TWENTY-TEN was nothing like I thought it would be and that is pretty unusual for me. I usually have some idea or thoughts about how I would like the year to go. I set intentions, goals, etc. and then I’m in action to make those things happen. I closed 2009 playing at a spaghetti dinner that I had no idea would turn into a opportunity to work with two great visual artists form Switzerland. But at the end 2009 I also had to put my cat to sleep and then 2010 opened with the death of my cousin Cynthia who is same age as I am. So 2009 rolled into 2010 with a lot of sadness on my heart. I said to myself and out loud to some others that I was going to take a little break for the first month or two of the year, which was not in the original plan since I had just released the Quick & Dirty EP. In this business you have to strike while the iron is hot, and a new album is a hot iron. But I didn’t think I had it in me at the time. Well the Universe always has other plans, and She was laughing hard at mine. With that in mind I give you my 2010 Year-End-Review. No rest for the weary. Thank Goddess.
JANUARY kicked off with American Candy: Welcome to the 80s at Irondale. It was Candy’s first official off Broadway show. Sadly right after our last performance I had to jump on a plane to Florida for my cousin Cynthia’s funeral. Her death was sudden and for a while we didn’t know what happened. Later we learned that she had heart failure, which made me start to think about the heart and how we do or do not take care of it physically, emotionally and spiritually; and so began the year of making my heart happy.
Soon after returning from Florida I went to Radio City Music Hall to see the Swell Season. Glen Hansard is my new Irish boyfriend. Lol. He and Marketa Irglova are really incredible. To say I was excited to see them is an understatement. That show really helped to lift my spirits and moved me to start doing a little something with The Quick & Dirty.
The first blaKbüshe show of the year was at StageOne for the first of many Haiti earthquake benefits. It would be one of many that I would participate in. Remember that the people of Haiti still need your help. There is still lots of work to be done. Look Back: January 19, 2010 Blog
At the end of the month I started my self-imposed 30-day Yoga Challenge. That was really incredible. I am going to embark upon that again this year. It is repeat worthy.
FEBRUARY was stacked! I was so excited to have my music placed in Other Music in the Village. There are so few record stores these days and I managed to get my CD in two stores. I know that might not seem like a lot or a big deal, but it was for me. The CD is in Other Music in NY and Amoeba in LA. Yes! Look Back: February 3, 2010 Blog
That month the band suited up three times. First we played for the NYC Rock Camp Benefit at Union Pool in Brooklyn. We shared the bill with my favorite band California King as well as some really talented kids form the camp. Then we played for Nona Hendryx’s music series Unfiltered at S.O.B.’s in NYC. That was an incredible show, but it happened during a blizzard! When we got to the venue there was snow on the ground, but it was mostly slush. Well by the time we got out it was looked like a full-on Nor’easter. No wonder there was barely anyone in the house. What were we doing there? LOL! Closing out the blaKbüshe shows for the month, we did a broken down set at Pillow Café for Gina Breedlove’s Folksoul Series. Always good fun!
Let me take you briefly back to Dec. 2009 and the Swiss folks I met at the spaghetti dinner in the Village. Turns out Daniel Glaser and Magdalena Kunz are multimedia artists who use sculpture with video installments to do their work (www.glaserkunz.ch). After seeing the band they asked me to do one of the voiceovers for their video installations. Of course I said yes, and now I’m part of the international art world. Lol! *wink*
February also delivered an email from producer Steve Wallace requesting singers to be a part of a recording called “Be Humanitarian” for Haiti Relief. It sort of had a “We are the World” kind of vibe. I am honored to be a part of that project. If you haven’t heard the song please check out the video and purchase a copy. ("Be Humanitarian" Video)
Finally, the American Candy: Glee show for that month had to be postponed due to show, but not even Mother Nature can stop the Candy!
MARCH was mad! The band was selected to represent Brooklyn in the WNYC Battle of the Boroughs at the Jerome L. Greene Performance space a.k.a The Greenspace. The first round featured about 12 artists, and then it was up to the audience to vote on for the top 5. This was a sudden death type of competition folks. We could only do one song and in the words of Eminem, we only had one shot. We gave it our all and made it to the semi-finals. Then it was up to the rest of the world to decide our fate. In the end, we didn’t win, but I know we gave a damn good showing. See For Yourself. We had so much fun and it did pay off, literally.
Soon after that, Nucomme called and asked me to be a part of the Phenomenal Women Music Series at Prospect Pond. So Jerome, Jeff, Shawn and I did the hit. We played some originals and a few covers and had an all around great time. Thanks Nucomme who always keeps the party jumpin’.
That month we also got the American Candy: Glee show up and it was a hit! The show featured classic AC music and dance sketches like “Solid Gold” (yes I danced in the show) and songs like “Jesus Was a Hot Boy” (yes you read that title correctly). Then Jeff and I played at another Haiti benefit called I Heal for the Love of Aiyti at the Brecht Forum. While all of this was going on I was planning for my trips to McRae, Georgia for the Songwriters Soul Kitchen and Florida for the Winter Music Conference, which would take me out of town for the two weeks of the month. I realize that I never blogged about that trip and now it’s a bit to late to give you the whole recap. But I will say a couple of things about each part of the trip.
In Georgia I met an incredible singer/songwriter named Emily Musolino. She really blew my mind and she’s just one of the massive artists that made it to that Soul Kitchen. The week I was in GA for Soul Kitchen, was performers week. So other artists in the house included Amma Whatt, Heston, KuKu, Maritri, Tubby Love, Michael Hurwitz a.k.a. Jesus, Kipper Jones and many, many, more. Of course it all couldn’t happen with the love of Vinx. Little did I know, that time would be my last time in the big house in GA as Vinx has now moved to the east coast. It was a great place and I had some very memorable times there. Please check out the Songwriters Soul Kitchen and go. Check your their New Year's newsletter. It’s for everyone!
