WildSeed Music (NYC, ATL, South Africa)
entertainment with a thesis
Dark Black Girls (Not Complexion, Complexity)
February 14, 2014 12:48 PM PST
I started compiling music for “Dark Black Girls” in Atlanta, early 2012. I wasn’t quite sure of what direction the music would head in after deciding on the first song, “When I Grow Up” by Fever Ray, a song introduced to me by the hyper-talented Faatimah Stevens, who created the visuals for the sound. In the end I learned that each song was a different iteration of reggae music, more specifically, the one drop. The mix was completed in May 2012, days before I moved to Montreal, Quebec for a stint. I decided that I would release it during a different season because I felt like the sun’s constant presence would betray my intentions for this sound. The “Dark” in the title of the mix is less about skin complexion and more about complexity. The darkness that I hear in this music speaks to that rich place in which we develop our most sacred ideas and private joy. I wanted this to be music for the highly reflective. Winter music. Hibernation and the promise of spring possibility music. Music that honored the collective of peculiar and queer folks who circle me. Tastemakers ignored even within the village. A mix inspired by conversations I’ve had with brand new familiar people. So, in the spirit of sensual excellence and erotic intelligence, I offer you ‘Dark Black Girls,’ a celebration of the investigation of purpose and existence. Listen closely, there’s a beautiful danger in each track. With radical curiosity, follow me now seen? Seen.
Faatimah Stevens: Artist Statement
Navigating through many genres of music is like tasting new succulent cuisine. Finding the latest in international sounds coincide with trying flavors so fresh you transport there, near the epicenter of it all. Even though surrounded by the traditional waves, my sound cloud is quite foreign in origin. Exploring elements from Sweden, specifically Fever Ray (i.e., Little Dragon), has kept my plate hungry for more. Songs like "When I Grow Up" adhere to a familiar quality yet the vocals capture a new frontier. Haunting, personal, captivating. There lies a dash of each within this mixtape. For the cover, Grace Jones was my muse. Up close and personal, her beauty is in your face. Another voice on the mixtape, Grace fulfills the essence of a Dark Black Girl. Daring, bold, red. My creative style is a linear quality that contours features, bodies, even landscapes. The face of Grace is heightened, converged into layers of playful lines, each forming the dark beauty that resonates within her.
Get Free Major Lazer Feat. Amber Coffman
A New Little Dragon
Here Comes The Rain Again (Featuring Sly And Robbie)
700 Mile Situation Res
Nightclubbing Grace Jones
Launderette Vivien Goldman
Why Carly SimonFunk, Faith, Praise (Fly Away Trayvon)
July 14, 2013 09:15 AM PDT
I never intended to release this mix. I considered it to be unfinished, in need of a polishing. Today, I heard it and it allowed me the space to breathe, to remember, to let go, so in that sense, it is perfect and I’m offering it AS IS. AS US. For Trayvon.
Two years ago when Gil Scot Heron died I compiled and mixed music that spoke to the depth of joy and despair that filled his life, and ours as we witnessed his decline. Halfway through the mix I was confronted by the truth of Gil’s life—it represented the collective experience of the people who brave “Winter in America.” For centuries we’ve layered our bodies to survive, to endure this cold. And through activism, scholarship, art, meditation, movement, faith, we stand, sometimes shattered, but always fierce in our ability to release the pain through Gospel, Bluesy Soul, Slum Beautiful Funk. And to Marvin Gaye, Phyllis Hyman, Brenda Fassie, Whitney Houston, Don Cornelius, Vesta, Michael Jackson, Tammi Terrell, Billie Holiday, Donnie Hathaway and all the others who died on the front lines of black music, I call on you and the legacy of your voices and your fingertips, to offer us a way to move through it, beyond addiction, beyond depression. Thank you for speaking truth to power, and for providing the rhythm to accompany the resistance, the healing. This mix allows Shirley Ceasar, The Clark Sisters, Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, Tramaine Hawkins, Esther Phillips, Gil Scott Heron, Nina Simone and even Richard Pryor to help us better understand what it means to channel the anguish through art.
Funk, Faith and Praise speaks to the historic tension between the secular and the spiritual realm in Black music, and the wear and tear on black bodies in a space that institutionalizes our dehumanization. And while sometimes our reactions are self-destructive, usually in an attempt to numb the pain, we stay singing and clapping, witnessing the lifeless bodies dance into the new world. Transcendence.
I watched your face Sybrina Fulton. Black mama. Fierce. Angry and Graceful. I thank you for your demonstration of dignity. And for you Tracy Martin, Black Father, I felt the knowing in your weeping eyes. Because of your family and this experience my belief is that we will love each other through this, more fiercely than ever, more clearly.
