MLK

shepard-fairey-mlkThis one’s for all the dj’s playing out this holiday weekend. House legend Larry Heard aka Mr. Fingers  “Can U Feel It ( Martin Luther King, Jr. Mix)” is the classic go to for tonight and tomorrow.

 
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Lesser known and never played, Martin Luther King by Max Romeo is another good one. And how fitting is “Reconstruction”  with the inauguration around the corner?

Barack The Vote! Cambio! Si Se Puede!

obama-date-farmer-1Ok, so it’s been awhile. Over a year in fact. I apologize for the neglect, but I am back…just in time for election day. This is a big one, as we all know. I’m sure that all of you reading this all agree who needs to win this time around, so I’ll refrain from my temptations on the making any of the abundant jokes on Grandpa and his Trophy Vice, and give you what I know best…Music to inspire Revolucion, and to send you off to the voting booths. Let’s make this a landslide, so the dirty right wing tricks can’t steal another election.

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I’ve been rinsing out all my favorite Obama songs every night in the clubs I’ve been djing at in NYC, and a ton of people have been begging me for them. So finally, here are a few, until I get my mix done. The illest one by far is by one of my favorite Jamaican singers, Cocoa Tea. Check ‘Barack Obama‘. On the more latin tip, there’s the Mariachi band from Cali, Mariachi Aguilas de Mexico. Toca ‘Viva Obama‘ to show that Chicano support. Even the Irish have an Obama anthem… belt out ‘There’s No One As Irish As Barack Obama‘ in the pubs tonight after a few pints. Still rightfully pissed about Aristide getting ousted by our current administration? Manze Dayila wrote this’Change‘ for you! The next track I’m giving you just soley on how ridiculous it is. It’s a seriously amature hip hop group called A.P.T. who take Lil’ Wayne’s ‘A Milli’ and turns it into ‘Obama, Obama’. Hilarious! Finally Taz Arnold aka Ti$a from Sa-Ra Creative Partners killed it with the Isley Brothers sample that Ice Cube used for ‘It Was a Good Day’ (hopefully will be) and flipped it into what should be today’s anthem. ‘Imma Vote Obama Way‘.

On a side note, although I won’t get into all the reasons why Mccain and Palin should NOT win this election, as that would take forever, (not to mention I agree with 95% of all of Obama’s positions on the issues) I do want to say one thing. I’m really suprised on how quickly people have forgotten that Mccain voted against Arizona celebrating the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday 7 years in a row. (1983-1990). I’m not suprised that the Obama campaign hasn’t brought it up, as that would be stooping to McCain’s level, and they would be percieved as playing the race card. But I am suprised that people like Bill Maher, or Jon Stewart, NBC, etc… haven’t brought it up. I lived there at the time, and I remember it because there were a ton of bands that I wanted to see but couldn’t because they wouldn’t tour through Arizona because of this. Fishbone, Living Colour, and Public Enemy just to name a few. Just a reminder check PE’s ‘By The Time I Get To Arizona‘.

Speaking of Arizona, make sure to check my man Z-Trip‘s masterpiece Obama Mix that he’s giving away on his website. I know he remembers the Public Enemy boycot, so It’s fitting that he’s been killing it at all those Obama fundraisers now.

It’s rare that we get a politician or any leader for that matter, that is this poignant and who has the potential to change the world into a drastically better place. So, turn it up, get out and vote, and make your voice heard!

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Tropicalia

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Tropicalia ou Panis Et Circensis was the manifesto to the Tropicalia movement that Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil started along with Os Mutantes, Gal Costa, Tom Ze and others in the late 60’s. In addition to being incredibly outspoken against the military dictatorship that silenced any form of expression and stripped people of their freedoms, they also set out to revolutionize form in addition to content. In all artforms involved in this movement (Theater, Cinema Novo, Poetry, Visual Arts, Music, etc…) they welcomed outside influences influences and embrassed them. Brazilian music at the time was overly-nationalist and frowned upon any outside influence. Artists like Caetano, Gil, and Os Mutantes rejected this idealogy and borrowed heavily from artists like The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis, etc… Rogerio Duprat, the arranger of most of the albums during this time including this one, lived in France to study directly from Stockhausen and Pierre Boulez just as Quincy Jones did. It was through all these influences a new sound was created. This movement was shortlived though, due to the government jailing and eventually exiling Caetano and Gil on December 27th, 1968. The 2 lived in London until they were allowed back in 1972. Caetano wrote this about the effects of the movement in his book
‘Tropical Truth: A Story of Music & Revolution in Brazil’…

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“We had not attained socialism, had not even found its human face; neither had we entered the Age of Aquarius or the Kingdom of the Holy Ghost; we had not overcome the West, had not rooted out racism or abolished sexual hypocrisy. But things would never be as they had been.”

