#musicamonday #MUSICMONDAY (52)

Welcome to the 52nd 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…

All month long, I’m bringing you artists from the great kingdom of Mutapa, the home of king Gungunyane, the gem of South East Africa… my adopted home for now… Mozambique!

This band, GranMah, is a dub reggae band that  vibes out on just the right level of chill. Hope this tunes gets you up and moving… Beijos!

#musicamondays #MusicMondays (20)

Welcome to the 20th 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…

This next tune is a reggae mashup from a band that hails from former home of New Delhi, the Reggae Rajahs and illibilly hitec from Berlin. I have to say, I think the animated video is is pretty cute… Hope this keeps you bopping all day long!

#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!

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!

Trinidad & Tobago: Mas not Mass

ImageWhere do I begin? For those who are not familiar with Trinidad and Tobago’s Carnival, the two days prior to Ash Wednesday people from all over the world come together to celebrate life in every sense of the word.  Starting from the 18th century, the French would have elaborate masquerade balls in Trinidad. Because the slaves were banned from such festivities, slaves would host their own mini-carnivals in their backyards. With the emancipation of slavery, these celebrations moved to the streets and since that time Trinidad Carnival is highly regarded as “The Greatest Show on Earth.” Carnival season begins from Christmas onwards, with many cultural events leading up to the street parade where you “play mas” on Carnival Monday and Tuesday, including j’ouvert. J’ouvert kicks off carnival Monday with crowds of people dancing covered in mud, oil and paint in the streets in remembrance of the emancipation of slavery. The english translation of j’ouvert is I open and the tradition of oil, paint and mud stems from the slaves not wanting to be recognized in such activity by former slave masters. So, with the history out of the way, now let me tell you what really goes down (or at least what went down Feb 20-21 2012).

I am obliged to say that this was my very first Trinidadian Carnival experience. Though I have participated in other carnivals, including Toronto’s Caribana, Montreal’s Carifiesta, Notting Hill in London, Labour Day parade in New York and DC Carnival, there was absolutely, positively nothing like THIS carnival experience. With only 2 hrs of sleep on Sunday morning, I was ready to jump up for d’original breakfast fete. It was literally the crack of dawn and yes, where I was staying, roosters where actually crowing. By 6am there was a sea of brown, yellow, white, black people eating, limin’ (chillin), whinin’ and drinking like fish in the ocean of fete. There was no bacon, eggs, pancakes or coffee, but rather there was jerk chicken, roti, doubles, and liquor. I never saw anything like it. People of all ages, sizes, from all over the world were gyrating from left to right to soca and chutney music in sweet, sweet T&T. With women rollin’ their bumpers, tipsy, teasin’ and pleasin’ all the men responding and often “rising” to the challenge. Sun beating down, soaking wet with sweat and everyone’s “head nice.” And then when you felt like the whining was done, there was more soca to come and the fetin’ went on and on. It’s now midday and time to cool down by either heading to the beach or taking a quick nap before the “Lara fete.” Sunday night, again scores of people were looking grown and sexy (in sandals, of course) on the grounds of the infamous cricketer, Brian Lara. Tickets are always hard to come by, but I was ready to dance the night away until j’ouvert morning.

Thousands descended on the streets of Port of Spain to play with their respective J’ouvert bands. The alcohol was flowing, flags and rags were in the air with everyone getting on bad, covered in a mixture of oil, mud, and paint placed on their entire body by strangers in the early morning breeze. No time to be tired after 6 hrs of j’ouvert – time to get in costume to play mas in your band of choice or spectate and enjoy the show cause “It’s Carnival.” The energy was palpable as persons playin’ mas cross de stage in their elaborately designed, yet revealing, costumes – dancing as if their lives depended on it.  You could feel the beat of the drums from head to toe and there was a certain exhilaration in saying hi and bye to complete strangers with a common goal of having fun “chippin down de road” during the bacchanal. People say it’s a once in a lifetime experience, but I say it’s an annual one. There is no question where I will be next February. Like any good vacation, it is not cheap by any stretch of the imagination. Mas costumes start at $500 USD and inclusive fetes average between $100-200. Nonetheless, there are truly no words or pictures that can truly capture the spirit of Trinidad Carnival. So, I encourage you all to see it for yourself.

This month’s guest blogger is Charlisa Gibson. Bahamian by birth and well traveled by design, Charlie has lived in the US, the UK, Canada and the Caribbean. When she’s not wukkin up, she’s making the rounds – doing her medical residency in Washington, DC.  She is also Nafeesah’s birthday twin, which clearly indicates that she is some kinda woman… watch out now!