In the loving, gracious and tender words of Adrienne Maree Brown, “Keep going Trayvon, don't look back here, nothing here for you but our stranger's/familiar's love twisted tonight to a grief. Go on home, this place doesn't know how to love you. Axe.”
Adrienne’s words held me close last night. Shortly after learning about the verdict, I was fortunate enough to see her message, right before I hit that point of feeling utterly powerless. Through her words I found a way to live between the space of history and the future. Listen to the mix, then see, feel more here:
Dr. Horace Clarence Boyer (Gospel Historian, Musician)
February 14, 2013 07:16 AM PST
The Love Space Demands, is a choreopoem published in 1991, by Ntozake Shange. In it she returned to the blend of music, dance, poetry and drama that characterized For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide....Her work has been described as sexy, discomforting, energizing, revealing, occasionally smug, and fascinating.”
This is true.
Ntozake Shange forces the kind of reflection that creates discomfort...growth. The first time I heard the words "The Love Space Demands" I paused and dropped everything. That's it. The space, the time, the clarity, the beauty and the pain that holds the hand of growing.
The process of creating a mix is an arduous one. I spend at least 3-6 months listening to each song repeatedly until I figure out the arrangement--the bigger picture. Driven by some of the hardest lessons learned by the heart, my house music rendition of Shange's choreopoem "The Love Space Demands" asks listeners to consider the inspiring and transformative range of emotions that one can feel when riding through that journey called love. And then there's the letting go and doing it all over again. And i'll do it again. Every time. Heartbreak is an opportunity. Each song tells a story of contradiction, understanding, betrayal, yearning, unconditional love, tenderness and surrender.
Last night, around the same time I completed this mix, my best friend, Mr. Asadullah Saed created a new life with this poem. Divine Timing. I read his words and realized they were the liner notes for this mix. Enjoy. Press play, tune in. See track list at the end of the poem...
The Feeling After (poem)
I am fighting to be grateful
but again different
kiss your hand for me
because I can't
getting out of bed
I want us to be better
dancing in circles
1. Love Cannot Eric Ericksson
December 12, 2012 09:59 AM PST
"The School of Badu" is a mix (compilation) inspired by one of the sexiest encounters I've had to date. Amazing what a deep soul connection with another human being can do to and for an artist. The heart is a beast. Take a ride through some of my favorite live performances and studio songs that, in my opinion, exemplify Erykah's work as the multi-dimensional, soul stirring and body moving performer that she is. Listen carefully, then pass it along. Dallas, stand up. embrace....Southern Cosmology: Love Letter to Atlanta
July 06, 2012 12:48 PM PDT
I moved to Atlanta from Brooklyn in March 2011 as a part of a Great (Re) verse Migration. Since being here I've been inspired by the calm of the breeze, the soul of the people and the movement on the dance floor. In circles we dance to house music, fed by rhythms that translate ancestral languages. Bass. With this mix I want to give back to ATL the love I've received, the creativity that's swinging from the history of these trees...and this dirt. Red Clay. My ancestors, my future. Take a musical journey with me as I mix some of my favorite songs from the past 3 months, some of it South African and all of it soulful and deep. I write you now from an airplane on my way to Aruba to teach babies what it is to be rooted in Music and versed in Technology. Arts Rules Aruba 2012.
From the people who bring you The Chitlin Circuit: Deep House in the Deep South, we now offer to the space Southern Cosmology: Love Letter to Atlanta.
dj lynnee deniseThe Afro Digital Migration: House Music in Post Apartheid South Africa
March 08, 2012 03:54 PM PST
The moment I finished this mix, I put my headphones on and danced...to the entire thing.
South Africa moves me.
There cannot be a separation between the music, the history and the people.
With the support of a Jerome Foundation Travel and Study grant, I paid a visit to South Africa, determined to understand The Afro Digital Migration: House Music in Post Apartheid South Africa. I wanted to explore how house music took root in South Africa and shaped its national identity. The impetus for this research was my belief that electronic music in the African Diaspora is an under-explored cultural product. As a DJ, I was driven by the clean production and seamless mixes I heard; as a dancer, I wanted to witness the intricate body movement inspired by house; and as a scholar, I wanted to figure out how, in the face of state-sanctioned surveillance and harassment, the music flourished.
Special thanks and love to Clive Bean (Soul Candi) and Thokazani Mhlambi (Umtshakadulo) for answering my questions and arranging gigs for me to have a platform to express my Black American house experience and pay respect to the South African sound on the decks.
This mix is dedicated to Winnie Mandela, Busi Mhlongo and Miriam Makeba, three women who looked white supremacy and patriarchy in the eye and danced. Power is always subjective, never absolute. All Freedom Fighters come through the bodies of women.
Every single song selected was created by a South African producer/DJ. I've also featured the remixes of some of my favorite producers from the US (Spinna, Abicah Soul and Rocco).
