Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Learning to Enjoy the Moments...

Jazzmoss album and lessons on The art of Being Here and Now.
Too many times we do activities thinking of other stuff. I do it all the time. I am in the thick of things; my mind wanders away, pondering over what I “should be” doing. I am chatting to someone over the phone; thoughts slither away to the dinner am going to have, a movie I shall be watching next week. We have to constantly remind ourselves to live the second, the instant, enjoy the moment. Zen.
This life.

And that was the lesson of Jazzmoss album release party. So many years have passed since I experienced so much harmony and tranquillity. Everything was so blessed and in sync that Sunday afternoon on October 14th 2007...
You come in through the quiet driveway past small trees and shrubs straight to Charlton House. Charlton is of course part of Greenwich, and for those overseas, we are talking of London’s Greenwich Meridian Time; the district.

Huge, ancient building that reminds you old is gold. Green mellow lawns. There is a lady outside checking her hat and she points at the door. You almost think you are in a church, a museum, a castle. Up there on stage Jazzmoss musicians are finishing off their sound check. Empty chairs. Gill is darting here and there making sure everything is alright. Gill Swan is part of Global Music Fusion and Arts an organisation that brings you dances, drama, music, arts and people of various colours and ages. Gill is one the friendliest person on earth. When the phrase, good woman was made, the creator had people like her in mind.

Gill also found time to sing with the band...

Her son, gentle, smart and immaculate as usual, is at the bar. Alex Swan is not only ready to serve wine and food, he will be taking photographs and filming. That is what Global Fusion is all about. M-u-l-t-i-f-a-c-e-t-e-d-n-e-s-s.
One hears that boring question all the time: “How do you do so many things?”
Global Fusion answers that question. Multi-tasking, multi-talented-ness is natural and normal here.

Kit-Drummer par excellence, Trevor Tomkins.

The tables are spread with bites, flowers and bottles of wine, ready for guests. The stalls behind are divided into two. One side is the almost ritual corner stacked with the sacred Jazzmoss album, photos of the musicians making it. People in labour. The labour of love. Other side? Racks of Global Fusion manuals, CD’s , leaflets, more photos and DVD’s. Global Fusion does it all.

The visuals, the sounds, the goods. They work in schools, with the neglected, in cultural centres; they run projects, make films and record albums. And like the word Global they are global. All races welcome here…whoa! Global Fusion compilation album, Global Fusion produced albums of songwriters like Algerian Rai musician Farid Adjazair.

Louisa and Kaz :their collaboration streered this album, with she writing the songs and him the music.

The band has finished sound checking and now each vanish, to have a drink, smoke or chat. Kaz Kasozithe Ugandan multi-instrumentalist musician, pianist and arranger of this album is now strolling around chatting to whoever in sight; calm and relaxed. This is microcosm of the music and the ebony genial musician embodies the spirit. Tito and his pal are fidgeting with the sound controls. The unknown but very appreciated pilots of music engineering. I have known Tito for years. Since the days of Bar Lorca, that Latin club.

Tito, Ghanaian musician and engineer, who has been on the London scene for ages.

Backstage, Louisa is a bag of nerves. Without Louisa Le Marchand our said event would not have been.
“I have been thinking about this album for thirty years.” She says her voice trembling with emotion.
Anyone who has done anything with passion; be it preparing a meal for friends, driving fast to reach a destination, rushing to meet a fresh date, starting a job, company or heading to a new country for the very first time, would recognise this feeling. If you are genuine you will be feeling apprehensive, concerned and anxious; words that describe honesty. Louisa is here not only as musician but producer and moment maker.

Mix and Henry from the dazzling wind section, which stands out brightly in the CD.

The band members are at the back too.
I can see Liran Donin, the jovial funky Israeli born bass player and Trevor Tomkins kit-drummer extraodinaire…there is also guitarist Michael Casswell in the company of Mix Amylo. He and her; she and him; him on strings, she on wind instruments help the melody section, steering Louisa’s singing and Kaz’s crisp piano.Henry Lowther trumpet player, is not absent either.
These guys are living legends of British jazz. Art Theman, for example, who is one of UK 's top Sax players has been playing since the 1950's and has worked with Jack Bruce, Alexis Korner as well Stan Tracey (best UK small group of 1995)not forgeting touring and recording with Charlie Parker's contemporaries, Red Rodney and Al Haig.

Art Theman in action while Henry Lowther waits for his turn...

Charlton House is suddenly filling up and the Sunday sunshine is painting the gardens and windows. Autumn leaves, October rhythm and blues, Champagne and Wine. Otis Redding must be smiling at us. Later when I say to people the wine was free, they go:
Yes. Jazzmoss made it’s own quiet history, herstory.

Guitarist Michael Casswell here with Kaz after the fantastic gig.

