Every year or so I have the chance to catch up with my man Cee Knowledge, AKA DoodleBUG of Digable Planets. For me, its a chance to get into the mind of one of the principals in opening my mind to all the sounds. This time around we got to talk about some of the stops on the insects recent travels and tours. What it was like getting it on out in the eye again toGether as the Digable crew.
Cee Know and I discuss the reunion tour during spring and summer 2016 and how it was followed up with a live record “Digable Planets Live” on Ropeadope Records that dropped late June 2017. We lead you down the path of the question, will there be some new joints complied and released to the world with new rhymes, beast and jazzed-up-grooves? It is always nice to hear an influential artist, someone who is a part of a Grammy award winning group that created something new talk about who were some of the maestros behind getting their artist voice to come out, and both Cee and I release a little of that on you. We also take you back to a classic-ish moment in time and talk about the original meeting of our mutual funky-friend, DeeJay Alex J. It was for similar situations that brought all three of our world colliding. As always, the conversation strays into the land of NBA hoops and we make sure to get our Celtics and Sixers (hats worn just a little titled to the side) talk on the table, both always respecting the others squad. I am also pleased to report, that once any new project is ready to get a listen, I’ll get that listen and then be able to be the bridge to get that freshy fresh over to you.
“Eyes of the World: Grateful Dead Photography 1965 – 1995” is a fine art, hardcover coffee table photography book that brings together, for the first time, a comprehensive collection of photographs from a wide range of photographers whose work has captured the Grateful Dead at different times throughout their career. Co-Edited by former Relix editor-in-chief Josh Baron and famed rock photographer Jay Blakesberg, “Eyes of the World” was released on October 23, 2017 via Rock Out Books. Photographers featured in Eyes of the World include such legendary names as Annie Leibovitz, Jim Marshall, David Gahr, Mark Seliger, Herb Greene, William Coupon, Michael O’Neill, Adrian Boot, Michael Putland, Peter Simon, Baron Wolman and, of course, Jay Blakesberg. Included in the collection are iconic images, lesser known photos, and never-seen before seen images – each of them a singular perspective of a poignant moment that together help tell the Grateful Dead’s epic tale through large, bold imagery.
Jay and I played a little catch up since last time we spoke. We got into how this book came to be, the process of picking and choosing moments that represent each time time period/era of the band as well as a few interesting morsels of coolness discovered while researching and pieces the whole project toGether. Take a listen to find out the why and what the image chosen for the cover represents to Jay and Josh and which image even Phil Lesh said” “I’d Never Seen That Before”.
Inti-Illimani is the modern face of the Chilean Nueva Canción movement, a modern world music genre that celebrates a renewal of Latin American folk music in response to the dominance of American and European influence in Latin America during the 1970s and 1980s. After over forty albums, the group is celebrating fifty years of exploring human rights, imperialism, democracy and the Latin American identity through traditional Chilean folk music with an edgy twist. Inti-Illimani was formed by students at Universidad Técnica del Estado at Santiago, Chile in 1967 and became popular in Chile for their song “Venceremos (We shall win!)” which became the anthem of the Popular Unity government of Salvador Allende . In 1973 as they were on tour abroad, General Augusto Pinochet launched a coup d’etat and took power. Having heard of the numerous extra-judicial killings of many fellow artists by Chile’s army, they took up residence in Italy, resulting in “the longest tour in history” as they remained in exile while continuing their efforts supporting Chilean democracy. In September 1988, days after they were no longer banned from Chile, they returned and started touring in the country again. They helped organize the voting down of the referendum that would have re-elected Pinochet.
I had the honor to talk with Mr. Jorge Coulon again recently to promote the Sunday, October 22nd event here in Madison at the Wisconsin Union Theater’s Shannon Hall. We talked about what someone new to the group could expect as well as spending time discussing the latest release, “El Cantos de Todos”, a celebration of the musical traditions and songs of Violeta Parra. Mr. Coulon and I talk about the process of taking these historically important songs and giving them a slightly more modern touch/feel. We talked a little about how it feels to land in the USA of today and I would have been remiss not to bring up a least one of the humanitarian efforts this dynamic group has made a difference in the world by getting involved with. Find out what Mr. Coulon has to say about these things by clicking play above.
