ChanteSez … It’s too early for end of the year blues

As we approach the end of the year, there are a few things I feel I’ve done well here at, and just as many that I could have done better.

Funny how that seems to be the way of life. Honestly — today, anyway — I’m not looking at this truth with a contented smile. Today, I am sad.

Lest this turn into one of those blogs, back to the point. Things that worked well, things to improve.

  • For starters, I’ve been consistent with posts … until recently. I’d like to pick things back up in 2014.
  • I’d also like to see more of the “worthwhile people” mentioned in my site’s mission. I’ve focused mostly on the information and events. I’m always open to ideas. Just leave me a comment.
  • When you search “Jamal Ahmad Atlanta” on Google, is likely to show up on the first page!
  • Same for “Kai Alce Atlanta”!
  • You have hung in there with me. I am incredibly thankful for that. Please keep reading, and stay in touch with me.

Ministers of Sound lifts up Atlanta’s best DJs through photos and music

“Amen! Ashe! Word!” The one-night-only Ministers of Sound installation on Sunday, Feb. 24, transformed Space 2 into an artistic sanctuary worthy of the DJs honored in the installation — as well as the curator’s late father.

About five years after initially conceiving the project, Kemi Bennings of Evolve! Artists Live, along with a buzzing crowd of about 200, saw — and felt — it come to life.

The warehouse-style room had undergone a cultural sanctification that started in the wee hours, complete with stained glass framed and hung from the ceiling, centuries-old pews, and the iconic red carpet runner that led from the door to the “pulpit.”

It was there that a number of the DJs honored in the photos took to the turntables.

The DJ procession included DJ Jamal Ahmad (WCLK-FM 91.9), DJ Kai Alce, DJ Salah Ananse, DJ Applejac, DJ Ausar, DJ Karl Injex, DJ Cha-Cha Jones, DJ Kemit, DJ Osmose, DJ Ramon Rawsoul (House In The Park), DJ Sky, DJ Tabone (WRFG-FM 89.3) and DJ Mike Zarin.

Ministers of Sound

Each played two songs, which Bennings had directed should “inspire and empower the crowd.”

I found myself most grateful for Cha-Cha’s hip-hop leanings, Applejac’s golden and timeless beats that you know but yet don’t, and Ahmad’s Stevie Wonder selections.

Although the music added to the rapturous atmosphere, the photography served as the basis for the installation.

The photos were taken by Annette Brown. They captured each DJ in an environment — and sometimes in spiritual garb — that reflected his or her own spiritual aesthetic. The photo titles, printed on a label pasted onto a 45-inch record, also reflected those beliefs.

In some cases, captions that Bennings wrote about various spiritual tenants were matched up with a DJ.

First-ever Atlanta Weekender continues through Sunday

For those who want to mix in a little house music with their Dragon*Con and Black Gay Pride plans, consider the Atlanta Weekender. It officially kicked off yesterday.

Atlanta’s finest house and soul music DJs — Kemit, Kai Alce, Salah Ananse and Ramon Rawsoul — are the main attraction, although guests from out of town, including Baltimore’s Karizma who is spinning at Sound Table tonight, will represent as well.

The big event is Sunday’s House in the Park, which moves to Grant Park from Perkerson for the first time.

Here’s an excerpt from my buddy Carlton Hargro, who wrote about it for Creative Loafing.

By now, most dance enthusiasts are aware that Labor Day in Atlanta means it’s time for another installment of House in the Park. This annual outdoor celebration of music and fellowship … featuring the turntable powers of Ramon Rawsoul, DJ Kemit, Kai Alce and Salah Ananse has become a destination for house heads from all over the world for almost a decade.

Check out the full story, which includes a Q&A with Weekender founder Ananse here.

The Gathering helps raise funds for Year of Boulevard project

TED is an annual conference of sorts that asks the world’s greatest minds to share what they’re passionate about, broadcasting these “ideas worth spreading” live and across all mediums.

For more than two years, Atlanta has hosted its own independent TEDx events, inviting Georgia-based thinkers and advocates to speak on an impactful theme such as “community.” That was the theme for March, when I attended. (I was mainly inspired and impressed. Check out my Tweets from the event on March 13.)

Out of that session came an initiative to move TEDx out from the Westside consulting agency where it’s held and into the community.