Yes; now the place is filling up. People of all sorts; women, girls, boys, men, old guys, young guys; middle aged mammas teachers, models, fellow musicians, voyeurs, painters, jazz lovers, they are all here. I can see André Mathurin, the bass player from St. Lucia with Farid Adjazair. They are always talking music these two.
I am almost thinking Miles Davis has risen from his grave when I realise it is none other than Henry Lowther blowing the place away on his trumpet. The concert is in motion and people are munching and sipping wine and the sun is singing with the occasion. Oh Yes. “I sip Your Lips.”

I sip your lips, a taste divine
Heaven and earth, they are all mine
Your eyes shine bright, yes they do
Like crystal clear, excitement rides, happy tear.”

Reena (second left)with family and Gaz;their late brother Sukh, kit-drummer, amazing musician and fantastic person was a founder member of Global Fusion.
Alex Swan is busy filming; Kraw has just sauntered in, helping on camera as well. Kraw is the Capoeira artist, a young, robust cool, calm but energetic man from Uganda. His eyes spell danger and love at the same time; I am looking at him taking in the jazz with a stride. It reminds one of sun, jazz, coconuts, samba and bullets. (Capoeira, if you didn’t know, is a Brazilian martial art, disguised as a dance).


They are all here.
The music sifts in like dew drops. I have been present to newly released album promotion gigs and here and there you will hear people chatting, getting up to leave to the loo; things of the sort. Nobody leaves. They are all seated from intro to end. And encore. All I can compare this feeling is mornings. With it’s dew and wet grass sprinkling your sandals or bare feet. The best thing about Jazzmoss is it’s endless whimper, whisper, whim. Those musicians should advertise good wine. That drummer, Trevor Tomkins, should be watched by students and even experienced kit players with egos the size of mountains. Tomkins never fights with his kit, he is there to accompany the melody and rest of the team rather than fight or compete. What a team; what a day.

You can always tell which song went well with an audience. For Jazzmoss it is “Looking Back” which has the perfect combination: groove, mellowness as well as reflecting Louisa Le Marchand’s gift for song-wrtiting, poetry and prose. When she sings; the tension is gone, her bedroom, boardroom, living room, pecking soprano voice is a murmur; reminding us to always enjoy the moment.

When I look back there are so many things
That I find hard to remember
Where has the time gone and where will it go?
Where has the time gone and where will it go?
Cause there is love and hate, happiness
Bad things turning to good
And there is the long road that’s hard and wide
And being misunderstood…”

Visit www.jazzmoss.com Or ring Global Fusion Music and Arts for bookings and music products. Tel +44-208 8589497
/Mob. +44-7976-941435

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Pics from Jazzmoss album launch in Greenwich London...

Families, fans and friends of Global Fusion.

Families and friends of Jazzmoss and Global Fusion. This is basically the food crew who made all the grub possible. Talitha Le Marchand, chief chef(third from left and heavily pregnant) with Gaz and Sanchia Le Marchand(in red hat).

It is time to leave for bass player Liran Donin. Even the light has had enough.

Alex with Cassian Le Marchand; the bar guys who had a busy afternoon, did a great service AND forgot to smile.

Kaz with Essence Kasozi, his singer-songwriter spouse and fantastic musician/ performer was present too.

Algerian singer songwriter, Farid Adjazair, whose album, has been produced by Global Fusion Music and Arts did not miss. Here seen with Andre Mathurin, St. Lucia jazz-pop bass player; plus your blogger in blue.

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Friday, 12 October 2007

Jazzmoss CD launch this Sunday : WINE AND MUSIC for all...

"If you love jazz then you will love Jazzmoss..."
So says the flyer of this Free Lunchtime Jazz gig, Sunday 14th October from 1-3pm at Charlton House , Charlton Road, Charlon village, London SE3...
I am told the concert is open to all ages and families.
I have been listening to Jazzmoss, a creation of two heads and souls: singer songwriter, Louisa Le Marchand and piano player Kaz Kasozi; backed by a Six piece band.
Art Theman on Sax, Henry Lowther on Trumpet and Flugal, Trevor Thomkins on Drums,Mix Amylo on Clarinet and Sax, Liran Donin on bass and Gill Swan, backing vocals.
More details contact Hazel Brown of Global Fusion Music and Arts, Tel. (+44) 208 858 9497 0r (+44) 7976 941 435.
Like one of my favourite tracks on the album "Soul Gypsy" says:
"As I see death in the eyes of a stranger
And life from the light of the sun..."

This is a balanced album combining well written lyrics and cleverly crafted music. Very rare balance these days.

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Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Interracial Kissing...

Of Spokes and Spiders...
The other day I was telling some children why the Internet is called the web; literally an image of a spider’s house. A maze of lines each connected to the other.

