“An artist’s main job is to reflect his or her time. That’s the job. With any luck we can actually, per chance, illuminate, shine a light, strike a match, curse the darkness. Thats if we’re lucky . . .”
Those words came from Tomás Doncker just over three years ago during our interview with him upon the release of his riveting release, The Mess We Made. (Click here to view the interview) That project, quite without intention, was born from what was for him the literal life-numbing response to hearing about the atrocious killing of nine African-Americans inside a church located in Charleston, SC, murdered by white supremacist Dylan Roof.
Doncker, a super busy, accomplished singer/songwriter/guitarist/producer and impresario of the successful label, True Groove Records, shut himself down to everything except his guitar and a means to capture his thoughts in response to that heinous act. In doing so what emerged was the essence of what we asserted then was, “an incredibly impressive, provocative, no holds barred, scolding of our country and of our society, but not without a few suggestions of things we can do to get right.”
“What are the possibilities when we’re not confined by a little box called gender? What does that wholeness look like?” Maryland – born singer/songwriter Chandanie poses that question when talking about the inspiration for her new single, “Make We Whole,” which features long time collaborator and acclaimed emcee, JSWISS. She further submits about the ideology behind the track, “Wholeness is being able to show up authentically, being able to show up in a way that feels good to me. Feminine, masculine, or beyond.” Needless to say, quite an intriguing premise. But this is the kind of live-living territory the talented artist is often apt to muse.
Co-produced by Chandanie and guitarist/songwriter Vo-Era, “Make We Whole” is the follow-up to her single, “I Win My Love”, an ode to self-love and another example of what the emerging vocalist calls Soul Liberation Music. It’s a groove-infused brew that blends the musical elements of jazz, soul, R&B and more with purposeful messages. These are messages that evolve from her own introspective grappling with issues relating to self-love, gender counter-normativity and relationships, but grappling likely shared by many. And they are delivered throughout by her stylistic, vocal flow and tone that harnesses both nostalgia and newness surrounded with siren-like harmonies.
Chandanie, who now calls Brooklyn, NY home, is gradually spreading her sound or crusade, if you will, via performances throughout NYC and through recordings that include her own and as a featured vocalist on projects from JSWISS, accomplished saxophonist/producer FKAJazz and other impressive young artists on the come up. It’s clear “Make We Whole” will open the door to more questions of the soul Chandanie is likely already pondering.
“The motivating thing in the career is to offer something that has lasting value – That you can listen to in the year 2020 and the music still says something to you . . .” Al Jarreau
Audio excerpts from the actual interview appear at the end of the feature.
AL JARREAU SOME OTHER THINGS
For many of us as kids, being drawn to a figure that possesses a special something that we marvel at and stand in awe of is a pivotal part of growing up – Pivotal because for many, those figures influence our goals and tendencies – Shape our likes, dislikes and ignite an ability to see pass the known and seek possibility. If music is your passion the list of revered that fall under that category is relatively short, but oh so sweet. One of the endearing musical role models from my own short list is the extraordinary singer, songwriter, artist, AL JARREAU. So then imagine the extreme anticipation of receiving the call that would put me voice to voice with the one whose remarkable, innovative style marries vocal prowess with dazzlingly unique, improvisational technique adored and recognized the world over. If you’re a hoops fan, its like meeting Dr.J or Jordan. Imagine once more a greeting that creates an air of history between the two of you. A warmness that invites you to pull up a chair and talk old times. Indeed that was the case this day when Jarreau’s blithe tone delivered a pleasant and seemingly personalized, “Hey, how are you?” But then again, we do have a history together. Actually, I and several other millions do. We’ve followed an illustrious twenty-seven year career of treasured recordings that have spawned classics like “We Got By”, “Take Five”, “Look To The Rainbow”, “Roof Garden”, “Blue Rondo A La Turk”, “Since I Fell For You”, “We’re In This Love Together” and countless others. But most of all we’ve enjoyed, observed, and embraced his unique artistry. The kind that has left an unquestionable, lasting impression.