Music Frees All Festival for Scotty Hard with Antibalas and more
The 2012 Music Frees All Festival will take place one BIG night at the wonderful Brooklyn Bowl in Williamsburg, and all of the proceeds will go to the Scotty Hard Trust. Teaming up with OkayAfrica, the Music Frees All Festival will bring you performances by Antibalas, Bajah & the Dry Eye Crew, Prince Paul, DJ Monk-One, EMEFE, Little Shalimar, Superhuman Happiness with special guests, DJ Pres, and Billy Martin's Fang Percussion.
On February 16, 2008, as Scotty was leaving a late night session at his Brooklyn studio, a stolen car broadsided the taxi he was traveling in, paralyzing him below the chest, sending him into complicated spinal reconstruction surgery and hospitalization. To friends and admirers alike, Scotty is a true inspiration, and indeed, his spirits remain high. With his positive outlook on life and sense of humor fully in tact, he has made great progress. But there remains a long road ahead, and Scotty Hard continues to need our support.
Music has the power to move people, to make people smile and dance in hard times. Dancing is an important release from everyday life, a way for the body and the mind to be free. Music that can move people - funk, afrobeat, reggae, hip hop, and the like - will never die away. The Music Frees All Festival for Scotty Hard will bring together these bootyshakers and groovemakers to celebrate music and life, all to raise money for Scotty Hard, one of the most inspirational producers and people in the music business today.
Using the revolutionary blueprint of afrobeat as a launching pad, the dozen-strong members of Antibalas weave a rich tapestry of latin, jazz, classical, funk and soul into their rhythmic, horn-driven mix. Always looking to push their unique sound further, Antibalas recruited heralded musician/producer John McEntire (Tortoise, Stereolab, Tom Ze) to produce 2007's Security. The album was received w...ith critical acclaim and high praise from critics and fans alike. As distinguished as their recordings may be, Antibalas has truly become renowned for their relentless live shows. The band has averaged over 100 concerts a year, incessantly traversing the U.S, Canada and Europe in venues large and small be they the sweaty clubs of Brooklyn or in front of hordes of festival goers around the globe in exotic places like La Reunion and the Canary Islands. It's not by chance the Village Voice exclaimed "their music is right on time," while The New York Times, the New Yorker, Rolling Stone magazine and a slew of others have taken serious notice. Last year, Antibalas spent their time working as arrangers, orchestrators, composers and performers for the Off Broadway show "Fela!".
Bajah & The Dry Eye Crew
After packing the national stadium for performances in their home country of Sierra Leone and contributing music to the Academy Award–nominated film Blood Diamond, African superstars Bajah + the Dry Eye Crew are poised to conquer the global airwaves with their international debut album (due out in fall 2009) and their unique sound, which blends the swagger and funk of hip-hop, the passion and energy of dancehall, and the socially conscious vibe of reggae. The group has generated so much buzz in the hip-hop world that major stars including ?uestlove and Black Thought of The Roots, Talib Kweli, K'Naan, Res, and El-P have contributed their vocal and/or production talents to the upcoming release, helmed by the production team Fyre Department (whose credits include 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg, GZA, Talib Kweli, Justin Timberlake). With this great collection of creatives, Bajah's own star is rising as the Sean Paul of West Africa with the social conscience of Bob Marley and Fela Kuti.
So much more than just another hip-hop outfit, Bajah + the Dry Eye Crew have been likened to another band renowned internationally for speaking out against political and social injustices: U2. In Sierra Leone, now emerging from the throes of a brutal 10-year civil war, Bajah + the Dry Eye Crew are hailed as "the voice of the voiceless," speaking truths on behalf of those people who have no political power, spreading messages of peace and reconciliation, outing corrupt politicians, and inspiring the disenfranchised youth to pursue their dreams. "We always speak about real stuff, like the suffering, what is going on," says the group's frontman, Bajah. "So most of the youth, the fans, are going crazy over it, because they think it's the reality— that's how it is. So they show mad love at times."
Love is another theme of their music, and the joy and love their legions of fans have shown them comes through in their energetic, powerful live performances. The Crew—which consists of Bajah, A-Klazz, and Dovy Dovy in the U.S. and the Jungle Leaders (Funky Fred, Dell, and Sly) back in Sierra Leone—started writing, recording, and performing together in 2000, and quickly rose to the heights of fame in their home country, where everyone from young schoolchildren to village elders have come out to support Dry Eye's music and message—often going to extremes to show these national heroes love and respect. "When we have a show in the national stadium, you see these guys making a long line, taking off their T-shirts and putting them on the floor so we can walk on it as a mat to go on the stage," says A-Klazz. "Yeah. Red carpet," Bajah adds with amazement. "A lot of love, man. For real."
In Sierra Leone, the term dry eye is an expression of boldness. "The kids that always try to ask questions and want to know things are the dry eye. If you always coming up to talk to the elder people, trying to ask them certain questions, they say, 'Oh, you, you're dry eye,' like, 'You're bold. You're too bold!'" Bajah explains. "But we just use dry eye because we decide to talk about the bad things going on. Cause the leaders, we take them as our fathers—but we still gonna say some things, the reality. We just gonna stand, no matter what. No more tears in the eye. We're just gonna stay dry eye and say something. You understand? That's strong.