After Tropicalia there was complete acceptance to inovation in the arts in Brazil. People were granted more freedom of expression, and artists were no longer censored. The political system even got better. There is a great documentary that is available online that you should definately check out called ‘Brazil, The Tropicalist Revolution’.

There are a ton of Brazilian blogs out there that have an overwhelming amount of rare and incredible records. You can spend days at Loronix, Som Barato, Brazilian Nuggets, Quimsy’s Mumbo Jumbo, Sabadabada, Na Onda Do Samba, Sounds of the 70’s, J Thyme kind, Abracadabra, Som Do Bom, Capsula da Cultura and Toque Musical.
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Soul Jazz put out an incredible comp last year called ‘Tropicalia A Brazilian Revolution in Sound’. To keep the forum going and with an attempt to get more people involved, only registered users in the forum will recieve the link to this unbelievable record. So if you haven’t checked it out yet, go now…

EGREM: El Tesoro De La Musica Cubana

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This is possibly the greatest collection of Cuban music available. This 8 CD set tells the story of Egrem, (The Cuban government’s record lable) which was started in 1964 and is still going strong today. Thanks to Ry Cooder the studios and artists had an enormous spotlight shined on them a few years back with the Buena Vista Social Club project. By then, the lable already had thousands of releases and been in operation for over 35 years! This was and still is Cuba’s ONLY record lable since 1964. On one hand, it preserved the culture and harnessed it. The government pays the musicians to play the modest salary that everyone gets regardless if they are a doctor or street cleaner, and pays for all the recordings. Most of the musicians that you meet have no job, but to play music. Which is much better than most musicians have it here in the states! But, it is under their terms. Irakere had a rough time in the 70’s getting support from them because they had so many jazz and funk influences, and recently Cuban hip hop just won a 10 year battle for that same support. Again, as long as you don’t speak out against the government too much or embrace the capitalistic consumerism that is present in most of todays American hip hop.

The forum is coming along… there’s a link to an incredible Cuban Documentary (gracias Busquelo!) and few links to other incredible records. But it still needs to grow. So, in the tradition of the last post, this Egrem comp will be only available to registered users of the forum who have made at least 2 posts. I would act fast. I had to stop sending out the Si Para Usted comp as a request from the lable owner. The first registered users were lucky enough to get it though. The same could happen here. (Imagine…ok Fidel, I’ll take it down) So click on the forum button on the left hand side, register, and you will get the link sent to you…

Si! Para Usted!

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First off, I want to apologize for the lack of posts in the last 2 weeks. (I’ve been djing 5-6 nights a week these days) That’s why I’m going to make it up to you all… in a big way. I’ve just created a forum with the same theme of this blog. A forum to…post requests and links, get your questions answered, learn, inform, and discuss music and politics and everything in between. It’s time to get all of you involved… A true movement of the people! In an attempt to get all of you involved and get the discussions going, I will honor 1 request from the first 100 people who register. I do have 10,000 records and about 500 gigs of music to pick from, so if you request a few records, chances are that I will have at least one of them. The beautiful thing about all of this, is as more people get on the forum, the higher your chances are of someone having that record that you’ve been looking for for 10 years. Here’s the catch…you just have to become a registered user in the forum and make 2 posts (takes 2 minutes).

In addition to that, I will also send you the link to the comp ‘Si, Para Usted: the Funky Beats of Revolutionary Cuba’. Recorded in the 70’s these artists (Juan Pablo Torres, Irakere, Los Van Van, etc…) all were influenced highly by funk and soul and what was going on in NY at the time with Fania. Not to mention, most of the tracks on this are really difficult to find (good luck finding anything on Egrem in the states). Just click on the little forum button on the left side of this page , register, and I’ll send it to you…

Oye Mi Gente!

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Most of you have undoubtedly heard about Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez’s new film with director Leon Ichaso (Pinero) about the life of Hector LavoeEl Cantante‘. While I’m not really into anything that the 2 singer/actors have done so far, I think they’ve finally found their calling in this one. You can’t go wrong with a story about a kid moving from little Ponce, Puerto Rico to New York and becoming the one of the greatest Puerto Rican singers of all time. Willie Colon, Yankee Stadium with the Fania All-Stars in front of 50,000 fans…Throw in a huge drug habit (if you look closely you can actually see cocaine residue on his pinky ring), and many more tragedies unfortunately later in his life (I won’t ruin the movie for you), and you’ve got an incredible story.

