What’s that in your back Slick Don?
I’ll be part of the COVER VERSION show curated by Pete McKee at A Month Of Sundays Gallery in Sheffield (UK) in September. We had to redesign covers of one of our favorite LP of choice.
I chose Cymande (1972), one of my biggest musical crushes (see original cover below) for which I recreated the original visual elements – a dove perched on top of a man’s head, guarding him with it’s wings, only this time, it’s painted in my own decorative style.
You may have never heard of Cymande, but if like me, you grew up listening to hip-hop – you will definitely know their music. They have been sampled by everyone from De La Soul and the Fugees, to Kool Herc, Master Ace, MC Solar, Grandmaster Flash, and the Ruthless Rap Assassins. Cymande were a British electric funk band who formed in London in 1971.During their short lived career, they toured the US after the release of their self titled LP in 1972 and sadly disbanded in 1974.
The band was composed of west Indian musicians who were self declared Rastafarian. Their music incorporates omnipresent Nyabinghi rhythms, which consist in a warm syncopated heartbeat added to a mix of jazz, funk, calypso, soul and rock. The name Cymande (pronounced ‘Sah-mahn-day’) was inspired from a calypso word for Dove, the universal symbol of peace and love, which their lyrics are all about.
Check out the original version:
Here is my version:
On this episode of Bohemian Biology, you’ll hear Jim Avignon aka Neoangin talking on ArtSci Fridays, a show I hosted on the Neighborhood Public Radio back in 2008 as part of the Whitney Biennial.
Jim is a German painter and performer based in Brooklyn, who at the time, just had a new album out titled ‘The Happy Hobo & The Return of The Freaks’.
As I just attended his even more recent album release party a couple of days ago I thought I would revive this piece for the occasion.
To give you a taste here is how his bio starts:
‘1994 marks the beginning of the whole story: Berlin painter and „pop-art“ activist Jim Avignon spots a one-man-entertainer-keyboard in the sales bin at the hardware store, right next to the cash register.
He wastes no time and purchases the instrument. In the ensuing months he will dedicate quite some time to his new keyboard. The instrument has funky accompanying rhythms and a snazzy sound but unfortunately there is no feature to save the songs. Not knowing how to read music Mr. Avignon develops his very own method to memorize the numerous melodies and chordal sketches which he had composed in no time.’
Jim’s next performance will be at Monkeytown, 58 N 3rd St. Brooklyn
His new album is ‘Say High To Your Neighborhood’ and is available on http://neoangin.info/
Run Time: 21:33
I finally managed to design a new banner for my blog!
I actually used one of the illustrations I made for Petite et Jolie holiday compilation.
Litterally meaning ‘short and cute’ in French (which I’m not sure really translates well), Petite et Jolie is an online music label and collective of graphic artists specialized in cute 8-bit/electronic music and graphics. The compilation should be available on 12/24/09 on their website for FREE and will include musical and visual works from a dozen of artists.
While on a post-graduation break out of the states I did an internship with Jethro Massey, a British filmmaker based in Paris. As Jethro was showing me a few tricks on Final Cut Pro, he handed me a small camera and told me to take one day to shoot something, and come back the day after with a short documentary.
Luckily I bumped into my old acquaintance Fernando Favier, aka Gymkhana, a music producer and visual artist from my hometown, who now lives in Paris.
Internationally known for his collaboration with rapper Mike Ladd, which led to the release of”Father Divine” on the label RoiR, Gymkhana also collaborated with artists such as Vj Milosh, writer Vincent Ravalec, and singer/ song writer Arthur H.
I followed Fernando in the streets of Parisian neighborhood Belleville, from morning to evening, asking him about his life and work. According to Wikipedia, “Belleville is a colorful, multi-ethnic neighborhood and also home to one of the city’s two Chinatowns; the other is located in the XIIIe (13th) arrondissement. (…) The iconic French singer Édith Piaf grew up there and, according to legend, was born under a lamppost on the steps of the Rue de Belleville.(…) Many artists now live and work in Belleville and studios are scattered throughout this neighborhood. Some abandoned factories have been transformed into art squats, where several alternative artists and musicians, such as the band Les Rita Mitsouko began their careers.”
Below is the end –result of my homework, my first ever documentary shot in one day….Gymkhana discusses his electro– accoustic influences together with his desires to reside in a popular Parisian neighborhood that has inspired French artists for generations. The documentary is in French, english subtitles will come later!!