Music articles

Nina Simone

Nina Simone was born Eunice Kathleen Waymon in Tryon, North Carolina during the Great Depression. Simone’s mother, Mary Kate Waymon, was a Methodist minister and housekeeper and her father, John Divine Waymon, worked as a handyman and part-time minister. At three years old, Eunice displayed musical talent by playing the piano by ear. At seven,

Remembering Odetta

Odetta Holmes was born in Birmingham, Alabama during the Great Depression to a poor, working-class African-American family. At an early age, Odetta demonstrated a love for music, singing in church and at school. It was an elementary school teacher that noticed her singing and recommended to her mother that she begin vocal training. Odetta’s father,

Olivia Pope & the Scandal of Representation

On April 5, 2012, Shonda Rhimes premiered yet another television drama that would entice millions of viewers to their couches weekly to watch her newest production – Scandal. In case you haven’t seen it, this drama purportedly centers on protagonist Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington), a “professional fixer,” and her efforts to make political problems go

Cody Chesnutt, Old Soul

Huddled in the basement with a 4-track cassette recorder, an eccentric youngish soul singer laid a critically acclaimed double cd, The Headphone Master Piece. Through the album sold poorly it was a critical success. Cited for its low-fi grittiness and biting social commentary, “Headphone Masterpiece” caused industry insiders to take notice. Cody Chesnutt’s genius status

Boston, Barrence, & Blues

Award winning poet and writer Maya Angelou, fresh off a collaboration with Common on his latest album, in response to queries regarding the two artists’ different beliefs, as in: ‘what would she do about it?’ replied “Nothing,” and ruminated on philosopher Niccolo Machiavelli’s principle that “‘the surest way to control people was to divide them.’”

Teddy Pendergrass, Soul Man

Theodore Dereese “Teddy” Pendergrass was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to a working class father and mother. After his father left the family, he was raised by his mother, Ida Pendergrass, a religious sharecropper’s daughter from South Carolina, the rhythm-and-blues state. Theodore’s mother discovered his voice when he began singing in church at only 2 ½

Sex & Soul Music

It was simply a brief introduction to the career of Rod Temperton, the British-born songwriter, who first came to prominence with the group Heatwave.  Specifically, I was reminiscing about Heatwave’s “Always and Forever,” a classic Soul ode to longstanding love and romance. Unfortunately, my class of 60-plus millennials were not quite as excited by the

Bob Marley, Soul Rebel

“Live if you want to live / That’s what we got to give,” were the first lines sung by Bob Marley at the Amandla Festival held at the Harvard Coliseum some 34 years ago in 1979. Marley’s plea for life eternally resonates in the minds and hearts of all his listeners, which is exactly why

The Whimsical Soul of Gregory Porter

  With signature Kangol with ear flaps pulled over his head—looking more the vagabond than the genius—Gregory Porter would have cut a figure in any era; but it is his voice—as original as they come—that surely arrests everyone’s attention.  Gregory Porter is among a generation of Black male jazz singers, including Jose James and Dwight

Transit of Venus: A Review

  Transit of Venus by Three Days Grace (RCA, $11.88) The Canadian rock band, Three Days Grace, is back with another album! Transit of Venus was released October 2, 2012 with Adam Gontier’s brilliant vocals welcoming us to this beautiful sound. You may be more familiar with their songs “Never Too Late,” “I Hate Everything About