"We talk about different things," Bajah continues. "We talk about love. We talk about life, social problems. Music is about life." And now, Bajah + the Dry Eye Crew are sharing their unique perspective on life and spreading their message of hope, love, and inspiration across the globe through their vibrant, infectious music and their electrifying live shows. And the world is listening...
Beginning his career as a DJ for Stetsasonic, rapper and producer Prince Paul has lent his skills to albums by Boogie Down Productions, Gravediggaz, MC Lyte, Big Daddy Kane, and 3rd Bass, among others. Paul's big break came when he produced De La Soul's 3 Feet High and Rising album. Shattering the acknowledged rules of hip-hop production, he sampled not only funk, but all types of music to create fresh and original backing tracks. By throwing in comedy sketches as well, Prince Paul and De La Soul completely ushered in a new era for hip-hop. In 1994, Paul returned to rapping, joining RZA and Stetsasonic member Frukwan in Gravediggaz, a side project that debuted with 6 Feet Deep. He also began working with the new elite in underground rap, recruiting the Automator, New Kingdom's Scott Harding, and Spectre for his debut solo album, 1997's Psychoanalysis: What Is It? A Prince Among Thieves followed in 1999, and later that year Paul formed Handsome Boy Modeling School with the Automator to release the album So...How's Your Girl?. His own Politics of the Business, another concept album that was more bitter than biting, surfaced in 2003 (a year after a second Handsome Boy Modeling School album), and was followed by 2005's Itstrumental, as well as the archival compilation Hip Hop Gold Dust
Superhuman Happiness is an apt moniker for the much buzzed about Brooklyn-based band whose been turning heads for their high energy live shows and a series of well-received 7-inches and 45s. Dubbing their sound “physical, cinematic, dance rock,” Superhuman Happiness’ joyful spirit is palatable, vibrating collectively through melody and rhythm. The band’s founder Stuart Bogie brings Superhuman Happiness a deep well of musical experiences from which to draw upon. He has performed as an original member of Antibalas, a reoccurring saxophonist in TV On The Radio, a full-time component of Iron & Wine and a featured soloist in the Broadway musical FELA! Likewise, Bogie’s band-mates Eric Biondo, Jared Samuel, Luke O'Malley, Ryan Ferreira, Nikhil Yerawadekar and Miles Arntzen have resumes that stretch across The Phenomenal Handclap Band, Passion Pit, Nicole Atkins, The Roots, Holly Miranda and Foals. On October 11, Superhuman Happiness will release their debut collection entitled The Physical EP on Brooklyn indie record label The Royal Potato Family.
Kelly Pratt is Bright Moments.
He's the guy up at night by himself, stitching songs together in his New York City apartment all winter. There's a special art to making an album in the spare seconds that the rest of a regular life can't quite reach. Recorded track-by-track-by-track with Pratt on most of the instruments in his apartment studio during the New York City winter of 2010, this slow-motion musicianship became Natives (Luaka Bop).
Natives may be your first official introduction to the music of Bright Moments but if you have spent time with some of the most beloved indie albums of the last decade, you'll quickly realize that you know him well. He is the multi-instrumentalist whose trumpet sparks across so many of Beirut's songs and whose harmonizing vocals is a central component to the band's robust live performances. He has also shouldered everything from flugelhorn to flute to bring Arcade Fire's Neon Bible to life, and was part of the horn section that LCD Soundsystem used during its sunset days.
DJ Monk-One, aka Andrew Mason, has DJ-ed in New York City for fifteen years and is a founder and Contributing Editor of Wax Poetics Magazine. He has released numerous best-selling mix CDs and records of his own compositions through his independent label, Names You Can Trust as well as holding residencies at WBAI-FM and many of the finest, funkiest parties in New York City. As one half of the renowned production squad Greenwood Rhythm Coalition Monk has done remix and original work for labels in the US, Japan and Europe and has DJ-ed across the globe.
EMEFE (em-ef-ayyy!) is a band lead by Miles Arntzen, a young musician based in New York City. Miles got the group together in December of the year 2009. Inspired by his musical heroes in Antibalas, who encouraged him to study the life and music of Fela Anikulapo Kuti, and Medeski Martin and Wood, who taught him about the importance of the individual and the self in music, Miles started recording demos of the tunes that became EMEFE.
It is important to note that Fela Kuti, the man who created the music we play, lived in a different time - he made his music as a response to the injustices that ruled everyday life in Africa (specifically Nigeria) in the 70's and 80's. His music was about not becoming zombies under the authorities. He sang about not letting the corrupt government officials bring his people down. So why does EMEFE play this music? In the same way that Fela used this music as an escape from and confrontation against the authorities, EMEFE uses it to escape the inner authority inside all of us, the doubts and worries that are there inside our minds every day. Our mission is to use our music to help ourselves and our listeners let go of those trivial negatives that bring us down. We want to fight the inner authorities that we put on ourselves, each for our own specific reasons. With deep respect for Fela Kuti, we are excited to play the music he created - afrobeat - because, simply, it makes us happy. We hope it makes you happy too.
EMEFE also takes inspiration from the improvised music made by Medeski Martin and Wood and other areas of music and life to produce music that makes the listener want to dance in a happy frenzy. Check out our afrobeat funk tunes and give some feedback!
The band could be called an afrobeat band, with influence from Fela Kuti and Antibalas. It could be called a funk band, with influence from Sly, MMW, The Roots, and the Dap-Kings. But what's in a genre? We are, quite simply, EMEFE.