So tonight I am checking out stuff on You Tube. I am looking at South Africa’s new hot video guy Khaya. He is asking “Should African Americans Call Themselves African Americans…” and this discussion is expanding …I listen to Alphacat (an African American) explaining the history of this term and he asks if there are Irish Americans and Italian Americans why not African Americans?
While wallowing in these clips, a couple of video widgets pile up on the side bar amongst them Oprah Winfrey’s “70% of African American women are single.”
This is You Tube style, the new face of television and telecasting. Gives you instant links related to what you are watching; meandering instantly and continuously, like a spider’s web.

I click on that and there are even hotter debates.
While on it another link crops up on the side bar and a white guy is explaining in a four minute shoot: “Why black women are great choices.” Like most You Tube video casters he has a nick name: Wm1with1bw4life…
As I watch his clip several more slither in.
I click: “Interracial Kissing.”
A black bloke is kissing a white woman with red hair. It is about 2 minutes long, quite intense kissing and you got to be to over 18 to check this. It was posted 4 months ago and has so far attracted 484 comments.
I go through the comments and I am confronted by the most horrific views. Opinions that mirror the human crisis. Because of the vile nature of the comments, the writers, use fake names. It is impossible to neither list all comments nor write all without a slight editing; but chief, is the contrasting nature of the views. Each thought stimulates a reply and with that like a true net (and spikes and spokes) a chain of more replies. Proving one reality. Racial tension and racial disharmony is always lurking in the shadows.
What interests me is how this simple “Interracial Kissing” clip has created such deep rooted sexual and racial prejudice and feelings. And the way these thoughts build up in four months proves these issues shall keep on mushrooming as long as this clip is on air.

“They should be shot and thrown in the river.”
“Damn. She has got a nice tongue.”
“Long tongue.”
“Fucking whore and fucking nigger.” (In Capital letters).
“I love to see a hot white girl with a black man; wish I could see what they do next.”
“This is disgusting”
“How old are you?”
“Her father would be proud.”
“Where can I find women with a tongue like that?”
“It’s so wonderful couple.”
“White power. Burn in hell, nigger lover. Your time will come when the white man regains control of North America. You will be first in line to be executed.”(This has Swastika signs too).

“Whatever is your power when your daughters are sleeping with our sons…?”
“Why are white people always talking about “we are loosing the country ...” if you are loosing who the fuck is winning? It sure ain’t us.”
“You are a nigger, so you will never understand …when my girlfriend says blacks smell she means “it’s kind of like when you go to the zoo…”
“Ten blacks broke into a house and raped a woman while forcing 12 years son to participate. I can list 100 more events.”
“Shut up fucking racist with micro dicks. I am dating black men and they are much better.”
“This is hot; she is probably not even white, maybe Hispanic, or Puerto Rican who knows.”
“No respectable white woman will lower herself like that. Kissing a black person is like sticking your tongue down a dog’s asshole.”
“He doesn’t seem to enjoy it…his eyes are partially open…might be gay.”
“I am really curious about black guys. My friends sneak to be with black guys and afterward they would sneak back to their white boyfriends. One friend told me she didn’t think she would ever get back to her normal tone because she thought her vagina was stretched to the max…”
“All the people that gave bad comments on this are white men that are jealous. What is interracial kissing anyway? What is the big deal? Kissing is kissing. Why this video? They did nothing special.”


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Monday, 8 October 2007


Andy Jones film on Zanzibar music legend Bi. Kidude
While going through the various reviews regarding “As Old as my Tongue” the new documentary on Bi Kidude, I was captivated by London's Guardian piece, Sultans of Swing, in January 2007.
"Zanzibar's music traditions are, it seems, becoming more popular among foreign fans than the young local people who take their home grown music for granted.”

And no wonder while 50 plus people sat and watched the film at Arcola Theatre there weren’t any Tanzanians to witness the occasion.

Part of it is the low key manner in which the ongoing African music, mine and music movement festival has been. Part is, Arcola theatre, as beautiful and cosy as it is, isn’t your normal cup of tea for Tanzanian communities in London. Theatre going is not a habit for your average African struggling to make money to send home,anyway.
Having said that Andy Jones deserves praise for bringing the sunshine of Zanzibar to Londoners. The 66 minute documentation of this fascinating woman takes you through stuff you never hear of anymore.

Andy (centre) flanked by Onyekachi Wambi, moderator of the film screening (right) and a fan, Peter Neal.

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Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Oldest Living Performer in the World : Bi. Kidude...

What is the secret of a long life? Tablets? Botox? Money? Implants? Probably Andy Jones, the Englishman who just completed a documentary on the life of Bi. Kidude, legendary Zanzibar performer, could help us with answers. Bi. Kidude, is a rare female gem. She is a subject of As Old as My Tongue to be shown this coming Sunday, October 7th, at Arcola Theatre, East London, part of the ongoing "African, Mine and Movement" film festival.

I last saw this amazing lady in 1990 while on tour with her. By then we heard she was "very old"...by old, I mean, past her 80's....

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