Even though its members are originally from Timbuktu, Mali, the band formed in the city of Bamako after they were displaced from their homes in 2012 during a civil conflict. They decided to start a band to play music for their fellow refugees. In 2015, Songhoy Blues released their debut album, Music In Exile. The new album, Résistance, released on June 16th via Fat Possum Records, shows the bands maturity as artists and melds their vast traditional sounds with the elements of soul, R&B, hip-hop, and rock. The album is full of imagery that takes a listener through the African places built on what feels like foreign tradition, but can be as known to the rest of the world as a stroll down their very own community streets. The album takes the energy of the art and culture and combines it with the groove to make the energy move with its creators and listeners alike. There is even a guest appearance from Iggy Pop to add to the uniqueness of the stories being told.
On Friday October 6th at 8:00 P.M., Songhoy Blues will bring this energy and their musical bridge to Madison at The Sett, Union South on the campus of the University of Wisconsin – Madison. I had the opportunity to talk briefly with lead vocalist, Aliou Touré about what the people in attendance are in for at this upcoming event. We spoke about the energy, and the power of of music and how traveling the world has opened up so many eyes; the band, the listener come and go sometimes with different views and feelings than when the day started. We got into the new album and how the vibes may at first sound like they come from so far away, the meanings, similarities and differences are universal.
On Wednesday, September 27th at the High Noon Saloon, I am pleased to say that Antibalas is heading to Madison. They will arrive on the heels of a brand new release that is drenched in traditional form but also as current that the air we breath today. While the wait for the new album might have seemed long, it is certainly well worth it. Where The Gods Are In Peace released Friday September 15th on Daptone Records, pays respect to the forefathers of Afrobeat with compositions spanning nine to fifteen minutes in length. With a blessing from the Fela Kuti legacy early in the band’s career, Antibalas has long been blessed to be re-popularizing and re-energizing the classic Afrobeat sound while adding their distinct New York City grit into the mix. Influences of punk rock, free jazz, and hip-hop are known to seep into their expansive works to define a truly 21st century translation of the Afrobeat genre and beyond.
I had the privilege to have a conversation in support of the show and the album with AMAYO (Vocals & Percussion) to get the vibe and mindset balanced with the ears and entire body. We spoke about the way the new album came together through real life moments that glued the pieces toGether that were floating around the band’s sphere for years. The feeling and power of the energy behind the music shared with other beings was something we seemed to really get, the way the music does form a bridge between spirits of people, and connect them by the Afrobeat grooves. We spent a good chunk of time talking about our mutual friend, and AMAYO‘s brilliant colleague, Miss Sharon Jones and how she was a force, like a guiding lightning bolt that navigated the process of the musical shifts all artists face. We got into how the artists of the Daptone family were altered by her mere presence and that she was the leader of the house of soul. I love it!!! This conversation admittedly was one soul’s opinion and vision of how it is, in order to get an even better feel of how it all pieces together into a severe mind & body changing groove, there are man opportunities to catch them live.
Antibalas – Where The Gods Are In Peace – Daptone Records
2017 marks the return of Dub Gabriel with his 5th full-length solo album entitled “ADSR DUB” on his pwn record label, Destroy All Concepts. After his critically acclaimed 2013 album, Raggabass Resistance, he locked himself away in the studio and went into complete isolation in what he refers to as “one of the most prolific times of his 20 year career ”. Mixing his love for classic dub productions with vintage analog tape echoes, spring reverbs and tubes, with his love of krautrock and his collection of Moog, Arp and Korg analog synthesizers, to provide the listeners with one of the most original albums to come out in recent memory.
The album Features guest performances by Addis Pablo, son of the legendary Augustus Pablo. Ranking Joe, who rose to prominence in the 1970’s on such legendary labels as Studio 1, as well as his collaborations with King Tubby. And, The Spaceape, who became the voice of U.K. Dubstep through his groundbreaking work with Burial, Kode 9 & The Bug. Recorded in San Francisco at d/a/c Laboratory for Research & Development, mastered by the legendary, Kevin Metcalfe, at Sound Masters in the U.K. and cover art by acclaimed French illustrator, Olivier Bonhomme.
