Here’s a new segment of Destination Harlem TV. In this excerpt I talk about the immigrant history of Harlem, the Great Migration, and the beginnings of the Harlem Renaissance. Check out the website to catch up on the previous full Episode 2 if you missed it before, and to connect with the show to get updates about forthcoming episodes.
When the world was in darkness and darkness was ignorance, Along Came Ra!
Today is the 99th anniversary of Sun Ra‘s arrival on Planet Earth.
“You have lost your celestial rights. You are chained and bound to Planet Earth.”
“You are children of The Sun. Each and every one. Is a child of The Sun!”
Destination Harlem TV is now online! I will be appearing on the show as the history segment host. In this first episode I give some background on the early history of Manhattan and Harlem, with much more to come in the next episode. You can watch the first episode and all future episodes at http://www.destinationharlem.net/
“Destination Harlem TV showcases the wonderful people and places that make Harlem what it is today as well as the history that is shaping its future. Episodes will showcase several aspects of Harlem such as Dining, Nightlife, Interviews, History and Community.”
Check it out, and enjoy!
I am saddened to hear about the loss of Richie Havens. His music means so much to me, as it does to so many people around the world who are mourning his death today. I first heard of him back in 2002, shortly after I moved to New York. I was watching a documentary about Woodstock, and I saw this bearded black folk singer furiously strumming away and singing his heart out while drenched with sweat. I didn’t fully realize what I was watching then, but later I would come to realize the significance of his set at Woodstock. I sought out more of his music and became a huge fan over the next several years. I got the opportunity to see him perform live a couple of times, at B.B. King’s Restaurant, and on a beautiful summer afternoon outdoors at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s R&B Festival at MetroTech Center in Brooklyn.
One of my dirty little secrets is that I fiddle around on the guitar sometimes, and I learned to play it in the unorthodox style that Richie Havens plays. It is a credit to his incredible generosity as an artist that I know how to do that at all. Richie was always very open about giving away his secrets. He posted lessons on his old website and released an instructional DVD showing everyone how he figured out his own unique Open D style of playing. He was a remarkable human being, and I hope that people will continue to be inspired by his courage and creativity for years to come.
Today felt like the first real day of spring here in NYC. It was the kind of day that allows me to lower my defenses and finally accept that spring is really here. Being a native Southerner I am always on guard against the late season winter blasts that sometimes happen up North. My defensive strategy against the winter doldrums is never to get my hopes up about warm weather until we are well into April. Yes, I know The Purple One reminded us that “Sometimes it Snows in April,” but I think we may finally be in the clear on the East Coast. And so, I celebrate with two versions of one of my favorite Sun Ra tunes, “Springtime Again.” This is a song that I would offer up as an invitation for those who may have been led to believe that Ra’s music was all noise and cacophony. This is one of his most beautiful melodies, and there are many more strange and beautiful songs just like this in the Sun Ra discography.