From McRae, GA I was off to MIA. I made one pit stop in ATL to see my girl Lammie and then I was off to fun in the sun. If you have never been to the Winter Music Conference it is a sight to behold. So many of my friends had gone before me, but they really could not put into words what the conference is really like. Folks, it’s a whole week of dancing and eating! You are not getting a lot of sleep while there and I’ll add drinking to the mix, but you might not want to do a lot of that if you are going to be dancing, which you will be! I’m sure there were other “activities” happening as well, but for me it was a dance, sing and eat kind of week. I went to the conference to perform, enjoy the weather and dance till I drop. I played at the Tea Party Music/Brooklyn Mecca party and the Bugz in the Attic party. I was supposed to do two more, but they didn’t work out, which honestly was quite okay because I was beat down by the time we got to the last show day. I had so much fun and met DJ’s and producers from all around the world. I hope to do it again this year if only for a few days. There is nothing like it.
APRIL brought the soft launch of WRFB: Radio Free Brooklyn. Dexter Taylor called upon Rob Fields, Christian John Wikane and myself to help make his dream of having a radio station come true. So with the help of the internet we started WRFB. We had a great year and a whole slew of artists to come through the station to play live and we interviewed some over the phone. WRFB is on hiatus at the moment. I am hopeful that we will return, but April was the start of a really amazing run. If you never got to hear a show here is one of mine. Look Back: August 11, 2010 Blog
As some of you know, besides being a vocalist and bassist I am also a healer. In April I began taking Reiki clients and really jumped off Sovereign Hands in earnest. Another incredible even on the healing front began in February when I found a spot to hold a Native American sweat lodge in Brooklyn. In April we made it happen. Yes folks, we had a sweat lodge in Brooklyn. It was amazing! Thanks to all the ladies who helped make that happen and especially Shirley Jons, Barbara Simon, Robin Burdulis, Maria Fritz and the women who really opened the doors Brody and Sarah East Johnson. Let the healing of Brooklyn continue.
MAY kicked off with Fela! on Broadway. I cannot express to you how much I highly recommend you go see this show when it comes to your city or one near you. It will be hitting the road shortly. If you are not familiar with the music of Fela Anikulapo Kuti please look him up. He is someone you should know. Fela! The Musical
May officially launched WRFB and American Candy was at it again. This time AC did Smokin’ Aces at Gotham Comedy Club, which was our “best of” show. For that show I got my Trini accent on! I know some of you all didn’t know I have one, but I can pull it out of my back pocket when I need to. Also that month Brian Tate asked me to sit on a panel for his salon event Full Spectrum. The theme of the afternoon was the Transgressors and it happened at Danny Simmons Corridor Gallery in Brooklyn.
JUNE jumped off with an email from Toshi Reagon asking if I would be a part of the recording of “Amazon!” What??!! Hell Yeah! I was not expecting that at all. The funny thing about life is that you never know whose radar you are on. Turns out I was on hers. Singer/Songwriter Judith Casselberry decided that she wanted to record “Amazon” for the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival’s 35th Anniversary and give the proceeds of the recording to the festival to help keep in going and to the Lesbian Herstory Archives. Judith always sings the song at the opening of the festival, but in her own reggae-styleee! So we recorded the reggae version, but we also recorded acoustic and Latin dance versions as well. Judith and Toshi added Maxine Feldman’s original recording to the project that summed up the Amazon Thirty-five EP! Besides Toshi and Judith I had the pleasure of being on the recording with Gina Breedlove, Ganessa James, Aleeah Long, Holly Near, Mayra Casales, DJ Rimarkable, Sofia Tosello, Allison Miller, Bitch, Staceyann Chin and many more fabulous women.
The same day I recorded “Amazon,” I also played the WNYC Boat Cruise. It turned out that Flutronix one of the other Brooklyn Battle finalists was asked to rock the boat as well as Cathy Grier a.k.a. NYC Subway Girl who was a Mahattan Battle finalist. We had an awesome time rockin’ that boat. Jeff, V. Jeff, Matsu and I were the büshe for that hit. We played music, ate well and had a river view of the City. Can’t beat that!
June as you know if a big month for weddings and I was so honored to be a part of our kirtan percussionist Josh’s wedding. For those of you who don’t know or forgot, I play bass for kirtan with my friend Sri Baba Keith. The wedding was at a mediation center a bit upstate and it was nothing short of beautiful.
That month I also participated in my first music video…in a bikini top! Yes that was a bit crazy, but fun. I am in the I Love Monsters video for “Spine”. I wrapped up that month in DC where Charles Ellison interviewed me for his XM Radio show. Thanks to Josh, Monsters and Charles!
I closed June on a happy/sad note. I had to say farewell to my dear friend Yolanda a.k.a. Iowan who moved with her family to Atlanta. I was and still am so happy for her and the family, but I miss them dearly. We had a rainy farewell gathering in Prospect Park, but folks came out, brought the kids and enjoyed the food and each other’s company. Yolanda is a huge part of my growing up in Brooklyn. She is my sister in this Brooklyn art movement. We have had many adventures together, and I am so proud of her. It’s sad, when people move, but I get it. On to more trees, grass and fresh air.
Six months down and things are just starting to heat up! Stay tuned...