1. Eish Anganzi-- Master Lucra (Johannesburg)
WildSeed Cultural Group provides "Entertainment with a Thesis"
lynnee deniseMighty Real: The Sound of Tomorrow
September 03, 2011 08:00 AM PDT
The second scholar provides Haiku poetry inspired by Episode 2 "Mighty Real: The Sound of Tomorrow. This is none other than the author, poet, activist, lover, freedom fighter, professor, emcee, freestyler, vocalist, edutainer, tease, father, big brother, publisher, friend, papa bear, curator, scholar, raptivist, public intellectual, spiritualist, house-head: Mr. Tim’m West.
Jimmy B-boy blues
We close our eyes
September 03, 2011 05:02 AM PDT
WildSeed Music NYC is proud to present its first ever double mixed cd, High Holy Days: The History and Future of House Music.
Episode 1 ”“The Children of Baldwin,” explores several periods of classic house where I mix both Chicago and New York City underground gay club hits to highlight the infant stages of house music. This compilation focuses on the music of two popular clubs credited with initiating the globalization of house music: Dj Larry Levan’s Paradise Garage Club in New York City and DJ Ron Hardy’s Music Box in Chicago. Many dancers, djs and listeners from the early house music community have succumbed to HIV/AIDS. When mixing this compilation, I made a conscious decision to honor the people who built the temples where “the children” dance, but did not have a chance to tell there stories. Both Ron Hardy and Larry Levan died in 1992 from complications related to intense drug use, although Ron Hardy’s death was also HIV/Aids related. One critical point that I’ve discussed in my project is the impact of addiction and the HIV/Aids epidemic on house music culture. Through this mix I hoped to have brought voice to the untold stories and visibility to the people that generated a global musical movement. This podcast premiered during the Atlanta Black Pride, one of three of the largest festivals in the country, in 2011. My aim for this release was to offer more than a party to celebrate our lives, but to lift the names of those who have passed on and to recognize what LGBTQ contribute to American culture.
Episode 2, “Mighty Real: The Sound of Tomorrow” pulls on current producers who incorporate elements of classic house, but also push beyond the borders of acceptable dance-floor grooves. Sylvester helped shape a soulful, yet formulaic genre of house music that focuses on spiritual-sexually-inspired falsetto vocals and driving, repetitive disco rhythms. This mix is dedicated to his artistry, fearlessness and commitment to authenticity.
Liner notes for High Holy Days feature two of my favorite scholars and house heads:
The first is Thokazani Mhblambi, A South African ill-disciplined musicologist; shifting between diverse creative genres, from classical music to sound art and display. I will interview Thokazani in South Africa to discuss electronic music (Kwaito and House) in the Post Apartheid era. The following excerpt was pulled from his article “Freedom in the Age of Democracy” and best describes the sentiment behind “The Children of Baldwin” mix.
“Music’s fluidity, its ability to exist in-context and in many other contexts simultaneously, can provide a stimulus towards the direction of freedom. But for house music to do this, it needs to be rescued from the context of excess and accumulation and loaded with transformative content of liberation. It needs to be freed from the ghettoes of global cultures of consumerism, which seek to marginalize the contributions of the church, gospel music, African spirituals, gay-club culture all of which have been foundational to its origins.”
The second scholar provides Haiku poetry inspired by Episode 2. This is none other than the author, poet, activist, lover, freedom fighter, professor, emcee, freestyler, vocalist, edutainer, tease, father, big brother, publisher, friend, papa bear, curator, scholar, raptivist, public intellectual, spiritualist, house-head: Mr. Tim’m West.
Jimmy B-boy blues
We close our eyes
June 03, 2011 11:19 AM PDT
Liner notes for this mix are brought to you by my brother and friend Asadullah Saed Muhammad. His words speak truth to heart. Authenticity meets history for a future of honesty and peace.
I want to love
Intro: Who Wants to get Free--Paris Hatcher
May 07, 2011 05:20 PM PDT
Drum and Bass is Black Music…
On the 30th anniversary of the 1981 Brixton riots, a historic reaction to the hostility and xenophobic environment that informed the policing of African and Caribbean immigrants, I examined the ruthless desire to keep Britain White. I pulled from Sam Selvon’s 1956 novel “The Lonely Londoners,” which tells the story of the Caribbean community’s communal response to the English brand of white supremacy and their cultural preservation as a means for survival. Additionally, I sought the political, social, and musicological context of a sound that takes root in Sly and Robbie’s Reggae Music—Drum and Bass. Inspired by these histories, I’ve created a musical essay that epitomizes my long-term relationship with Black Britain and the parallel strategies of resistance that Black Americans have employed to attain basic human rights. Shout out to drum and bass pioneers Roni Size, Goldie, LTJ Bukem, Kemistry and Storm, Krust, and all the other sons and daughters of “The Lonely Londoners.”
