Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Deekticionary Word #1 Fecsia

Another new column for me. It's basically words I make up. Ever notice that there are all these phenomena out there for which there are no words? So, every time I have a feeling, thought, idea which lacks an adequate vocabulary word, I put my thinking cap on and come up with a brand new term for it.

fecsia (n.) -- the moment after a bowel movement and urination when one forgets if he or she has flushed the toilet. (Derived from the English fesces and amnesia)

Example sentence
His boss went to use the stall right after him, and he had a brief moment of fescia before he left the bathroom.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Corinne Bailey Rae: Peaceful Renditions

My interview with the one and only...

In the video for her 2006 breakout hit “Put Your Records On” off her Grammy-nominated self-titled debut, Corinne Bailey Rae is bicycling through the woods on a sunny day. A red ribbon flails off one of the handles. Her tone is upbeat. Everything is irie. Fast-forward a few years to the video for “I’d Do It All Again,” the lead single to Rae’s follow-up album The Sea. All of a sudden, the British chanteuse is in all black. The bike is gone, replaced by a solemn gait, and her tone reduced to reserved optimism.

Corinne Bailey Rae is very familiar with triumph and tragedy. In 2008, She won two Grammys as a featured artist on Herbie Hancock’s River: Joni Letters and lost her husband to an accidental overdose weeks after. Although The Sea reflects that turmoil, her newest release The Love EP balances it with a batch of cheerful covers. Corinne sits with OKP and breaks down her inspiration for each track.

“I Wanna Be Your Lover” (1979) Prince.

“I never heard it the year it came out because that was the year I was born. I probably heard it sometime in the ’90s at a party. I remember thinking wow, this song is hype. It’s really thrilling. I like the playfulness of the lyrics, ‘I wanna be your father and your sister, too.’ Sexy Prince stuff. I remember hearing it out and getting into him when I went to see him play in London. I saw him play it at Abu Dhabi. It just reminds of the few times I’ve met him.”

About her own version, Corinne says “We wanted to make it a little bit trashy. We used a live drummer, where it’s not so tight. It’s a bit looser. I really wanted to bring in the live elements with that late 70’s, early 80’s production. I wanted it to be fun. I felt like my last album was really intense to record and really intense to sing night after night. This is kind of an escape from that. Sing the kind of thing I wouldn’t normally sing and be playful.”

“Low Red Moon” (1993) Belly 

“It reminds me of being in an indie band. I was the lead singer and played electric guitar. My two best friends played bass and guitar, and my boyfriend at the time played drums. It just reminds me of being a teenager, doing your own thing. Your music is really simple, but people get into it. You play these songs in the club and people keep coming back. You’re building a little reputation. It just really felt homemade, winning acceptance and growing a fan base. It’s that quiet-girl, family, do- it-yourself era.”

“Is This Love” (1978) Bob Marley

“My earliest memory of this song is when my mother was cleaning the house, maybe a Sunday, and you can see all the dust particles in the air because of the light going through the windows. I remember exactly how my front room used to be set up in my parent’s house. I just remember my mother cleaning to this song off of Bob Marley’s Legend. She loved listening to Bob Marley. Now what I wanted to do with it was just appreciate the song. A lot of people think of the righteous vibe and sweet voice, but it has really gorgeous and poignant lyrics. That’s how I felt about this song. Someone has got nothing to offer you but their single bed. It’s like you’re charming, young, teenage, early twenties and you got no money. It reminded me of that phase in my life so that’s why I wanted to cover it.”

“My Love” (1973) Paul McCartney

“So the first time I heard ‘My Love’ was this year. I was invited to play at this event for Paul McCartney. He was honored at the White House. He was winning the Gershwin Award. Stevie Wonder was there. I was playing with Herbie Hancock. Dave Grohl was there and Elvis Costello, all these famed musicians. The night before, we watched some classical performers play some McCartney songs. I heard this piece played by a string quartet and I was real blown away by it. It had this soft ascending melody. I listened to it, watched it on YouTube, and saw Paul and Linda sing it together. When I was covering it, I really wanted to bring in some other influences. Stevie Wonder gave a speech where he wished him love. When I was recording this song I was really thinking about Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder, how long their relationship has lasted. I wanted to bring some Stevie elements into the song, those Stevie soulful harmonies.”

“Que Sera Sera” (1956) Doris Day

“The version of ‘Que Sera Sera’ I know is the one by Sly & The Family Stone. I love Sly Stone. He is one my favorite singers and one of my favorite performers. I just love his whole vibe and I love the fact that they were these black hippies and white soul musicians. It’s a nice mixture. That’s how I feel about my background. The band I play with is a mixture of men and women, black people and white people. That’s an important thing to us. We’re into rock music. We’re hippies who like soul music as well. Sly and the Family Stone are a massive influence to the whole band. I was playing this song in the break between the two albums when I wasn’t working. I was playing it off the radar. When we started playing live, I knew this was the song I wanted to bring into to the set. It wasn’t one of mine but I felt like it was really heavy.”

-Sidik Fofana

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Hip-Hop SAT Word #1

New column for me.

mercenary n. one that serves merely for wages; especially : a soldier hired into foreign service 

"Lace em with lyrics that's legendary, musical mercenary/For money, I'll have these motherfuckers buried" -- Tupac, Ambitionz as a Ridah 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Egypt Editorial

Interesting piece from the Boston Globe...

Obama should take steps now to help speed Egypt’s transition

PRESIDENT OBAMA delivered the right message Tuesday evening when he stressed that only the Egyptian people can choose their leaders, but also said he had just told President Hosni Mubarak that “an orderly transition must be meaningful, it must be peaceful, and it must begin now.’’ Since Mubarak had just told Egyptians he intended to remain in office until presidential elections are held in September, Obama’s statement was a pointed rejection of Mubarak’s stubborn stand — and a gesture of support for Egyptians who have taken to the streets to demand an end to Mubarak’s regime.

Especially after yesterday’s attacks by pro-regime forces against protesters, Washington can no longer ignore the contradiction between its longstanding partnership with Mubarak and Obama’s pledge to “stand up for democracy and the universal rights that all human beings deserve, in Egypt and around the world.’’ To show he means what he says, Obama should appoint a special envoy — or perhaps a few — to open up channels of communication with the disparate groups and factions in the Egyptian opposition.

There is no shortage of veteran diplomats and others who have contacts among the various Egyptian opposition figures and groups. The Obama administration needs to engage with them all — including the Muslim Brotherhood. One consequence of Mubarak’s silencing of nearly all political opponents is that their precise values and aims are not widely understood. Without judging the groups itself, the United States can help identify the new players in Egyptian politics and what they want.

America will not be able to determine the outcome of the current upheaval in Egypt — nor should it try. But the administration retains influence with senior military figures in Egypt who are likely to be making the key decisions about a political transition. Obama could win a modicum of trust from the new players in Egyptian politics if he can persuade the military leaders who are currently in power to immediately implement reasonable demands for reform coming from the opposition.

Obama should be ready to back two demands in particular for constitutional changes. One would eliminate the requirement that presidential candidates be members of the council of parties deemed legal by the Mubarak government. This article of the constitution prohibits both Muslim Brotherhood members and the military brass from running. The other key revision would be removal of the article that allows a president to run for an unlimited number of terms.

It will not be easy to overcome Egyptians’ mistrust of Washington for having turned a blind eye for so long to Mubarak’s police-state repression, but Americans, Egyptians, and their neighbors all stand to benefit if Obama makes that effort.