We took some time to dive into the new release, how for me it takes me out and away from the current state of the real that seems to drag me down. We talk about the balance one must find within creation of a project from start to finish and starting and making a family of three when it once was two. I have been listening to creations of Dub Gabriel’s for a long time and it was nice to hear about his take on what my thang (taste maker) involves as well as which toys from his studio would he choose if he could only have a few. We talk about the flow of the music and art and how as creators, we have to let the story, the narrative speak for itself. Check out our conversation to take the canoe ride within the story.
cover art by acclaimed French illustrator, Olivier Bonhomme.
When last we spoke with Joe Marcinek, he was coming to town with friend of the proGram, Dr. Bernie Worrell. What a treat!! This time around he will be bringing the Joe Marcinek Band to the 5th Annual Schenk’s Corners Block Party on Friday, August 18th.
This stop through, Joe will be bringing an ALL-STAR cast (as usual) with him! Featuring Joey Porter from The Motet on keys, Pete Koopmans from Family Groove Company on drums, and Buddy Pearson from FREEK JOHNSON on bass. Joe tells me of the contributions each of these folks have played parts in throughout the history and the present of the band. We paint the funky landscape of what could be expected in an ever-evolving set from these cats and how the vibe of the people, those who go and show, create the newness of today while the jammin’ is happening.
Joe and I spend some time talking about the newest album, “Slink” and how it came to fruition, the impact of his circle of fans and friends alike to make this latest musical story complete, and how doing it in a way that fits right for the pieces of the puzzle, makes all the difference in an album’s creation. The band will be featuring much of “Slink” while here in Madison and as someone who has been sharing those grooves to the listeners, this is a much set get-down-to-the-sound event. It is clear that Joe appreciates the scene and those wo make it up here in Madison, so let’s return that love on the 18th.
We are always so lucky here in Madison when the summer rolls around and we are fortunate to have culture travel to us. This coming weekend, La Fête De Marquette will once aGain provide a great opportunity to catch some acts you might not otherwise get a chance to bump into. One such act is out of the Czech Republic, Mydy Rabycad. They create and electro-swing or glamtronic sound that has people around the globe up and moving their bodies. I had a chance to chat with Mikulas and JohnyD of the band from Canada, as they are making their first trip to North America and we are going to get a dose of them this weekend. We talked about what the festival goers can expect from their sound, their audience interactions and the music they create and how it translates into a wild time o=f dancing. I assured them that Madison is a home for some eclectic dance moves. We talked about how it is more likely for a group out of the Czech Republic to get known better once they leave town and broaden their listener-ship, as well as how their relationships together have strengthened their live and produced works. We touch briefly on how times have changed for them as they are working on studio album number three, and how the growth of a band and the doors that get opened by others really assist in making it all happen.
I am thinking the dust will fly this week end, and the group will have a few more reasons to head home happy and with more fans as they leave North America behind, but not until we give them a taste of Madison first.
It’s always nice to catch up with friends from times aGo. Had a chance to do just that with Sunny Jain, as Red Baraat makes their way back to Madison on July 15th at the Union Terrace and then July 16th at La Fête de Marquette. We spoke about what a newcomer to the band could expect to see and hear when checking our Red Baraat at either of these Madison stops. We had a chance to walk down memory lane and discuss the difference of landscape between when the group first came here years ago versus where they are at sound-wise and production-wise today as they released “Bhangra Pirates” in March of 2017. It is always a pleasure to learn how the paths have changed throughout the years and how life plays into the way we do what we do, musically and otherwise.Madison holds a special place in this group’s heart, and I am sure we will return the love on the upcoming weekend. Comprised of eight musicians who can whip a crowd into a frenzy with an unprecedented, high energy, gut-busting fusion of jazz, hip-hop beats, rock muscle, funky go-go, and scalding hot bhangra. A horn section blares, percussionists pound, the guitarists rips, everybody shouts, and the group’s charismatic leader, Sunny Jain, holds the explosive songs together with rhythms from his dhol – the Indian double-headed drum played slung over the shoulder that provides bhangra with its frenetic heartbeat. This energy blast is always opening the door to newness in front of crowds, let’s have Madison respond in similar fashion by being itself, ready for anything. And if you were wondering what Sunny would air if I gave up a half hour or so of the proGram, well he clues us in at the end of this conversation..some interesting stuff, as I would expect.
