Tag Archive | music

Guest Blogger Devlon Waddell: Music

I found myself, on an ‘empty bucket’ day, with the first real chill of the season blowing against me, losing myself. I was on the bus stop and sad for no tangible reason. Then, something happened. My head nodded rhythmically. I tapped my foot in the same time. It was comforting. It was familiar. It was music.

When I consider music, an artform so pervasive in my world, as an advocacy tool, I cannot help but conjure images of a motley crew of young folk who have been paraded in front of a crowd and are desperately in search of something that remotely resembles harmony. Such an image almost always touches my heart. It is, indeed, a beautiful thing to witness. But what of the heart-rending lyrics of Soul music? What of the deeply percussive reverberation of House; the aggression of Jazz; the inevitable uplift offered by Gospel; the audacity of HipHop, Rock and Metal? Where do those independent artists, who, for pennies, bleed their truth on any available stage, fit into this paradigm of advocacy and justice?

Peter Bruun, in his September 13th post, said this in an attempt to define “art”: “I believe the notion of art is itself a construct; a cultural invention to imply certain shared understandings on value, meaning, and status…”. Assuming this construct (art) is indeed about the assignation of value, and there is value in music as a form of entertainment (as evidence by the gross amount of money moving through the mainstream industry), why, then, am I not, often enough, engaged in discourse regarding the spiritually restorative value of music?

I wonder what happens if we choose to see those things, like popular music, as accessible avenues in our pursuit of justice. If an aggressive song puts me in an aggressive mood, and likewise, a love song is evocative of love, shouldn’t I leverage that state of being?

While we are not necessarily creating out of a sense of social consciousness, it still strikes me as appropriate that we might leverage said creations, nonetheless.

Profile of the Week: Amorous Ebony

Amorous Ebony, is a homegrown Baltimore artist and a current theater major at Coppin State University. As a singer, songwriter, poet and actress, Ebony has combined her art and talent with her dedication to serving the community, working with youth, and spreading love.

Ebony is a youth cultural organizer for the Youth Resiliency Institute and aids in the coordination of the annual Youth Arts Harvest Festival.

Ebony leading a march for the Youth Resiliency Institute

Ebony leading a march for the Youth Resiliency Institute

Ebony has performed as a part of CrE3sol, Sunshine’s Models on Wheels, KIPP academy, and throughout Baltimore.

Check out Ebony’s Art+Justice profile!



**If you would like to be featured as our profile of the week just go to artplusjustice.org and put yourself on the map!**

Profile of the Week: Mosno Al-Moseeki

Mosno Al-Moseeki is an international singer/songwriter and a native of Sudan. Mosno uses his music to bring a positive image of Sudan to the United States, and a positive image of the U.S. to Sudan. Mosno’s music is a pentatonic blend of acoustic rock known as Desert Electric mixed with his own Arab-poetic lyrics.

He is currently working on a full length album entitled “Novella” which is in part inspired by his cultural migration. His song “System Down (#SudanRevolts)” caused his websites to be banned in his home country. Mosno donates the proceeds from the song to Girifna (we are fed up), a non-violent protest movement based in Sudan.

He will be performing at Artscape this weekend on Friday AND Saturday!

Friday July 19th, 2013 performance with Sahffi Lynne of goatfish for the Musicians of Mercy’s Conscious Cabaret at Falvey Hall at 5:30pm

Saturday July 20th, 2013 performance with Spyros as part of the Greek Nubian Collective performance at Falvey Hall at 7pm

**Want to be featured in our profile of the week? Go to artplusjustice.org and put yourself on the map!**

Listening to the Universe

By Lea Gilmore

I never planned for it to be this way.  I was a little round black girl from Baltimore who had dreams and hopes that flew way beyond the stars.  For me, that is all they were, dreams and hopes.  As an only child, I spent a lot of time in my bedroom with my records (yes, LPs and 45s!), singing the entire soundtracks to A Chorus Line, Cabaret, The Wiz and Jesus Christ Superstar in my room, never thinking that singing professionally was something I could actually do, because I didn’t see any little round black girls on album covers or on TV.

My mom took me to see “Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope” an all-African American musical that starred none other than the amazing Nell Carter.  OH….there I was!  Seeing that show at the Morris A Mechanic Theatre at eight years old changed my life!  I needed to see what I could be.   In my 20s, I performed in 45 musicals and plays, because I had seen what I could be!  In me, I hope other young women saw that they could redefine the boundaries, or at least try like heck to do so.    I was ‘telling him I wasn’t going’ in “Dreamgirls,” I was the voice of the plant, Audrey II, in Little Shop of Horrors (we call it the lesbian version), and in another production of Little Shop of Horrors, I switched it up and I was a member of the Greek chorus (aka ‘The Supremes’), singing about a man eating plant, and on and on.

Today, I have traveled all over the world, singing and lecturing about social justice, peace and nonviolence, but I am still that eight year-old little girl who felt empowered because she saw someone like herself doing what she wanted to do more than anything in the world.  Oh sure, I was a policy analyst, directed a few organizations, talked economics… but I wanted to sing!  I wanted to act!  I wanted to be a damn spectacle sometimes!  And when I didn’t, I felt little pieces of my soul die.  So, since I am kinda fond of my soul, I do what the universe has called me to do.  As should you.

Will you be that person that small child looks at and says, “Yes, I see me!”?

Toni Morrison and Bob Dylan to be Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom

Toni Morrison and Bob Dylan have been named as two of 13 recipients of  the Presidential Medal of Freedom.   In a statement from the White House last Thursday, President Obama said, “These extraordinary honorees come from different backgrounds and different walks of life, but each of them has made a lasting contribution to the life of our Nation.  They’ve challenged us, they’ve inspired us, and they’ve made the world a better place.  I look forward to recognizing them with this award.”   The  honorees  will be awarded and celebrated in a White House ceremony in the late spring.

Morrison’s 1993 Nobel Prize for Literature marked the first time an African American woman received the award.  In her address to the Rutgers class of 2011, she said, “I know that happiness has been the real, if covert, goal of your labors here. I know that it informs your choice of companions, the profession you will enter, but I urge you, please don’t settle for happiness. It’s not good enough. Of course, you deserve it. But if that is all you have in mind—happiness—I want to suggest to you that personal success devoid of meaningfulness, free of a steady commitment to social justice, that’s more than a barren life, it is a trivial one. It’s looking good instead of doing good.”

In praising Dylan’s five decades of music, the White House noted his “considerable influence on the civil rights movement of the 1960s,” and highlighted his 11 Grammys, including a lifetime achievement award and his  2009 National Medal of Arts.

%d bloggers like this: