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Shishani: Award-winning Soul artist releases video for her new LGBTI Equality anthem ‘Minority’

The excellent blog Spectra Speaks reports that award-winning African artist Shishani, has just released a video for her new LGBTI Equality anthem “Minority”.

Award-winning acoustic soul artist, Shishani, has just released the music video for her latest single titled, “Minority”, a catchy, upbeat, acoustic track that calls for freedom and equality for all people despite perceived differences.

Shishani got her big break when she performed at the 2011 Namibian Annual Music Awards in the capital city of Windhoek, where it’s still illegal to be gay. And though, she says, she’s made no real attempts to hide her sexuality, she hasn’t come out as an “out lesbian artist” till now.

“I wanted people to get to know my music,” she says, “Sexuality doesn’t matter. It’s like pasta — asking if you prefer spaghetti or macaroni. It just doesn’t matter… I’m an artist first, before being a gay artist.”

Nambia is one of several African countries where Homosexuality is illegal, and “LGBTI people risk harassment and violence due to a strong culture of stigma in part reignited by religious leaders and government officials.”

As an African musician who identifies as being a part of the LGBTI community, the lyrics of “Minority” no doubt challenge the infamous meme “Homosexuality is unAfrican.” But, Shishan insists, her song is about much more than being gay.

“In Namibia, it also makes a difference what ethnicity you are. “Minority” argues for equal rights for all people regardless of their cultural backgrounds, economic status, sexuality, religion,” she says, “There is so much systemic discrimination against people, for so many reasons.”

The release of “Minority” is timely; January is the month in which outspoken Ugandan LGBT activist, David Kato was bludgeoned to death in an anti-gay attack three years ago, sparking an outcry from fellow African human rights activists. January is also the month in which people in the U.S.–perhaps even all over the world–celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a powerful civil rights leader and icon. His call for freedom and equality of all people has been taken up by activists all over the world, including Shishani, whose lyrics echo his principles of love and unity.

“Homophobia all over the world comes from the same place; colonialism, apartheid, racial segregation. All our struggles are connected.”

Read the interview with Shishani at Spectra Speaks.

Follow Spectra Speaks on Twitter. Shishani on Facebook.

With thanks to the wonderful June Millington

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Solid Gold Northern Soul: The Flirtations ‘Nothing But A Heartache’
12:05 pm


Northern Soul
The Flirtations

One of the great things about djing “oldies” music sets is being able to dig out obscure gems like this, a 1968 non-hit for the girl group The Flirtations, that has gone on to be regarded as one of the touchstone records of the Northern Soul movement.

Northern Soul is/was a revival of obscure and forgotten 60s soul music that happened in the North of England in the mid-1970s. What sets Northern Soul apart from other kinds of soul (Southern Soul anyone?!) is the dance-ability of the tracks, which are usually up tempo and with prominent drums (expect lots hand clapping, which the audience can partake in.) All night dancing was the major motivation behind Northern Soul, and key to the success of renowned clubs like the Blackpool Mecca and the Twisted Wheel in Manchester.

The Flirtations were three women from South Carolina who moved to the UK in the late 60s to record for the Deram label. Unfortunately, none of their records were major hits, even though history has looked on some of them very kindly indeed. Like many from the Northern Soul scene, they moved into making Hi-NRG in the early 80s, cementing the connection between the Northern Soul dance floor of the 70s and the burgeoning gay scene of the next decade. “Nothing But A Heartache” is perhaps their “signature” tune, and is crying out for use in a Quentin Tarantino or Spike Lee film. It simply oozes DRAMA.

I never knew this video existed until very recently, and it’s a beauty. SImple and elegant, and set in a ruined abbey, be prepared for multiple replays of this wonderful track:

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Otis Redding: Electrifying performances in Paris and London, from 1967

Otis Redding was a child when he started singing and playing with the Vineville Baptist Choir. He also tried out his skills playing with the school band. His obvious natural proficiency led him to enter talent competitions at the Douglass Theatre. You see, Otis was more than just prodigiously talented he was thoughtful and kind-hearted and wanted to earn money for his family. That he did and after winning the $5 top prize 15-times in a row, he was banned from the competition.