On Saturday, June 24th at 8pm, Arts & Literature Laboratory presents “Silver Ochre’s Hot Pursuit of Happiness with Thollem Electric”. Silver Ochre’s Hot Pursuit of Happiness is a rapid fire live audio/visual experience of an epic journey throughout the continental U.S. by videographer ACVilla and composer/keyboardist, Thollem Electric. Always somewhere between being pursued and pursuing, the bitter sweet existence in 21st century America. This is a distillation of the U.S. and its conflicts between security and liberty and competing ideas of freedom. Thollem and ACVilla have both been traveling around the country for decades and are currently working on a 3 year endeavor called “Who Are U.S.” Silver Ochre’s touring stateside from April 6th – November 19th.
With Thollem on an unruly electronic beast of vintage keyboards, stomp boxes, a microphone and occasional special guests, the music is an amalgam of infinite possibilities bringing together sounds and musics heard around this country. A sonic celebration from the immense array of diversity in our multi-cultural society amid the present and historical struggles for liberty and justice for all. Sometimes it will sound like a million people screaming from which distinct voices percolate, twist, turn and evolve into and out of everything else; a parade of characters that intermingle in love and fury.
I had a chance to catch up with Thollem to discuss this project and what it has turned into and what the future holds in store for both he and ACVilla as this journey adapts and grows. Find out more by listening in to our shared time and maybe even find out how you can experience the “what’s happening” around you.
Find out more here as well.
Thollem & ACVilla
Had a chance to catch up with Matt Doe of Too Many Zooz as they will be playing the after party on June 23rd once the Dark Star Orchestra finishes up their “Live on King Street” Performance. Set to hit the Majestic Theater stage around 11pm to help the Madison scene walk into the front door of a “Brasshouse” experience. We spoke about the process of going from NYC subway musicians crafting and tuning their craft up to being found out by the Queen B herself, Beyoncé and how that led to working on her Lemonade album as well as some dates working with her team in a live setting.
With the trend towards electronic instrumentation in music, it’s easy to forget where it all first started: on street corners with real instruments, playing for tips, that is until you’ve heard Too Many Zooz. This three-piece “BrassHouse” band is Matt Doe, Leo P, and King of Sludge. They have now worked with a wide group of artists that is stretching the boundaries of their sound, including friends of the proGram Galactic and Beats Antique, to create a mind opening provocative body shake groove.
Named one to Billboards’ Top 25 Next Big Sound, thanks in part to a video of one of their frenetic subway performances was posted to Reddit and went viral to the tune of over 2.2 million views, and in a very short time amassed a large fan base. If you make your way to the June 23rd show in Madison, you’ll understand why this trio’s mark being left is real and true and set to make a lot of noise heading into the future. Their groove is infectious and easy to move to and all the instruments come together in an explosive climax of sound. Too Many Zooz will definitely force you to reconsider the way you think/listen to music.
Had a chance to catch up with my musical brother from another mother and find out what’s been going on, DeeJay Alex J. Alex and I go way back now and it is our love of diverse sounds and how they blend that has kept us movin & groovin’ toGether through this scene. Alex and I talked about a couple new joints he’s been working on, one included below. We also spoke on the ways and times of now versus then with listening and sharing of sounds, the way he and I and DoodleBUG all got connected up in a circle of remixes as well as the time and process that goes into making the connections and producing the goods. (off air we spoke NCAA championship and sneakers in the closet.)
Here’s the skinny:
Alex 2morrow (aka DJ Alex J) joins musical forces with Australian singer Jason Singh for their standout single on King Street Sounds titled ‘Love Is What I Need (Your Love).’ The featured mix is DJ Alex J’s ‘Future JazzFunk Mix’ that combines Jason’s smooth and silky vocals with jazzy house, tech sounds and live instrumentation.