I'm excited to introduce a new series of liner notes. As a part of the WildSeed Cultural Group Independent Artist in Residency program in Atlanta, Georgia (2011-2012), I will be working with my favorite thinkers, writers, cultural critics and scholars to help contextualize my mixes. The first to launch the series is Esther Armah, a fierce Black British writer, speaker, moderator and leader in the emotional justice movement. Thank you Esther for being willing to participate in this project and for helping to make "Entertainment with a Thesis" a reality.
Liner Notes by Esther Armah*
We made it. Not bodies. They were battered, bruised, brutalized, buried. The drum beat landed. Intact. Slipped unnoticed between bodies, souls, minds carried from West Africa’s shores via the West Indies. Landed unbent and unbroken in this new land - West London. We were the language left when mother tongue was dragged screaming from its source, we were the unshed tears of the middle passage. Company came. Sought us out. Hands grabbed at us from Empire Wind-rush bodies, carried to this place from Caribbean islands. A new language, new accent from this new nation called England. Black backs bent and shaped by British labor, sweat collected from a generation invited and despised in the same breath. Our mamas and daddies, silent and deadly. That racism DNA pounded and flattened, birthed into frustrated beats and a new generation. Defiance became the breath of those born to these Caribbean bodies mangled seeking refuge from racist rants. This was now Black Britain. Sound changed. Started to gather new notes from new generation. April 1981. Brixton streets, injustice exploded, caught fire, consumed and cleansed. Remnants of those unshed tears from that middle passage put the fire out on the streets, left it burning within Black Britain. Fragments of rage wrapped in that drum, dirt from boots pounding those streets caught between notes. Fragments, pieces, floated, landed. Sound from snatched pieces of leftover 1960s signs that screamed: ‘No Niggers, No Dogs, No Irish’, sound dragged from police officers’ brutal batons before they rained rage on nappy heads, sound from untold injustice - all fashioned into language. Called it bass. The sound from an unwelcome land. The double consciousness in the mirror whose reflection you couldn’t see. Mangled beauty drenched in righteous rage. Drum n bass. 30 years on from Brixton; bodies, boots, batons echo, haunt, haint. Now. Press play.
So honored to write these liner notes. Drum n bass are the fragments of us blown across waters and oceans, drum n bass was for the journey where it all got too much, where there was no voice, it is the emotionally unspeakable - the soundtrack of diasporic journeys. Love, love, love this Ms Lynnee...
Esther Armah is a Black British award winning international journalist, an author, playwright, radio host, company director and public speaker. She has worked in the US, UK, Africa. She is the founding director of Centric Productions, a multi-media production and creative marketing company based in New York, London and Ghana. In the UK; she has worked in print, radio and television. In print, she has written for 'The Guardian' newspaper, 'New Nation' newspaper, and in 'Pride' magazine. In radio, she has worked right across BBC radio as a documentary maker, an investigative reporter and a radio host. In tv, she has appeared on Sky Television and BBC television.
Music that reflects my interest in uprocking, poplocking, world traveling, book reading, movie watching, youth developing culture. The WildSeed Sound.
Known for her eclectic mixes of classic hip-hop, soul, funk and deep house, dj lynnee denise of Wildseed Music draws from Black social and political movements to present the dynamic range of music of the Diaspora. lynnee denise was resident dj for “Schomburg Nights” at the Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture and for the Central Park Skaters Association. She performed in the Orchestra of DJs at the Studio Museum in Harlem and in the Sekou Sundiata and Days of Art and Ideas conference at Harlem Stage. Working as the Sound Designer for the Excavating Motherhood exhibit at the Brooklyn Arts Gym in 2007 sparked lynnee’s passion for combining visual arts, youth development and music production to reflect her broad interest in the concept of humanization through music. lynnee has been a guest dj at internationally recognized venues in New York City including Joe’s Pub, Mocada Museum, Deity, Sutra, Knitting Factory, Harriet’s Alter Ego and Rush Arts Galleries. She's spun along side underground and internationally known artists such as Ursula Rucker, Joi, Saul Williams, MC Lyte, DJ Beverly Bond, DJ Spinna, Eric Roberson, Amplified Music (UK tour), Martin Luther, Julie Dexter, Cody Chestnut, Malena Perez, Larry Heard (Mr. Fingers) and Donnie. She was the feature dj at Spelman College's “Take Back The Music” and Toni Cade Bambara conferences in Atlanta. lynnee works as the Director of Programs and Services for exalt youth, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to transform the lives of youth involved the criminal justice system. She holds a BA in Sociology from Fisk University and an MA in Ethnic Studies from San Francisco State University.
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