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On Broadway: Beautiful – The Carole King Story

January 6, 2014 in Female Drummers, Keyboards, Singer-Songwriters, Videos of the Week by Sky Disco

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During a time when most women in the music business were only known to write lyrics and melodies, Carole King made a breakthrough as a writer AND composer.  The gratitude that I feel for having the opportunity to catch the Broadway show Beautiful is immense.  Not only was the story line inspiring to me as a female musician but receiving the opportunity to visit the stage behind the scenes has motivated me to take my music and art to further heights.  Before I continue, I must thank the people that made my attendance and tour possible.  Thank you, Nelson Vaughn for offering our mutual friend comp tickets to  the show and for graciously showing me around the Sondheim Theater.  Thank you Lindsey Wilson for inviting me as your guest and introducing me to Nelson after I expressed interest in perhaps becoming a stagehand/prop like him.  If you’ve never had the opportunity to attend a Broadway production, be sure to make it happen when you come to New York.  It is a magical experience.  It is stunning how so many people and design elements work together with such fluidity.

Jessie Nelson - Percussionist

I come from a family history of entertainers.  This depiction of Carole King’s life story related to my passions and my ancestry.   I loved the diverse representation within the cast.  I loved that  with each step of progress and metamorphosis Carole had, I saw a new possibility for myself and other dames like me.   I thought of my friend Jessie Nelson who is an orchestra pit percussionist on the rise and I pictured her there amongst the majority male musicians.   We are still breaking through the barriers of the “boys club” in many areas.

 

Watch this to get a peek at Beautiful:

Mandela’s Passing Changed My Life

December 5, 2013 in Announcements, Female Guitar Players, Videos of the Week by Sky Disco

It’s been a while since I’ve posted in this Blog Site. It’s mostly been because I’ve been preoccupied with survival and chasing the dream. Not too long ago, I returned from my first European tour with my band “discoBAASSIK”. It was a ton of fun but it was also life-changing. I got to understand what it feels like to be a foreigner in a new land. I got to feel what it’s like to not understand a language or express my thoughts clearly. I, often, couldn’t read signs or understand prices, directions or menus. Although playing music internationally was exhilerating, I returned to the states feeling like I needed to do better. Then, shortly after I returned home, I heard the news of Nelson Mandela’s passing. This rocked my world in a way I couldn’t have expected. This galactical event inspired me to speak my mind on camera for about 15 mins. It also prompted me to step into a BIGGER me. I am now less inhibited than ever. My motivation is love. I know most videos online these days cap at about 5-6 mins but I purposely did not edit this video. I didn’t want to censor myself. Watch the whole thing if you really want to capture my point.

Oh and shortly thereafter, I went and caught this amazing movie in NYC. I hope it’s accessible in your town too. I love how the women in his life played such strong roles.

Ladies Rock Camp 2.0

February 19, 2013 in Female Bass Players, Female Drummers, Female Guitar Players, Uncategorized, Videos of the Week by Sky Disco

There’s almost nothing more satisfying than supporting people’s dreams and helping people work together to create music. I have heard countless times in my life how someone wishes they could quit their job to be an artist. Also, I frequently hear how some people wish they could learn to play an instrument or pick up their instrument again. Well the beautiful genius of Rock Camps are that they give adults the chance to live out their dreams in a loving and supportive environment. I’m addicted to the Rock Camp world and way. No matter what your musical background, you can truly make music NOW.

Here is a peek at a video from this weekend, captured and compiled by volunteer Melanie McLean. It also features music provided by one of my own projects, discoBAASSIK. Both Baassik and I were interviewed here too.

While working with other volunteers as band coaches, instrument instructors, workshop leaders and photographers — I witnessed 30 women enter Funkadelic Studios in NYC on Friday. Most of them barely knew many of the other participants. They were randomly grouped into bands with the mission of writing a song over the weekend and then performing it at Arelene’s Grocery, a venue the East Village. It is truly inspirational to be part of the process.

During lunchtime, the campers get to mingle and watch performances by notable female performers. During this particular session, there was an intimate and empowering performance by Tamar-Kali. The next Ladies Rock Camp will be held in July 2013.

Ganessa James: Guitarist and Bassist

November 25, 2012 in Female Bass Players, Female Guitar Players, Uncategorized by Sky Disco

After accepting a last minute invite from a friend to see Shelley Nicole’s blaKbüshe at Drom on Manhattan’s lower east side, I was overcome with gratitude for being among such a goldmine of talent. It was a fantastic show and I was glad to meet a couple of people in person that I had only previously communicated with through social media. The overall vibe was full of love, cooperation and creativity. Not only was the entire band incredibly impressive, but I got to groove to the smooth funky bass grooves of Ganessa James. I have heard chatter about Ganessa floating around the city musician circles but finally I can speak on her skill from a personal account. Aside from her effortless playing style, she has a glowing charisma that radiates through any performance. Passion showed through every bounce or step she made as she played. Then I decided to look her up online to see more. It turns out, she mostly plays guitar and even sings too.

 

She is an all around guitarist playing electric, acoustic and bass. Besides her acoustic/soul sound, she also rocks out.  If you get the chance to see her in action then you just might feel like ya won at Bingo or even a game of FoxyBingo. To find out more about Ganessa visit any of her links which can be found on her site: http://www.ganessajames.com/

Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls & Ladies

July 8, 2012 in Announcements, Female Bass Players, Female Drummers, Female Guitar Players, Videos of the Week by Sky Disco

Last week in Brooklyn, I had the opportunity to contribute at the Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls.  It was such an exhilarating experience.  There were campers ranging from 8-18 years of age who got to learn skills that supported the creation of new songs, instrumentation, community and empowerment.

So far, my most rewarding  moments of Summer 2012 were had during this experience.  Seeing the campers blossom as people, teammates and musicians captivated my heart. It also reinvigorated my already vigorous passion for music and collabortation.

I played three roles at this session: guitar teacher, band coach and workshop facilitator (Teamwork Dreamwork).  This opportunity also gave me the privilege of working along side many other volunteers.  I met numerous open hearted, generous souls who further inspire my path.   I highly recommend this camp.

Though 2012 registration for “Girls Rock Camp is already closed, there is a “Ladies Rock Camp” for adults that I believe is still open.

Otherwise, I suggest getting on board for next year or checking out their site for ways to connect with the organization during the year.

Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls welcomes volunteers! Check out their Volunteer-A-Thon details.

 

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