eye and that he told a complete stranger about it.  It may have just been a pick up, but for me in that moment, I had the sense that this second encounter with this second stranger was also no fluke. It could have been a lack of sleep, but finding a new friend from the other side of the country and meeting a Bostonian with the name of a demi-God felt like exactly what I needed in that moment.

Admittedly, I have a tendency to attract all kinds of people, celebrities and homeless vagrants alike. My roommate thinks it’s hysterical, because I make a new acquaintance daily – even the kind some people don’t want to meet in a lifetime. I believe it all stems from my grandmother. See, Linda (my grandmother) turned seventy-five that night, while I was chatting it up on the train platform. Oddly enough, she has spent my entire lifetime paving the way for me to have choice encounters just like these. She’s the one to speak to strangers on the subway at one in the morning. She’s the courageous, go-getter that never stops, despite limited means. She has always been ferocious and fearless. She is an avid believer that you can accomplish anything with a “glass half full” outlook on life.

Sometimes it is hard to keep her outlook handy in my own life. Lately, I’ve been struggling to find my voice as an artist, to create value in my work. And the weight of these burdens can sometimes undermine my grandma given optimism. What’s worse is that I find myself struggling against what is simply the natural order of things, begging winter to be spring (faster), asking lean years to become fat years (sooner), demanding that life slow down now so that I can catch up and grow at my own pace.

I have been known to ask for too much, but I have also been known to deliver great things. My own flare on grandma’s wisdom is that when preparedness meets timing, and a little bit of grace, all things are possible. But we wouldn’t be human if, every now and again, we failed to recognize that we are perfect in our imperfections. We forget that the very things that seem like character flaws are our most interesting characteristics. As an actor and a writer, I constantly mine for unique character traits. I’ve come to celebrate the triumph of the hero over her toughest opponent: herself.

As I rushed towards home that night, I was reminded that all the world’s a stage and it’s about time that I applied some of this leeway I give to my scripted protagonists to lil ole’ me, the girl that makes besties with late night commuters. The conversations on that platform reminded me that my inherited positivity is what attracts people, and that my own darkness is what makes me human. I was reminded to enjoy the discoveries along the journey, not just the destination. And there’s something simply perfect about celebrating my own divinity in the wee hours, at the crack of dawn, on the day the earth welcomed the source of my greatest gifts. Don’t think my grandma doesn’t make me repay the favor. Did I mention that August is her birthday MONTH??

Ear Candy: Enter at your own risk!

I’m on a roll with these list posts, so why change a good thing? As some of you may have already heard, I’m planning an Afro-inspired Music party. This includes everything from reggaeton to kuduro. There will be a sign on the front door that says,  “CAUTION: Only grown folks who aren’t afraid of doing grown folks things, while listening to grown folks music should enter this house, on this night, for this party.” This is not a joke.

Yesterday,  I spent the day with 2 new friends, a hookah and Youtube. These two guys – Puerto Rican and Congolese – completely schooled ya’ girl on what needs to be played. That said, I have to represent for my Pud (Kimbella voice) Emily who I’m sure has already snarled under her breath “snitch you Black!” Translation: I am African American, straight Yankee, not from nowhere else but Africa somewhere and the U. S. of A. (represent!!). So, Gucci Mane, T-Pain, Lil’ Wayne and Wale already have a secured place in the playlist. And, since I’ve been listening to Mika Mendes’ MÁGICO (click for music) and Loony Johnson’s Kada Vez Mas Bonita (click for music) all week, the Zouk, Posada, Funana (click for music) are all covered. I didn’t say it’d be new music – just relevant music.

Nevertheless, the guys added a lot more vibes to the review.  Just to give you a flavor of the artists who will be getting big spins – read ahead, my friends, and click often.

5 – P. Square are Jos, Nigeria’s Ying Yang twins, except these two are actually twins. Identical even! I’ve danced to ‘E No Easy’ (click for music video)  many times, but never bothered to Shazam it.  I fully plan to walk around as a drum major when this song comes on. I suspect that even if you’re listening to it while cleaning your living room on a Sunday afternoon, your duster will turn into a baton too.

4 – Fally Ipupa is from the Congo and I have no idea what he’s saying in this song (or any others for that matter). But, Jupka (click for music video) makes me want to move my waistline and shoulder blades. And this video is an added bonus, because it gives me permission to wear sunglasses all night AND to have a blonde front and center in all the party photos. SCORE!

3 – Chino & Nacho are Venezuelan heart throbs who don’t look one lick of brown. But, everybody knows that cornrows, merengue and Venezuela have deep African roots, so we will be playing Niña Bonita (click for music video) and I expect there to be screaming girls.

2 – Romeo Santos (formerly of the Bronx bachata band Aventura) and Spain’s flamenco guitarist Tomatito need no introduction. But, I had never heard of their collaboration on La Diabla/ Mi Santa (click for music video) until yesterday. It will be played. I will pretend I know how to dance bachata. There will be no horses.

1 – Kingston Jamaica’s own Konshens wins not just because all the skrippers, i mean, dancers can actually wukk up and whine in Gal A Bubble (click for music video). But because they don’t all have faces like manbeastwretches the way MANY “dancers” in reggae videos do. Yup, I said it! Just cause you hot from the neck down does NOT mean we need to be subjected to your face for 3-5 minutes. Though, I can’t help but wink up every time I hear this song, rest assured, I will NOT be wearing poom poom shorts at my party. Nor will there be a hose for outdoor, car washing purposes. Perhaps, inside.

Enter at your own risk!