Sunday, July 13, 2008

Soulfege Takes Back the Mic

Sometimes, being technologically behind the times is a real kick in the pants. Normally, I don't care all that much. When I finally ordered a phone with a camera the other day for the first time, I was chagrined to realize that my choices were few if I (a) don't listen to music on my cell phone and (b) spend SO much time online already, I'd rather be nibbled to death by a duck than carry the internet in my purse. The salesgirl was kind of embarrassed for me.

Don't get me wrong. I'm light years ahead of a lot of folks, but I just stay shuffling along behind the wave -- well behind it. And while I'm usually just fine, thanks, hanging around back here with the not-very-with-it older folks, sometimes I feel the pinch. Like tonight.

Thanks to this blog, I've been offered the opportunity to download a new album by a group that's shortly going to be even bigger than they already are and I don't have MP3 capability. It's enough to make me wanna buy an iPod.

The group is called Soulfege. The album is Take Back the Mic. And you've probably already seen Derrick Ashong (aka DNA), one of the band members, on YouTube, if you're one of the more than a million people that have watched him explain health care to an antagonistic interviewer at an Obama/Clinton debate last winter.

Ashong, a 32-year-old Harvard graduate, is quite a guy, as you can see by watching this:

But Soulfege is a long way from being an interesting, talented guy backed up by some adequate hangers-on. Soulfege is a record label's dream: highly attractive and super-talented songwriter/performers putting out a reggae/hip-hop/funk/West African highlife blend and greatly committed to a serious political agenda. Shades of Bob Marley! Have we been needing this or what?

If you're like me, you need to hear a group before you want to read about them, so trip on over to MySpace and check out songs with titles like "From the Soul," "[What Would You Give] To Be Free?" or the electrifying "Damoshi" (Stand Up). Then, you can read about them on their website or in The Boston Globe or in Vanity Fair. Clearly, Soulfege is on the move. I mean, their music is already in more than fifty countries. So, don't be one of the last ones on your block to know.

And for those of you who, unlike me, are digitally endowed, the band's new album Take Back the Mic will be available on iTunes for download beginning Tuesday, July 15th. I'm gonna have to wait till it comes out in a store.



Macon D said...

yeah, you do need an MP3 player of some sort! I use mine to download all sorts of stuff, especially talk shows to listen to when I have to do some long driving.

thanks for this post. I remember being floored by that youtube street interview of ashong, so it's great to hear about his other, very inspiring work. You say he's aka DNA? I wonder of that's the DNA that was blogging at Too Sense. Hmmmmm. . .

Changeseeker said...

I hadn't even considered other uses for a MP3 player, Macon. It's obviously my brain I need to upgrade. :^)

I wondered the same thing about Ashong's aka moniker and asked without getting an answer, but I thought afterwards that it couldn't be the same one because dna of Too Sense fame wrote about being part Jewish, didn't he? And never mentioned being African that I recall. Still, he recently had to stop blogging to focus on other stuff, which is what got me thinking in the first place. Ah, the Blogoshere. Ain't it fun? :^D

kyledeb said...

I know Derrick from when he used to come back to Harvard every year and speak at the Black Men's Forum, an organization I was a part of.

He's not the same dNa as the one who writes for Too Sense.

It's crazy to see how he's blown up since the YouTube video.

Changeseeker said...

Hey, kyledeb. Nice to see you in the neighborhood. And yes, I think YouTube in general is the coolest development online since Google. Which was the coolest development online since Windows. The Internet rocks!

On the other hand, Soulfege has existed since 2003, a long slow approach. Still, the YouTube video (which could not possibly have been predicted -- even by Ashong) has certainly not hurt them any. :^D

A.F. said...

I really like Soulfege, too. This is a great post.

Like you, I am very much technologically behind the times. Two years ago, though, somebody gave my boyfriend an i-Pod and he didn't know what to do with it, so it sat in a closet. I pulled it out a couple of months ago and now I use it daily. And, really, this is coming from someone who is *not* technologically savvy or even interested in most gadgets.

Changeseeker said...

Greetings, A.F. I'm glad you like the post. And I appreciate the encouragement about gadgetry. I think, however, that while it intrigues me to have the option to listen to other stuff when on the road or whatever (as Macon said above), I really don't want a musical backdrop to my every waking moment. I imagine (whether it's true or not) that it would be a distraction when I'm wanting to be more totally present rather than less so. But maybe that's just a rationalization for resistance to change...