Paul Simon's 'Graceland' was one of the few albums me and my mama agreed on. On road trips it was Bob Marley, Tracy Chapman, and Graceland. That combo; Paul's smooth, clever, abstract poetry and guitar and Ladysmith Black Mambazo's vibrancy, the power of their harmony, the joy and the depth, the playfulness and heart! I felt so free as we flew down the highway all singing 'boy in the bubble' or 'call me Al'.
I few years ago i started to fulfill a hunger i had always had, a longing to know my ancestry, to feel another language in my mouth, to celebrate the way my people did when they knew the land was a relative, when they spoke the language the land showed them, when they intuited the way their souls wanted to live...
I found the most satisfaction in music.
Dene Peyote songs, Sanskrit mantras, Lakota flute prayers, Dogon star ritual drum circles, gaelic hymns, anything that came from a direct connection to this earth, these stars, this heart, this life...
I started weaving these prayers into my beats, and i would dance around my room for hours each time :) grinning, praying, laughing, sometimes crying, sometimes making up words or singing the languages my mind did not speak. In July of 2011 i spent a month in Peru with some curanderos and i returned with the jungle in my veins, the mountains in my stance, and the people in my ears... i spent the next few months noticing how indigenous we all are, how we gather in circles to smoke, or freestyle, or just t alk, how we pour out libations for our loved ones who have past, how much we use story to teach and understand each other, how we claim the 4 directions (or at least one :) Most of us unknowingly carry so many of the traditions of our ancient families everyday...
For a few years now, i have been blessed to sit in circle with young men in juvinille hall a few times a week within this awakening my brother Gerardo Marin and I began to learn rites of passage rituals, sage ceremonies, flute and drum meditations, and explorations celebrating, honoring, mourning and expanding our whole lineage remembering what had been stolen from us to make us real slaves.
And as we awaken to our ancient wisdom we notice how interwoven it is in our lives, slightly twisted, slighty confused under imperialism and capitalism but alive and well, and patiently waiting for us to recognize it again
So here is an album born of this awakening, born in the hearts of the medicine carriers in Peru, in East Oakland, in Berkeley, in South Africa, and in the constellations around us, born of our entire lineage dancing with our descendants into a beautiful future...
released July 22, 2012
i.Ameni the BeatMan is the Beat behind many of the favorites from Los Rakas, Ise Lyfe, The Attik, Brwn Bflo, Jennifer Johns, Bambu and more. He keeps us on our toes with an eclectic resume of his own works from folk to thoughtful oakland scrapper music.
His latest project, 'The Ladysmith Black Mambazo Beat Tape' combines 3 time grammy award winning South African accapella men's choir 'LadySmith Black Mambazo' with South African Activist/Poet Lebo Mashile and i.Ameni the BeatMan's base heavy pure percussive beat-tation. An amalgamation of afro beat, dance hall, 808 hip-hop, and something uniquely i.Ameni. It will make you dance, it might make you want to trace your ancestry or learn your native tongue, and you might even start to see ancient zulu kings and queens riding down international while you slap this.
Narrated by Lebo Mashile
ft Ladysmith Black Mambazo
Scratches by Dj Treat U Nice
Mixed by Dion Decibels
Mastered by Cory Campbell (T.K. Other Realm)
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