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The best thing about all of this, is that all of his incredible music is now re-surfacing everywhere. Fania has released an incredible 2 Cd comp called La Voz. As well as a hits cd ‘The Originals: El Cantante’. Where every single track is a monster. Check out Aguanile for proof. There is also a nice radio edit of Louie Vega’s remix of Mi Gente. Who else are you going to get to remix that one? (If you didn’t know Hector happens to be Louie Vega’s uncle.) There is a 12″ coming out soon with an extended version and dub version on the flip that works much better on the dancefloor though. Definately cop that one! But until then, here’s the epic 11 minute version and the equally long dub version for all you serato heads…

and last but certainly not least…Sun of Latin Music is in the middle of posting the entire Hector Lavoe discography!!! Make sure you go and get all those Willie Colon records that he’s featured on as well as all of his solo records. Thanks Julien!

26 de Julio!

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Today marks the end of Carnival in Santiago de Cuba. It is hands down the most celebrated event in Cuba, and definately the best party. (We have inside sources here at ¿Revolucion, No? that have seen first hand in 2003, during the 50th anniversary). This date marks the beginning of the movement simply called El Movimiento de la 26 de Julio. This movement, led by Fidel Castro, brother Raul, and Che Guevara, originated from the failed attack on the Moncada Barracks, an army facility in the city of Santiago de Cuba in 1953. Fidel was then sentenced to 15 years in prison, but after serving less than 2 years he was released by Batista, who recieved a tremendous amount of pressure from the public to release him. Fidel reformed the movement in Mexico, which is where he met Che Guevara. Under this movement they overthrew the fascist Batista regime in 1959 and the Cuban Revolucion was born.

What happened after that is complicated, and the views vary drastically. Either way you look at it, the goal that the 26th of July movement had was admirable. It was to overthrow a conservative regime that only benefitted the rich and foreign investment (many straight out gangsters). The majority of the actual people in Cuba at the time suffered greatly from poverty. Who can disagree with taking over a regime like this? It’s a Movement of the People! The wealthy cuban-americans certainly can. Just go to Miami and start talking politics. But the fact of the matter is, the education system is better, the health care is renowned throughout the world (think about it there are no corrupt insurance-drug company scams), and noone is homeless. Unfortunately the embargo has caused a huge amount of suffering and the country is extremely poor because of it. At this point, I’m not sure what is worse. To be stubborn and fight the imperialism, or to open it up and have it look like Miami and Puerto Rico. At least the people would have more opportunities, right? I’m only saying that in theory the Cuban Revolution was an incredible thing. The embargo definately threw a wrench in the system, and corruption is always present. It’s difficult to be objective for many here in the states…we’ve got over 50 years of propaganda engrained in us, and not to mention all the angry ex-Cubans who had all their land and multiple homes taken away. (I for one, don’t think that one person should own 5 homes when there are millions of people homeless…but try saying that to people in Florida). I’m not saying that socialism is the way to go…I do feel it takes away peoples drive and therefore productivity. But I do believe a mix is good. Europe is a perfect example. National health care, education, getting rid of tax breaks on the rich… does that sound like a bad thing? Anyways, I’m ranting…I highly suggest going to Cuba right now, before it does open up. (I mean, uh….from what people tell me….)

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If you do go, (it’s simple, I hear you just go to another country close by and buy a ticket from Cubana in cash, and when you get there ask them not to stamp your passport. When you do go, bring lots of cash. Don’t use your credit card…otherwise they have proof that you’ve been there…so I hear) you will hear an incredible amount of music. The whole buena vista social club son thing is everywhere. Sundays, there are rhumba’s everywhere. Santeria rituals everywhere (especially in Santiago), and live salsa bands performing outdoors, and in clubs all the time. Los Van Van, Grupo NG, etc… There is also a big underground hip hop movement there. Granted some of them unfortunately listen to lil jon, and 50 cent, but most are into the conscious thing (i.e. Common, Talib Kweli, Dead Prez, etc…) Most of you know the Orishas, who just put out a new record Antidiotico which is kind of a greatest hits record with a couple of new singles/re-works. They’ve since moved to France though, so you won’t see them there. You should, however look for Anonimo Consejo, Aldeanos, Danay, Explosion Suprema amongst many many more. I’ve put together a collection of unreleased material that I got directly from them while…um…someone from the ¿Revolucion, No? office while he was there 2 years ago. He was there for a few weeks working with Danay y Aldo, after an introduction from Pablo Herrera. It is given to me in good faith, so I’ve just included one song from each artist as an introduction to them. So if you like what you here go out and support them. I’m actually working on original material with them right now, so look out in the future….

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For now, here’s what you get…

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