Check it: Out now on traxsource:
All the years of being a part of the family that radio provides has done my mind and soul quite well. I get to discuss art with artists and every now and then, I locate a being that is a similar being as I. I talked with Adam Rudolph for the first time on air a couple years ago and we hit it off like old friends, with the music being the guide. Well, Adam has a new album out with his Adam Rudolph’s Moving Pictures project called “Glare Of The Tiger” on Meta Records and through M.O.D. Technologies. You can imagine my delight when setting up another chance to run through this sounds existence from start to finish. We talked about how the relationships of the musicians transforms the music into something else, a research and development model based off concepts Adam has in mind and heart. How to take the music and feelings of then, and turn them into something fresh and traditional as the now. We talk about the feeling of the music created, not just how it makes you feel inside, but a way to truly relate to the sonic adventure the music catches you in ans where it can take you. Being able to share the work of people I believe in is something I hold high above my head, I wear it like a crown I am proud of, and Adam reminds me of why I always found a home next to a radio, music and the sharing of ideas toGether. It’s the people who share what’s within them that matter so much to me, and when I get time to bring the vice of the art to you, not just the saleable commodity, it truly feels like the circle is complete. Please enjoy this half hour conversation about the new album, but know that it is as much about living as it is about this particular moment in art, or art history.
Took the opportunity to catch up quickly with friend of the proGram, Mister Mina Girgis as The Nile Project heads back to Madison to perform in two shows (for students ranging from Kindergarten through seniors in high school) on March 6th at The Overture Center as part of the Onstage Student Field Trip event. Along with the two shows, there will be some knowledge transfer about how the decisions people make truly affect all beings on this planet. Mina defined the mission of The Nile Project and the musicians associated with this years tour, the commitment to making a change and being a bridge between Africa and students of all ages around the globe to help hear and share ideas to foster the growth of the Nile citizens. The two shows will open ears to the sounds of the regions along the Nile River as it flows with life, different in may ways, yet so similar that people quickly become united as one when the sounds and styles get explored together. Take a moment to reintroduce yourself if you are familiar with the concept, and if this is new to you, please take a listen to to our conversation as it may be you who holds an important key to keeping the smallness of our world united.
I had the pleasure of chatting it up with Rench of Gangstagrass to promote the upcoming show Sunday, December 18th at the Frequency here in Madison. If you have never heard, or heard of Gangstagrass, Rench and I dive into what could surprise your eyes even before your ears catch the drift. He takes the time to discuss the process of finding the right team members for such a distinct project and how visions meld with open minds. Rench shares a story that all artists should hear and remember as they hustle to get noticed, how once and a while, you just get a call out of the blue and even end up with an Emmy nod for your efforts.
We take a side road and discuss the two places he goes to get away from it all and get lost in it, as well as what tunes he would share with the greenarrowradio listeners if I happened to give up a half hour of my show to his musical ways. Check out this chat and discovery why two great tastes sometimes DO taste so great toGether.
Gangstagrass Making their way to madison 12/18/2016
It is always a pleasure to become pals with people you dig. I dig Kimmy for so many reasons. The way she sees so many things is very similar to the way I do. So it was too long since we had a radio conversation and this one, like all the others was as smooth and cool as she is. We cracked open her diary and spoke about all the things she has been working on recently. Lead dancer in a Debbie Allen, yes, THAT Debbie Allen, Christmas production in Los Angeles (this part is so Fame fun and beyond). Kim opened up about some the growth of those incredibly challenging roller-skating moves and body twisting contortions as well as a few other skillz she has added to her vast repertoire. We discussed the second collaboration with Atmosphere on a track called “Won’t Look Back” on their latest release and the process which led to the final product. As we often do, we just talk deeply and intently on songs/sounds and the way of the world we weave through, and how great it is to have things happening, and the way they go down.