The ban led him to start out playing with his idol Little Richard’s backing band The Upsetters, and by the early 1960s, when he was performing with The Pinetoppers, it was clear Otis was a dynamic and unstoppable talent.

In 1962, after recording tracks with The PInetoppers at Stax Records, co-owner Jim Stewart allowed Otis to cut some solo material. The result was “These Arms of Mine”.

From there, Otis Redding went onto become one of the biggest stars of the 1960s—especially in Europe where he was viewed as one of the greatest artists on the planet. In 1967 Redding outsold that year’s combined record sales for Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra, and kicked Elvis Presley’s sorry ass from the top of the Melody Maker‘s World’s Greatest Male Vocalist chart. Then he eventually conquered America with his mind-nlowing set at the Monterey Pop festival—where he turned on thousands of hippies to the joys of R’n'B and soul. It should have been the start of an even greater career but it was tragically cut short when redding died in a plane crash in December of that year.

All these years later, you can still have sunshine on a cloudy day with Otis Redding. Here he is a selection of The Big O, the King of Soul at his best in Paris and London performing some of his best known and biggest hits “Respect”, “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long”, “Shake”, “My Girl”, and “Try a Little Tenderness”.

Push back the chairs, turn it up and cut a rug.


Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
The (Odd) Future of soul is ‘Purple Naked Ladies’

…or flip that headline around and it could read Purple Naked Ladies is the soul of Odd Future.

Purple Naked Ladies is the first album by The Internet, nom-de-artiste of Matt Martians and Syd Tha Kid. Syd is best known as dj and beat-maker for Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All and Tyler The Creator. And those guys are controversial, right? Notorious for their misogyny and homophobia, it’s hard to make those ideals square with an album that is co-written, performed and produced by an out-lesbian who sings songs that are explicity about relationships with other women.

OFWGKTA’s music is complex, bizarre, and most definitely not pop in any way. In contrast, The Internet is not so much a rap group as a modern soul outfit, one that lies closer to the breathy vocal sensuality of Erykah Badu and Aaliyah than the melismatic histrionics of Alicia Keys, but which shares with Tyler et al a kind of dizzy modern psychedelia that’s utterly divorced from the pastorailsm of the hippies and weened on a diet of Cribs and animal tranquillizers. It’s also the most musically-accomplished release from the OFWGKTA camp to date - dare I say it’s accessible, even?

There are two videos taken from the album that can be watched sequentially. Both are directed by Matt Alonzo and featuring Syd and her girlfriend/accomplice as they alternately rob diners á la Pulp Fiction or snort drugs at the fairground. The first is called “Fastlane” and is featured below. The second is “Cocaine” which is after the jump, where you will also find a 20-minute documentary/interview with The Internet.  You can buy Purple Naked Ladies here.

The Internet “Fastlane”

After the jump, “Cocaine” and The Internet interviewed…

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
RIP Don Cornelius of Soul Train

Don Cornelius, creator and star of Soul Tain, has been found dead at his home in Sherman Oaks, California. From TMZ:

Law enforcement sources tell us ... Cornelius died from a gunshot wound to the head and officials believe the wound was self-inflicted.

Sad news indeed - I had only posted on Soul Train here on DM a few weeks ago. Thanks for all the awesomeness, Don! In memory here’s the man himself introducing the legendary Soul Train line dancers to Earth Wind and Fire’s “Mighty Mighty” in 1974:

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Have Yourself A Soul Train Sunday

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Funk legend Jimmy Castor RIP
09:17 pm


Jimmy Castor

Legendary funk saxophonist and band leader Jimmy Castor, of The Jimmy Castor Bunch - the sample source for a huge amount of hip-hop records - died today in Las Vegas of causes that are “currently unknown.” Sad news. Castor is best known for the evergreen breakbeat classic “It’s Just Begun,” “Troglodyte (Cave Man),” which was a huge hit for The Jimmy Castor Bunch in 1972 and “The Bertha Butt Boogie.” Here’s an excellent clip of the band performing “It’s Just Begun” live on TV (apparently the show is called Soul School), and tearing the roof off that sucker:

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment