We were recently introduced to an extraordinary talent, the globally successful Azania from Sierre Leone, West Africa who now lives right here in our beloved Harlem. If you want to experience a truly gifted vocalist, you can come to see Azania in the flesh at the APOLLO this Saturday, April 5th at 10 pm. She will be performing at the Apollo Music Café a variety of soulful originals (visit her website and iTunes link below) along with music from her new album to be released this year. The Opening Acts: Bajah + the Dry Eye Crew will begin the show.
Tickets are still on sale but going fast. For ticket information and to read more about Azania please see her Press Release below. See you this Saturday night at the show!
~ ~ ~ PRESS RELEASE: AZANIA
INTERNATIONAL SOUL SONGSTRESS AZANIA LIGHTS UP THE APOLLO MUSIC CAFE!
New York, NY
Tickets are now on sale for Azania’s highly anticipated concert at the Apollo Music Cafe on Saturday, April 5th at 10:00pm at 253 West 125th St. in New York City. She’s headlining in the Apollo’s Africa Now! festival. Azania’s award-winning and powerful voice has been described as a mixture of Whitney Houston, Adele and Rachelle Ferrell, that moves her audiences to tears and brings them to their feet uplifted by her energy and joyful spirit. Her rich music is a blend of soul, jazz and funk interlaced with beautiful ballads, and her meaningful lyrics carry insightful messages.
Originally from Sierra Leone, West Africa, Azania has been lighting up stages in Europe, the U.S., Africa and Asia for over 15 years. She has been invited to sing in legendary venues, such as the Blue Note jazz club in New York, as well as in world-renown music festivals such as Montreux Jazz, and has entertained the Presidents of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Malawi.
This concert will feature songs from her highly-acclaimed album, “Rising”, as well as new songs to be released this year on her next album. She will be accompanied by: Shawn Whitley (bass), Justin Mathews (guitar), Lucianna Padmore (drums), Yeissonn Villamar (keyboards), and Gbianka Kotee & Staren Soanes (vocals).
In honor of Black History Month and Valentine’s Day for the month of February “SOUL (one)” celebrates a compilation of soul, soul and more soul! Nothing fancy, no tricks or DJ effects just raw talent. The mix flows pretty smoothly throughout with back to back downtempo grooves ending with a couple ballads including “A Song For You” by Donny Hathaway. Check out the playlist below and hopefully “your song” is somewhere in the mix. If not I definitely have enough material for a SOUL (two) & (three) mix. Hopefully in March & April.
Celebrate Black History Month… and have a soulful, Happy Valentine’s Day!
1) Worth It – Faith Evans
2) I’m Not Perfect – Missy Elliott ft. the Clark Sisters
3) Heaven Is 10 Zillion Light Years Away – Stevie Wonder
4) Fall In Love (Your Funeral) – Erykah Badu
5) Got 2 Be Down – Robin Thicke ft. Faith Evans
6) Nothing Can Come Between Us – Sade
7) Good Woman Down (special edit) – Mary J. Blige
8) I’m Still In Love With You – Al Green
9) Fool For You – Alice Smith
10) Georgy Porgy (original mix) – Eric Benet
11) Heard It All Before (extended) – Sunshine Anderson
12) Changes I’ve Been Going Through (original) – Mary J. Blige
13) Better and Better – Eric Benet
14) Do Your Time – Faith Evans
15) Moon Blue (Special Edit Mix) – Stevie Wonder
16) You And I – Vesta (RIP Vesta)
17) Heartbreak Hotel – Whitney Houston w/ Kelly Price & Faith (RIP Whitney)
18) A Song For You – Donny Hathaway
The one and only Etta James. It is sad to think we have just only recently lost Etta James (born Jamesetta Hawkins) on January 20, 2012. She was born January 25, 1938 and she died five days before her birthday on which she would have been 74 years old. James was known as an American singer-songwriter. Her style spanned a variety of music genres including blues, jazz, R&B, soul, rock and gospel. Whenever anyone thinks of the jazz classic “At Last” they think of Etta James. Etta’s version as compared to versions by other jazz singers, belonged to her.
James was married to her husband Artis Mills, whom she married in 1969. They had two sons, Donto and Sametto. Both started performing with their mother — Donto played drums at Montreux in 1993, and Sametto played bass guitar circa 2003 with his mom. Etta James battled with Heroin addiction for years and her husband Mr. Mills served a 10-year prison sentence for heroin possession.
From 1989, James received over 30 awards and recognitions from eight different organizations, including the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and the Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences which organizes the Grammys.
Now perhaps more trendy than ever Etta James is a “cult hero” with producers and remixers waiting in line to remix her legendary sound and style. We continue to hear her though samples in rap, hip hop, electronic and pop music of today. Her legacy lives on through blues and jazz singers in clubs worldwide honoring her sound. Here she is singing “At Last” as only she could. And the second video is of a young Etta James singing “Got A Hold On Me.”
At Last (live) [VIDEO] – Etta James
Somethings Got A Hold On Me (Live) [VIDEO] – Etta James
ESSENCE.com’s “New and Next” column spotlights the brightest new talents Essence thinks we should know.
New and Next recently featured jazz and soul singer and Harlem resident Azania. Born in Sierra Leone, West Africa but raised in Geneva, Switzerland, the classically-trained singer’s sound takes from her multi-cultural background—she calls it a “mix of 70s soul, some gospel and some jazz.”
Azania (pronounced Azanya) was born in Boston but grew up in Geneva, Switzerland, where her mother worked for the United Nations. She started singing professionally at the age of fourteen working with many different bands traveling Europe. She won the French TV competition, ‘Graines de Star,” an American Idol-style show, and was heralded as “the next Whitney Houston.” Later, Azania decided to make her way to the US two years ago. “The US is the ultimate challenge, and the biggest market. I love the spirit here.”
Azania is also very involved in All As One (allasone.org), a Sierra Leonean charity that is dedicated to providing the orphaned children of Sierra Leone a loving home, medical care, and schooling. AAO provides shelter, medical care, education, meals, clothes, social activities and love for the children. A dollar a day can literally save a child’s life.
Her advice for aspiring musicians is “No matter what your circumstances or problems are, instead of worrying about what’s wrong in your life and your challenges, focus your energy on what you do have, be deeply grateful for it and do the best you can with those things to move forward.”
Recording artist and producer Jeremiah Abiah who has worked with Azania’s says: “Azania has quickly garnered the kind of tenacity one needs to be successful here. Not only is she beautiful but she is a talented songstress aiming to make a difference.”
The apple does not fall far from the tree. A few weeks ago we featured the legendary Donny Hathaway on our Sunday Jazz Corner and in it we briefly mentioned his daughter Lalah. This week it is all about Lalah Hathaway, daughter of the jazz and R&B great Donny Hathaway. Though she may be under the radar to some, if you do not already know about Lalah, you will know about her soon as she continues to rise at a rapid pace amongst her peers.
Born as Eulaulah Donyll Hathaway, Lalah Hathaway is referred to as the First Daughter of Soul. She is considered a contemporary R&B and jazz singer. In a sea of high pitched soprano female pop culture singers, it is so refreshing to hear Lalah Hathaway in the mix. There is something about her texture and tone in the same context as Sade or Sarah Vaughan and other infectious swooners that just makes you feel good inside. When you think of pop culture singers these days, you emmediatialy think Beyonce, Rihanna, pop, Hip Hop, soul etc. But with the Esmaralda Spalding’s and Janelle Monae’s and other newbies quietly making themselves heard, please take note of Lalah Hathaway and check out her music on iTunes.
The first video you will listen to below is “Something” by Snarky Puppy featuring Lalah Hathaway. I was referred to it by a friend and watched blindly, and unprepared. I started off listening, watching calmly, inquisitively, maybe slightly judgmental, sitting in my chair… watching, waiting… and as it continued I started getting this feeling, this emotion inside of me. I sat up straight in my chair and tuned everything else out around me. Now, in one hundred percent concentration mode listening and watching this video in front of me, completely committed with Lalah and her performance I begin talking to my computer screen… next, I am standing, now I’m yelling at my computer, clapping, cheering!! Alone in my apartment, goose bumps running all through my body up and down my spine I sit back down. Of course because I’m a man, I did not cry. Maybe just one tiny tear but I fixed that real quick and like I said, I was alone and nobody was there to see a thing.
I think jazz, gospel, good soul, rock whatever, is supposed to make you, make us feel this way, right? Sometimes rarely, music can take you there to this place and so when you do feel it and are a part of the art and why music exists in the first place, it is such a great experience. So ya, that’s kind of what my experience with Lalah was like. And just remember, nobody cried here!
Here are two videos below one Live in Harlem with Robert Glasper at Marcus Garvey Park, and the first one is by Snarky Puppy “Something” featuring a live recording of Lalah Hathaway. I could have posted 20 more like this but I kept it down to two. While writing this piece and listening to this music all I could think of was all of the music that we still can look forward to with future recordings of Lalah Hathaway.
P.S. At the 6:12 minute mark of this song does she sing a chord? I think she sang a chord!! And I love the drummers reaction, he literally got out of his seat as if to say, what just happened.
Singing with Robert Glasper in Harlem, Live at Marcus Garvey Park in August 2012, a classic Nirvana rock song “Smells Like Teen Spirit ” with a jazz twist. Brilliant.
For those who don’t know, you need to know. For those who do know, you don’t need me telling you why Rachelle Ferrell is so respected and admired by all of our musical greats and in the jazz community. There is a reason Jennifer Hudson, Gladys Night, Stevie Wonder and the list goes on and on, can be found at one her live performances. With a little bit of Sarah Vaughan to a little bit of just about everything but the kitchen sink, this contemporary jazz artist creates, channels and delivers styles that nobody has even heard of yet. This is someone that was born to sing and perform music. We hear over and over about certain singers and hopeful talent rising up in the business who are tagged with the word unique. I’m encouraged to watch these new singers to develop and grow. Rachelle Ferrell on the other hand is the definition of the word “unique.”
But don’t take my word for it just listen to what “the voice” can do.
Here are two videos (live) below showing off her jaw dropping vocal abilities and her passionate commitment in how it is delivered.
Rachelle Ferrell – I Can Explain (live)
Rachelle Ferrell & Jennifer Hudson, Improvisational (live) moment on stage
A Song For You, was written by Leon Russell in 1970 and is considered an American classic. Many performers have sung this song, from jazz icons to pop superstar Elton John. But nobody has sang it quite like Donny Hathaway. This song is a great example of how a really powerful ballad can transcend all genres and styles of singers from rock to soul, blues to jazz, pop to country. Donny’s version brings out the soulful core of this heartfelt classic with his distinct vocal timing and texture and emotion bringing it to a level that few performers can reach with such conviction and truth. You really believe those lyrics that he is singing. There is no doubt in our minds that he has lived this song and he commands our complete attention with that touch of church added to it from his early gospel roots where he sang in the church choir with his Grandmother, who was a professional gospel singer herself. It definitely ranks in the top 10 songs written of all time, if not in the top five.
Donny Edward Hathaway was an American jazz, blues, soul, and gospel vocalist and musician. Known for his own songs and solo career he also had many hits with vocalist and friend Roberta Flack, including “Where Is The Love” and “The Closer I Get To You”. His friendship with Roberta Flack goes back to college days where they attended Howard University together and remained friends until Donny’s death in 1979. It is reported Mr. Hathaway was found dead on the sidewalk below the window of his 15th-floor room in New York’s Essex House hotel, and that he had jumped from the balcony. His life ended tragically and way too soon. It is written he had battled with psychological issues throughout the best part of his career. He began to suffer from severe bouts of depression and it was found that he was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia. Over the course of the 1970s, Hathaway’s mental instability wreaked havoc on his life and required several hospitalizations. The effects of his melancholia also drove a wedge in Flack and Hathaway’s friendship; they did not reconcile for several years, and did not release additional music until the successful release of “The Closer I Get To You” in 1978. Flack and Hathaway then resumed studio recording to compose a second album of duets.
