I’m not going to give a full recap of all the rest of the shows that happened at Michfest, but I am going to hit you with my highlights. I can only tell you about what I caught so if you are reading this and you were at fest and I didn’t mention the dope thing you saw it’s because I wasn’t there. It doesn’t mean it wasn’t amazing. So here is the Michfest Rest of the Week in Review.
Wednesday August 3rd
Before I hit the stage on Wednesday night I went to see Climbing Poetree on the Acoustic Stage. Of course Alixa and Naima did their thing. I hadn’t seen them perform in a long time so it was great to catch up with them and their work on the land. I also had an opportunity to catch a bit of Andrea Gibson’s show. She is also a spoken word artist. I had never heard her work before, but it was amazing as well. I couldn’t stay for Alix Olson, but I did get to hear her and Andrea rehearsing a piece in Central Heating so at least I got to hear that. The opening day of festival was magical all around.
Thursday August 4th
On this day it was all about the Acoustic Stage for me. I had missed the first go round of Karma’s show Indigo: A Blues Opera because I had rehearsal, but I knew it was going to be something special. First C.C. Carter kicked things off with her amazing poems and her ode to the ladies with big hips! That is always fun an amazing.
|Indigo: A Blues Opera|
|Karma Mayet Johnson & Ashley Brockington|
|Susan Alcorn & Mazz Swift|
|Karma Mayet Johnson & Sokhna Heathyre Mabin|
On Thursday night God-des and She rocked the house with their hip-hop and soulful vocals and Suzanne Westenhoefer came with her brand of funny! It was all in all a great night as well.
Friday August 5th
Friday was packed! I made it to 6 out of 9 shows and I worked the sweat lodge. It was a crazy wonderful day. Here are the highlights in the sequence of the day.
After I worked the Womyn of Color Sweat Lodge, which was really wonderful, I wandered down to the Day Stage to check out the rest of the Krudas Cubensi set. They are two sistas from Cuba who are MC’s. That show was off the meat rack! You know a show is killin’ when you see someone and you can’t understand all of what they are saying and you are still jammin’. Well that was me and a bunch of other folks at the Krudas show. Following Krudas was Invincible another MC out of Detroit. My girl DJ Rimarkable was on the set and Adrienne Maree Brown was on backing vox for another killin’ hip-hop set, which culminated with Krudas and Climbing Poetree joining Invincible on stage. I had to run and sadly missed Hunter Valentine, but Achuziam said that set will killin’ as well. Invincible will be on tour with Tamar-kali and Jean Grae this fall. You can find out about tour dates at www.bornintoflamestour.com.
Later that day on the Acoustic State there was more fire. First up was my auntie Vicki. I don’t know if she knows that I call her that, but now she will know. Vicki Randle along with Julie Wolf on keys and accordion and Lyris Hung on violin kicked things off. Vickie was amazing and I also got an “I <3 Black People” tank top out of it. Vicki and I both love black people.
|Julie Wolf & Vicki Randle|
|Trina Hamlin, Susan Werner & Gail Ann Dorsey|
|Susan Werner & Natalia Zukerman|
Finally closing out the day was Night Stage and what a night stage it was. The night started off with Thao another artist I had never seen before, but was hearing great things about. Well she did not disappoint. She also added a few special guests to her set including the star of the festival, LaFrae, as well as Vicki, Tory and I think Julie too. It was a really fun set. She took the opportunity to run the catwalk as well and she said she felt like Kenny Chesney. LOL! I totally understand. I think I felt like Bono. HA!
Then after Thao was the set of all sets. Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon took the stage with an all star crew. LaFrae (drums of course), Sue Hadjopoulous (percussion), Gail Ann Dorsey (bass), Marcelle Davies-Lashley (tambourine/vocals), Stephanie Battle (vocals) and of course Toshi as the MD and on guitar and vocals. This set had it all. Dr. Reagon sang freedom songs, told stories and of course the music and vocals were off the hook. Ri Ri and I were the amen/tambourine corner in the audience. The good Dr. Reagon was so dynamic that she got not one encore, but two! I have never seen anything like that at fest. I mean after the first encore the audience would not stop clapping. The next band was supposed to come on, but the crowd would not stop cheering. No matter what the MC said we would not stop so Dr. Reagon came back. Honestly she could have played all night and I think everyone would have rode with her for the whole three hours. We were primed for a tent revival that night. There was an amen around every corner. I felt truly blessed after that set. Amazing!
|The Bernice Johnson Reagon Songbook|
|Dr. Bernice Reagon Johnson & Stephanie Battle, Photo by Abena Sharon Dale|
Saturday August 6th
This was another action packed day for me. I started the day at the sweat lodge for Native women, which was really powerful. I have sat many a lodge, but this was one of the most powerful. Since I was at the lodge I missed Animal’s set, but I could hear it and they sounded great. I’m sorry I missed this as well, but I know I’ll see Animal again. I missed the rest of the day stage, but I made it to Acoustic for three more of my favorite sets of the week.
First Valerie June kicked things off. I had been hearing so much about this woman and it was worth the wait. Anyone who can play the banjo has my vote and she did just that. Valerie plays bluegrass and I love some bluesgrass. She was really amazing.
|Bitch & Ferron|
Night Stage started with Slanty Eyed Mama. They are a musical comedy duo of Kate Rigg and Lyris Hung. Their set is always a lot of fun and this time was no exception. They warmed up the crowd and got people laughing and dancing.
Next up was Melissa Ferrick. Melissa came with just her and her guitar and it was a great. A really wonderful set.
The last set of every Saturday night is Chix Lix. Every year is a different theme and this year was the blues. There was a great lineup of vocalists on the set including Judith Casselberry, Karma Mayet Johnson, Susan Werner, Toshi Reagon, Nedra Johnson and many more. The set was a lot of fun and as usual a great way to end night stage at the festival.
|The Chix Lix Crew|
Well we were supposed to leave this day, but we were having such a good time that we decided to stay until Monday morning. Sunday has pretty much the same lineup every year. Ubaka Hill starts the morning with the Drumsong Orchestra, which is always amazing, followed by the One World Inspiration Choir led by Aleah Long. That is always wonderful as well.
In the later afternoon the comedy sets started on the Day Stage. The year the featured comedians were Jessica Kirson, Karen Williams and Elvira Kurt. All three of their sets were funny as hell! I laughed for an hour and a half straight.
|Karen Williams, Photo by Nívea Castro|
Well folks. Michfest 2011 has officially come to a close.
Monday August 8th
Monday morning we got the crew together and hit the road. This time my girl Rachel drove back with us and we also caravanned with Alixa, Samara, Karma and her crew in her car. We took our time getting back. Stopped at Bob Evans for lunch. Yeah Bob Evans! Then we just kept going on our way. Before we knew it we were back in NY and back to reality. It was again great week of festival.
Thank Goddess for our safe return home. Until next year folks. Be well.