The Year of Boulevard is a project spearheaded by the Atlanta councilman for the area, Kwanza Hall. Hall is a strong supporter of economic equality and culture — you’re just as likely to see him leading a neighborhood clean-up in the Old Fourth Ward as you are chilling at the Sound Table.

Now you know Boulevard can be a straight mess. “Live Mas”? Not if I have to get food from the Taco Bell off Parkway. Let’s not even get started on the gas station off North, or the corner store just south of Edgewood.

According to the TEDx site, “the TEDxAtlanta Community is working to bring a Summer of Possibility to the kids of the Boulevard corridor through summer-camp scholarships, internships and entrepreneurial mentoring. … Our most immediate challenge is to raise the money needed to cover summer-camp tuition for the kids of Boulevard. It costs an average of $110 to send one child to camp for a week.”

Yes, $110 is steep. But you can contribute by donating a few bucks at the Gathering tomorrow night at Space 2. Kai Alce and Ramon Rawsoul are spinning, along with guest DJ Jamie 3:26 from Chicago.

The $5 admission does not include a donation to the Year of Boulevard, so bring a little extra.

Glenn Underground DJing at Sound Table tonight

Chicago has been making a big showing in Atlanta recently, with Terry Hunter having played here on Saturday, and Glenn Underground playing Sound Table tonight for his first Atlanta appearance.

Kai Alce’s monthly Distinctive has brought some legendary DJs through town, and Alce is a force in his own right, many times opening up for the guest DJ or spinning solo.

“Glenn is part of the second generation of pioneers coming from Chicago, right behind legends such as Lil Louis , Larry Heard and Marshall Jefferson,” Alce says. He’s most impressed by Underground’s production — and the Friday-night set is a big deal considering the self-taught keyboardist’s beliefs often prevent such bookings.

$10 all night. Doors at 10 p.m., but you may want to come a wee bit later so that Sound Table’s dinner crowd clears out and you have room to dance.

On The Lookout with Peven Everett: 5 quick questions

Peven Everett, a longtime house music producer/vocalist/performer with Chicago roots, is coming to the Sound Table tomorrow night, courtesy of Kai Alce and NDATL/Distinctive. Alce will be spinning, along with ST’s own Karl Injex.

OTL caught up with Everett for 5 quick questions.

Photo by Carlos Bell

1) How are you? (I mean this sincerely!) What’s going on?

Everything’s pretty OK right now. What’s the use in complaining.

2) Give us the rundown of how a (typical, if I may) Peven Everett production comes together.

It’s hard to say so I don’t because often times my explanation is thought to be self-preserving. I think it’s selflessly preserving as well as being involuntarily self-preserving. Everyone does it different and must never tell their method if they wish to have any future value.

3) Who or what are you on the lookout for these days? (It could be an artist, musical style, an inspiration, or an issue in the news.)

I am on the look out for everything.

4) What new projects are you working on? What should we be on the lookout for from you?

Be looking to like what you hear. No matter what.

5) What is the future of house music/soul music, in your opinion?

It could go many ways but only one way is the right way. There are only a few ” artists” with infinite marketing budgets and lips tight enough for a huge payoff as historically seen in the televised part of the music industry. Ninety percent of them — no, 95 percent of them — have been to my live shows  LOL. Music shields my spirit from the little things and keeps the beauty of my dreams from harm. Business and life are like a piano. A hidden hand is useless.

Green Velvet at Primal Atlanta: 10 highlights

Ten quick highlights from Green Velvet, DJ Pierre, and J-Luv at Primal Atlanta on Saturday, Feb. 18:

  1. Green Velvet at Primal Atlanta on Sat., Feb. 18. PHOTO BY DAVE FERNANDEZ

    “Flash” live!

  2. “La La Land” live!
  3. Hearing Green Velvet freak “Percolator.”
  4. Watching Cajmere/Green Velvet dance to his own music.
  5. The patio with DJs Kai Alce and Matt “Dough” Donathan.
  6. DJ Pierre dropping “French Kiss” by Lil’ Louis, another legendary Chicago-bred DJ, just before Green Velvet took to the tables.
  7. “Good evening, parents!” In other words, over the hill men in Hawaiian shirts dancing with girls in gold booty-cutters and bikini tops, nipples exposed. HA!
  8. Tambor regulars at Primal Atlanta.
  9. Bartenders who cut deals.
  10. Parking at Chinese Buddah for a short (if cold and damp) walk.

Classic tracks below.