Ebola has been weighing heavily on my mind. From it hitting Ashoka, a friend who I met in Liberia in 2011 (and who’s attended Dutty Artz parties), to worrying about friends and family on the ground in both Sierra Leone and Liberia, I feel sort of stuck and unable to help while being in Brazil. However in the face of a seeming panic in the U.S. about the disease invading the country, and rehashed African stereotypes in the mainstream media, I find I can contribute something by writing… (more…)

Pioneering Brooklyn-based deejay DLife and independent music and culture writer Rishi Bonneville are teaming up to fill what they see as a void in global bass music online: mixes with a heavy dose of soca. While the Trinidadian art form has recently gained popularity outside of Caribbean, mostly for its 100+ BPM and its festive themes, most American, European and Japanese encounters with the music involve a few select songs. (more…)

Dance is an often overlooked, central part of many of the music scenes we are interested in at Dutty Artz. It has been important for us since the early days — when Matt Shadetek’s Brooklyn Anthem became dubbed Craziest Riddim and spread like fire amongst the Brooklyn-teen Dancehall scene. Today so many local dances and DJ scenes have such an intimate symbiotic relationship, so I’m gonna start a new column here to put some of the developments in musically-informed body movement back at the center of our attention: (more…)

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel” – Maya Angelou

And Maya Angelou made me feel some kind of way. From the moment I found I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings on a library bookshelf at age 12 to when I learnt of her many occupations throughout her life in her series of autobiographies – a young working mother, a waitress, a streetcar conductor in San Francisco, a magazine editor in Cairo, an administrative assistant at the University of Ghana, a dancer, a calypso singer, a screenwriter, an actress, a civil rights activist. What a phenomenal woman

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A couple of weeks ago @love4mybros shared an intriguing link with me on Twitter, so I followed her links and was pleasantly surprised to find what I could only describe as a collection of post-poems (a form reminiscent of one of my favorite bloggers, Word The Cat.) I enjoyed her personal, but playfully irreverent style, and I asked the person behind the words to add some of hers to these pages. So dear Dutty Artz readers, please meet and welcome Abhayam, with the first of what will hopefully be a series of contributions here on Dutty Artz. – Boima

Non yellow
non lime
non “dollar cab”
taxi?

Oui? (more…)

The NYTimes published the Ballad of Geeshie and Elvie about a little over a week ago and it made its way across my laptop screen, as articles like that tend to do.

It’s about “lost” musical recordings, gorgeous recordings, and a narrative of various writers and researchers tracking down information on female blues singers through their descendents, families and hoarders of information and recordings. It’s an interesting read, and beautifully written, but I found the beauty painful in a way I couldn’t articulate. There’s a lot of strands of thought about silence and visibility, about choices to step into, and out of, different kinds of limelight.  I was reading it, listening to the music and weeping by the end, without being able to untangle why. (more…)

img/Taea Thale (W Magazine)

I swear, this isn’t completely a humblebrag (not completely), but to have watched Mapei go from blog fave in the late aughts to hearing her new music blaring out of speakers from big electronic retailers and dollar van systems alike, is amazing. This wave of new interest – recently capped with a stop at Hot 97 – is much deserved, as the Liberian/Swedish artist has been releasing amazing music for a minute. (more…)

Venezuelan student protestors, Occupy Wall St, and equal screen time given to Harvey Milk and MLK — all in the video to The-Dream’s latest anthem?! Amazing. “Classism is the New Racism” he says. Now, a montage of various images of social struggle isn’t anything new, but this is The-Dream we’re talking about. He’s one of the most gifted R&B songwriters and producers out there, a bump & grind Michelangelo; he does not usually come near anything ‘political’. I hope we continue to see more of these moments– when the pop stars use their platforms to question rather than reinforce the status quo. “Black isn’t just a race anymore”, flashes on the screen as the last note dies down, “it’s a feeling and a place from which one feels isolated by the world of the governing elite.”

Terius Nash released this massive song last night, during the LA Clippers’ first game after Sterling got his NBA ban. An incredible use of timing. People left their TVs to watch this. Music suspended between the workaday realities. Music a bridge between what we know can be better and what happens to be here right now. (more…)