Hathaway and his wife, Eulaulah, had two daughters, Eulaulah Donyll (Lalah Hathaway) and Kenya. Lalah has enjoyed a successful solo career, while Kenya is one of the three backing vocalists on the hit TV program American Idol. He also had another daughter, Donnita Hathaway. If you do not have any music by Donny Hathaway here is a great starter album for you to buy A Donny Hathaway Collection. He remains one of the finest singers of our time.
Here is Donny Hathaway singing Live 1) A Song For You and below it is the original version, 2) A Song For You by Leon Russell. Not just anyone can write a song like this. When you listen to Leon’s version, you can almost hear the song “visually” through his humble conviction and the sincerity in which he sings it. A timeless song transcends through all musical styles. The final video is a duet with Roberta Flack, 3) You Are My Heaven, which was co-written by Stevie Wonder for Donny Hathaway. He had a lot of angels in his corner. A very sad ending for an incredible talent. As one of the commenters writes in the comments section below, “this is music at its best.”
Our latest podcast Chocolate Butter Funk is a delicious blend of old school, finger-snapping, head-bobbing funk jams, that is sure to bring a smile to your face and some hop to your step. Not to mention great memories.
On this mix you will hear The Brothers Johnson, Earth Wind & Fire, Cameo, L.T.D, Ohio Players, Rick James, Dazz, Chaka Khan & Rufus, Shalamar, The Gap Band and Joyce Sims, just to name a few.
This podcast was compiled and mixed by HarlemHouse for HCL with a volume 2 mix soon to follow.
Gil Scott-Heron was a jazz and soul, musician, and author, known for his work as a spoken word performer in the 1970s and 1980s. With a wide range of diverse fans he delivered in both rapping and melismatic vocal styles. He referred to himself as a “bluesologist”, which he defined as “a scientist who is concerned with the origin of the blues.”
After a 16 year stretch he recorded his last album released in 2010 entitled I’m New Here. A memoir he had been working on for years up to the time of his death, April 27, 2011. In looking through his video footage today, I chose one in particular besides Gils obvious talent and the amazing Midnight Band, was because of something he said before he starts his performance at the half way point in the video. He said “Every once in awhile I have gone into record stores lately and found our music in a category called miscellaneous. Bothered the hell out of me. Folks are often to anxious to put things into various little compartments. To often they are to anxious to sweep certain sorts of music under the corner of the rug. We find that this is particularly true with music that they refer to as jazz.”
Update: This video was deleted unfortunately on youtube, so I have reposted two more videos instead. The first one is Gil Scott-Heron “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” an excellent 60 minute documentary. The second one is Gil Scott-Heron “Is That Jazz” performed live.
Check out Gil Scott-Heron’s last album “I’m New Here” on iTunes MUSIC. And while you are there browse and listen to all of his work and you will understand why he became a cult classic and an inspiration for many new artists.
A collection of old and new soul, classic, house, hip hop, jazz to get your weekend started right with not one but TWO new mixes. Missy Elliot, Fantasia, Elements of Life, Louie Vega, Pharrell, Daft Punk, Miquel, Chrisette Michele, 50 Cent, Gregory Porter, Marcus Canty, Kerri Chandler, India Arie, Frank Ocean, Inaya Day, Justin Timberlake, Stacey Barthe, Chris Brown, Cypress Hill, AL Green, Rick James, Mary J Blige, Notorious B.I.G., Tina Marie, Classics, New Music, Covers, mash-ups, instrumental grooves & dub edits… it’s all on there, just download and enjoy.
For restaurants/bars/retail stores with ipod/laptop digital systems Harlem Grooves Vol 1 & 2 are easy for download (no separate tracks) one audio file on iTunes and sound great back to back.
Harlem Grooves Series is a series featuring a variety of music and art. We decided to feature artists for our covers for this Harlem Grooves series to support local artists along with local guest DJs podcasts which we will feature here in the months to come. Harlem has a wide range of established artists as well as many up and coming new artists making their mark. This cover for Harlem Grooves Vol 1 & 2 is by Shea Sullivan. She is an artist, studied fashion at Parsons, graphic designer, blogger and during the day a corporate fashionista. Vol 1 & 2 were compiled & mixed by RhythmDB for HCL (HarlemCondoLife)