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Cali Funk Chronicles: Carioca Bass Tour With Zuzuka Poderosa
11/28/2010, 10:18 pm
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So earlier this month, I accompanied Zuzuka Poderosa on her first West Coast Tour from Sacramento, to San Francisco, to San Jose and Los Angeles.  Like two DIY reinas; we were on a super low budget, fighting the good fight, email signup sheet and CDs in hand, spreading the word about Zuzuka’s music.

I have to say – what a response.  Check out this awesome MTV Iggy ‘Bands We Like’ piece that ran recently after the tour – couldn’t have said it better myself:

“Not only is she bringing her own brand of the hot Brazilian underground sound to the rest of the world, but from her international vantage point she operates like a provocatively rhyming hurricane, sucking up global riddims from ghettotech to dancehall and flinging them back out at gale-force speeds.”

Back to the tour.  Zuzuka brought her specific brand of funk to the super community lovefest at Sol Collective in Sacramento {check out the fotos here, nevermind the strange article}…

Zuzuka Poderosa in Sacramento.  Thank you Estella Sanchez {foto: Amanda Lopez}

…down to San Francisco – where we ate lots of Papalote {it was a taco/burrito-only trip with some In & Out thrown in the mix} and caught Los Rakas rock with Collie Buddz {who Zuzuka calls Calli Buddz} at The Independent, laughing backstage as the guys talked about how they thought Zuzuka Poderosa was a superhero when they heard her name (not that far off, you guys!)…


…then she literally ignited the dance party at ‘Tormenta Tropical’ @ Elbo Room in SF (opening up for kindred worldwide futurist spirit, Spoek Mathambo}…big ups to Kush Arora for the hospitality and DJ Righteous Trash for rocking on the 1s and 2s (also in LA)…

The crowd packed into Elbo Room for Zuzuka’s set and STAYED moving throughout the night – success!

…then she brought something fresh to what I’m told is a culturally thirsty San Jose – thank you Sound Clash Productions, TurboMex, Kool Kyle and System D-128 who rocked the pre-show video installation that blew my mind…

Thanks Duey!

…and then made it down to Los Angeles {holla at a scholar, Craigslist rideshare! did i mention DIY punk rock ethics?}, where she rocked the KCRW/Mad Decent Monday ‘it’s a school night‘ w/ Spoek, who she then did some recording with the next day in Echo Park…

Zuzuka center stage in LA.  Check out all the photos here.

PHEW!  And that was it…Zu got back on the plane to NYC with all sorts of great energy, new fans and offers to return to California soon – mission accomplished.

2011 will be major, I predict – Zuzuka is involved in some groundbreaking projects to bring some of Rio’s Baile Funk pioneers stateside, more touring, getting together her debut album, and continuing to collaborate with amazing producers, all while fiercely rocking NYC like no other!  STAY TUNED!

Check out this track she did with DJ Rekha {acclaimed Bhangra DJ who has thrown the infamous ‘Basement Bhangra’ night in NYC for over 10 years now} which will be featured on Rehka’s debut album.  I can’t quite call it…INDO BA(i)LI(e) DANCEHALL CARIOCA BHANGRA BASS FUNK?!?  Just listen.



Blitz the Ambassador is ‘Native Sun’ | Baloji
11/20/2010, 5:44 pm
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Check out this great interview on Afropop Worldwide which is broadcast on Public Radio International (PRI) with Blitz the Ambassador – he discusses his last album ‘Stereotype,’ spending formative years in New York City, his changing sound and more.  Blitz is in Ghana right now {casting actors as we speak}, shooting  a short film/video and photos for this highly anticipated album, ‘Native Sun’ set to release in April 2011.

Blitz’s band, The Embassy Ensemble, is in the middle of a residency at Joe’s Pub in New York City.  Next dates are December 2nd – ‘Soul of Brooklyn’ Bed Stuy edition w/ Sarah White, The Stuyvesants, Len Xiang and January 4th w/ the amazing, Baloji {check out his excellent website here}.  I haven’t been
able to stop watching this clip, which was shot in Kinshasa, Congo:



Oscar Grant
11/06/2010, 2:55 pm
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This mural is beautiful.  Painted by Shaun Burner of the Trust Your Struggle mural collective yesterday in Oakland after the police officer who shot 22 year old father Oscar Grant on New Year’s Eve in 2009 was sentenced to 2 years in prison {with 1 year already credited to him}.  Full news and updates here.  Info on the Oscar Grant Memorial Fund.

From Mercury News:
Shaun Burner, 29, of Sacramento, who said he’s part of a national collective of mural painters called Trust Your Struggle, is painting a picture of Oscar Grant being hugged by his daughter, Tatiana. He’s painting Grant as an older man, as if he had lived.  “I am trying to render of the human side of him,” Burner said. “He was a person who was basically executed on video.”



Vibrations is what I’m Into: ‘The Embassy Ensemble Presents’ residency kicks off TONIGHT at Joe’s Pub in New York City!
11/04/2010, 4:49 pm
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NYC is in for an intimate, musical treat at Joe’s Pub!  The first installment of ‘The Embassy Ensemble Presents’ kicks off TONIGHT and will continue each first Thursday of the month with special guests (December is the BedStuy Edition w/ Sarah White & The Stuyvesants and January will be with Congo by way of Belgium rapper, Baloji).


“The Embassy Ensemble has been Ghana-born, Brooklyn-bred rapper/composer, Blitz the Ambassador’s backing band for the past three years. Blitz the Ambassador has toured throughout Europe all year and made a splash this summer opening up for Public Enemy at Central Park Summerstage and The Roots/Talib Kweli at Celebrate Brooklyn.  Now, accompanied by Blitz the Ambassador on percussion, The Embassy Ensemble step into their own spotlight, as the musical accompaniment to some of the world’s best new musical talents. Blitz will serve as your ‘Ambassador’ to view the world through sound with the The Embassy Ensemble taking the lead!”

This month, the guest is Grammy-award winning poet, J. Ivy.  This Chicago-based spoken word artist continues to inspire and tour the world, but if you’re like me, you will remember him from Kanye West‘s ‘College Dropout’ album on ‘Never Let Me Down.’