Posts Tagged ‘I’m New Here’

the revolution will not be…the same.

May 28, 2011

“Gil Scott-Heron died”.

Musically speaking those words have the impact of someone saying the moon just fell from the sky. How could it be true?

For over four decades Gil Scott-Heron asked the hard questions, writing and singing his reality large in poignant, vivid poetry. He held up a mirror to the world around him and implored society to take a long look at itself in that reflection.

The first music of his I remember hearing was on the radio in Denver, where I grew up. At that time (1970s) the town was slowly emerging into a more urban identity. As the population makeup was shifting to include many more Mexican, black, Vietnamese and Hmong families, Denver could no longer be as readily stereotyped by its white cattlemen and horse ranchers and the many who didn’t make it quite all the way to California.

One of the sure signs of the cultural shift was the colorful current of new sounds that overcame Denver’s airwaves in that era: for a while we had a dedicated full-time jazz station; for soul, r&b and disco there was KDKO “the hot sauce”; and AM radio had 95 KIMN – which played its share of the Eagles and Little River Band and Bread, for sure. But they also played Gil Scott-Heron. And, later on, the Sugar Hill Gang’s ground-breaking Rapper’s Delight. I heard The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, and Pieces of a Man, and Whitey On The Moon as a pre-teen and I think I knew on some level in this music I was also hearing the sound of my own future, a soundtrack for a lifelong path of curiousity about poetry and politics and human rights and passionate voices of all musical kinds.

I saw him perform just one time, at the Blue Note in NY City two summers ago. It was in 2009, another pivotal time in his life when he’d just been released from prison after serving a term for possession of crack cocaine and a couple of pipes. His new album “I’m New Here” was ready to be released and he was as feisty as ever.  While the complete Blue Note experience was of mixed success, the music that night was everything I possibly could have hoped for after three+ decades of loving his music.

Thank you Gil Scott-Heron.

He wrote about it so vividly because he lived it. Poet, junkie, pianist, inmate, political observer, singer, civil rights icon, the grandfather of hip-hop: the man. Gil Scott-Heron died last night. He was 62. His message to – and about –  humanity is timeless. Love endures.

May we each honor his memory by finding our own unique voice, and using it. Loudly.

playlist #103 (2/22/2010)-black history month

February 22, 2010
World of Music
Pgm #103 – Black History month with the sounds of Africa, change, and revolution
Catch the show on Mondays 3-5pm EDT – at 105.9FM in Burlington, VT or online at The Radiator
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Nas with Youssou N’Dour & Neneh Cherry: Wake Up (It’s Africa Calling) / Open Remix / http://www.intrahealth.org/open/ (download) – (USA / SENEGAL)
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Chuck Bernstein: Kindred Spirits / Delta Berimbau Blues / CMB Records 102844 – (USA)
Nikki Giovanni: A Greater Love of God and Country / In Philadelphia / Collectables 6508 – (USA)
Mahalia Jackson: I’m Going to Wait Until My Change Comes / Amazing Grace / MCA 20489 – (USA)
Keb Mo’: America The Beautiful / Yes We Can / Hidden Beach Recordings 70 – (USA)
Guelel Kumba featuring John Sinclair: Njulli (Fulani Journey) / Afrissippi: Fulani Journey / Knock Down South 11 – (SENEGAL / USA)
Gil Scott-Heron: Me & The Devil / I’m New Here / XL Recordings 471 – (USA) *NEW*
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Andy Palacio & the Garifuna Collective: Amuñegü (In Times to Come) / Wátina / Cumbancha 3 – (BELIZE)
Chabuca Granda: Callecita Encendida / Lo Mejor de Chabuca Granda / CD-DIS 26040 – (PERU)
Chiwoniso: Rebel Woman / Rebel Woman / Cumbancha 8 – (ZIMBABWE)
Gil Scott-Heron: New York is Killing Me / I’m New Here / XL Recordings 471 – (USA) *NEW*
Les Amazones de Guinée: Demembalou / Wamato / Sterns Music 1106 – (GUINEA)
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Perú Negro: Taita Guaranguito / Jolgorio / Times Square Records 9035 – (PERU)
Black Uhuru: Freedom Fighter / Now / Mesa Bluemoon Recordings 79021 – (JAMAICA)
Nina Simone: Revolution (Parts 1 & 2) / Forever Young, Gifted and Black / RCA 74413 – (USA)
Nas: America / Nas / Def Jam 115050 – (USA)
Marvin Gaye: Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler) / What’s Going On / Motown 3746353392 – (USA)
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Mahotella Queens: Masibambaneni / Mahotella Queens / Label Bleu 2571 – (SOUTH AFRICA)
Madagascar Slim: Take Me Home / Good Life Good Living / MS 901 – (MADAGASCAR)
Novalima: Chinchiví / Afro / Mr. Bongo Classic Recording 41 – (PERU)
Sly & The Family Stone: Poet / There’s A Riot Goin’ On / Epic Legacy 82876759112 – (USA)
Ram: Marassa Elu / The Rough Guide to the Music of Haiti / Rough Guide 1067 – (HAITI)
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Rokia Traoré: Sara / Bowmboï / Nonesuch 79852 – (MALI) *Coming to the Flynn Main Stage on 4/18*
Ali Farka Toure: Okatagouna / Ali Farka Toure / SonoDisc 8448 – (MALI)
Langston Hughes: The Weary Blues / The Voice of Langston Hughes / Smithsonian Folkways 47001 – (USA)
Sierra Leone Refugee All Stars: Tamagbondorsu (The Rich Mock the Poor) / Rise & Shine / Cumbancha 18 – (SIERRA LEONE) *NEW – coming out on March 23rd *
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Marva Wright: Change is Gonna Come / After the Levees Broke / AIM 5015 – (N’AWLINS)
Omara Portuondo featuring Jorge Drexler: Gracias / Gracias / World Village 479021 – (CUBA)

i’m new here

February 21, 2010

For the last show of February we’re celebrating Black History Month.

This week World of Music puts the new Gil Scott-Heron release I’m New Here front and center, along with reflective poetry by Nikki Giovanni, Langston Hughes, and the big voice of Mahalia Jackson. We’ll also hear from the wide African diaspora including Afro-Peruvian and Afro-Cuban sounds, and recordings from Central America, America, and Africa itself.

World of Music is a far-flung culture of blues, poetry, jazz, and world music every Monday from 3-5pm ET on the Radiator.  Online, or at 105.9FM if you’re listening in Burlington, VT.

me and the devil

February 13, 2010

If you like Gil Scott-Heron’s music, message, and his individualism, you must also respect his place as a modern vanguard of artistic and personal dissent. It’s all part of the same package, the artist and the man as one. In a recent interview with NPR, Heron spoke to his recent time in prison:  “I have not recovered from anything. I did 18 months in one stretch and a year one time. That’s a small enough price to pay for all the crimes I committed.”

Defiant, original, and uncompromising, Scott-Heron has just released I’m New Here, his first recording in a decade and a half. On the inside of the CD’s front cover is a personal manifesto for listening to the recording. That’s your introduction to the experience, and it starts before you even start listening to it. The artistic power behind “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” is as straightforward and relevant as ever:

LISTEN TO IT FOR THE FIRST TIME UNDER OPTIMUM CONDITIONS.

Not in your car or on a portable player through a headset.
Take it home.
Get rid of all distractions, (even him or her).
Turn off your cell phone.
Turn off everything that rings or beeps or rattles or whistles.
Make yourself comfortable.
Play your CD.
LISTEN all the way through.
Think about what you got.
Think about who would appreciate this investment.
Decide if there is someone to share this with.
Turn it on again.
Enjoy Yourself.

Gil Scott-Heron


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