Throughout it all, the we drop occasionally back to the influence Mr. George Clinton had on her as well as the mutual respect they shared without outgrowing the experience. This conversation is well worth the time you spend getting into the place the SPACE QUEEN sets aside in her mind, and oh yeah, of course she was doing her side of the chat in her van under an L.A. banana tree.
Kim Manning & George Clinton with PFunk on stage at the Avo Session in Basel, Switzerland, Thursday, Nov. 12, 2009. (AP Photo/Keystone/ Georgios Kefalas)
Having the opportunity to catch up with artists who always push themselves and their boundaries is another one of those things I enjoy about the music scene I have gotten myself a part of. Andrew McPherson is one of those people who exemplifies many of the ways I look at sound and style, musically and otherwise. We have kept a long standing check in and check out period of our lives and this time around I catch him just finishing up his latest release by a project he calls, Peppermoth. The album titled “Now You Hear Me” is a statement into the ambient music that has always been around in Andrew’s mind. So the whole “Why Not” conversation inside ones mind took over and out came the workings of this new tale of music. This is a far reaching stretch compared to so many of those Eccodek releases the listeners of this radio proGram have dugg into over the years. That’s entirely what relationships are about, change over times. In this conversation, we chat about process and feel, time and space as well as those defining moments once again in an artists life on which path and where is it leading. I hope you’ll find out which fork in the road Andrew decided on by checking out the sounds of Peppermoth, and see how it can fit into your times.
I had the chance to chat with Jessica Kion and Ben Levin from the group Bent Knee as their 2016 tour stops include Madison’s Mickey’s Tavern on Saturday, September 10th. Bringing an array of musical worlds into one well behaved monster, Bent Knee is out in support of their debut release on Cuneiform Records, “Say So”. Per the band: “It’s rock for the thinking person. The group’s lyrics are dark and infused with themes focusing on the emergence of personal demons, unwanted situations and the difficulty of conquering them. Its mercurial sound matches its subject matter. It’s a thrilling aural roller-coaster ride with arrangements designed to make listeners throw their arms up in wild abandon as they engage with them.”
We discussed what the stage at Mickey’s will look like when they take it, introducing us to their members. This naturally led us into the album making process between this 2016 release and their 2014 album, “Shiny Eyed Babies”. Eating and sleeping IS IMPORTANT!!! How they balance working in the studio and working it out on the stage reveals an interesting insight into the make-up of this group, that speaks volumes to how true teams take an idea and see it through. We wrapped it up by relishing toGether over the facts behind what makes a record label, such as Cuneiform an integral part of the many moving pieces behind the faces we see on stage or hear on the album.
I am so thankful to the local venues here in Madison for bringing artists like this to our backyard.
Just in time for the Trick or Treaters…Mister Rourke’s TERRORVISION made it’s devious little way to my doorstep and I have been scaring, I mean sharing it with you ever since. The scratches are rhythmic and rowdy and believe it or not…this is one scratch album that has a plot and a story. We also learn something very interesting about Rourke’s project Guvna Dub, there is a special sax player working on the new project—a friend of greenarrowradio no doubt? If you never thought you were one for it, try it. We also spend some quality time talking about life, Elf Music and a couple of different ways in which inspiration is gained thru the eyes and ears of this scratch sculptor Mister Rourke.
catch our catch up session here.
FESTIVAL!!! Man what a day it is going to be this Saturday November 22nd at the historic Congress Theater in Downtown Chicago. The Chicago Bluegrass and Blues Festival, a one day celebration of the roots of music will be taking place all day with doors opening at 11amCST. Aiming to help eradicate congenital heart defects in children, a portion of the eventâ€™s proceeds will contribute to the research efforts of the Chicago-based Saving Tiny Hearts Foundation. Until now, fans have had to travel far outside city limits and setup camp to witness a legend like David Grisman share a stage with the sceneâ€™s newest genre-defying sensations, The Avett Brothers, and a host of rising talents from the roots, blues, bluegrass, & jamband scenes.
The David Grisman Quintet
The Avett Brothers
Ha Ha Tonka
Lil’ Ed & the Blues Imperials
Blue Mother Tupelo
How Far To Austin
and many more…….
My conversation with Mike Raspatello, Director of the Festival.