“People Have The Power” still holds true

When singer, songwriter, poet, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and proclaimed Godmother of Punk, Patti Smith and her late husband, noted guitarist of influential rock group the MC5, Fred “Sonic” Smith wrote the now iconic track, “People Have The Power,” they likely didn’t know that it would ultimately resonate with so many people. They didn’t know that it would be employed as the anthem for a variety of protests and causes around the world many years later. But it has. For an interview she did with music and culture platform, NME, Smith confirms, “I’ve seen people. I’ve walked in marches all over the world where people spontaneously started singing it, you know, whether it’s been in Paris or with the Palestinians or, you know, in Spain or New York City, Washington D.C.”  But although they didn’t know that would be the case it was indeed their hope that it would inspire people in that way. In that same interview she confirms, “What we wanted to do was remind the listener of their individual power, but also of the collective power of the people, how we can do anything.” It was, in particular, the desire of her husband who actually encouraged the song by sharing the title idea and concept with Patti, urging her to write the lyrics. He wrote the music and she did indeed write the words. Fred Smith unfortunately didn’t get to see the impact the song would in fact make, but Patti affectionately adds in that talk, “It’s so moving for me to see his dream realized.”

Needless to say, during these pivotal and transformative times the significance of the song, its message and purpose were also not lost on many including accomplished singer, songwriter, guitarist and producer, Tomás Doncker.  Doncker, who is a past featured artist HERE, was so inspired by it that he set out working on a cover of the timeless track. He got part of the way through when he ran into a creative impasse that would require change to it that he respected the lauded song too much to just take license to do. So he halted work on it.  But often when things are cosmically ordained, paths to their completion are made clear. A chance introduction to Patti Smith’s daughter, musician Jesse Smith, in of all places, a neighborhood pharmacy Doncker was at picking up a few things before heading off to Finland for some work, led to a surprise FaceTime talk with the legend herself, right there in the store. Doncker, who they were familiar with and admired his work, explained his dilemma to Patti and to his great surprise, she gave her blessing to approach covering the song however he decided. And indeed he did deliver a hip, soulful and energetic rendition that doesn’t disappoint. The Smith family clearly agreed because a cover of the song with Doncker, Jesse Smith and her brother, musician Jackson Smith and introduced by their mom, Patti that was recorded and filmed at Electric Lady Studios will be featured as part of the A VIRTUAL FESTIVAL FOR RESTORATION AND RECOVERY happening this Friday, June 4, 2021 at 3pm EST, in honor of World Environment Day, which is officially on June 5th.

You see, needless to say, the song’s impact and intent was not lost on Patti and Fred’s kids, Jackson and Jesse Smith either.  In particular daughter, Jesse, who with cellist, Rebecca Foon and no doubt in the spirit of the song, founded in 2014, Pathway to Paris. As described in their mission statement, Pathway to Paris, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to turning the Paris Agreement into reality through finding and offering innovative and ambitious solutions for combating global climate change. The organization brings together musicians, artists, activists, experts, academics, politicians, innovators, all citizens of the planet to participate in a series of events, dialogues, and leading initiatives.

Pathway to Paris is joining 350.org, and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) North America Region to present the A VIRTUAL FESTIVAL FOR RESTORATION AND RECOVERY in celebration of the planet. The concert event will feature a diverse array of international music performances from the likes of Dave Matthews, Patti Smith, Jack Johnson, Ben Harper, Michael Stipe (REM), and several more including Tomás Doncker.

The concert event will stream live on June 4th at 3PM EST on these Facebook pages: www.facebook.com/pathway2Paris, www.facebook.com/350.org, www.facebook.com/unep, and www.facebook.com/UNEnvironmentNA

Marcus Machado delivers a stunning new interpretation of the color purple.

Marcus Machado is no stranger to the I SPY SOUL platform. Five years ago we shined a light on the virtuosic guitarist who since being acknowledged as a bonafide prodigy as a child, had been wowing audiences and notable artists alike. A suggested look back at that feature HERE will reveal why more high profile looks were likely on the horizon or have in fact, come to fruition. Before and leading up to the pandemic, the sought-after Machado was in addition to performing and recording as a lead artist, successfully juggling a dizzying schedule of work and performances with artists like vocalist Jose James, iconic DJ/Producer, Pete Rock, standout drummer, Daru Jones, Grammy-winning artist, Anderson.Paak, and with sibling, burgeoning producer Vicky Casis as part of their production team, Mach 7 Muzik to name just a few.

He’d also scored the music for the critically acclaimed hip hop documentary, Contact High as well as worked with Grammy-winning artist, Robert Glasper on the score for the Emmy-winning HBO documentary, The Apollo about the historic Harlem theater. He also worked with Glasper and Grammy-winning vocalist Lalah Hathaway on the NAACP Award winning documentary Mr.Soul which made it to the Academy Awards shortlist. 

So when the pandemic arrived and brought everything to a sobering, screeching halt, Marcus Machado had no choice but to … seemingly be as busy as if nothing were stopped at all.  The Mach 7 Muzik duo released two hip hop laced EPs, Black Summer Again, and Black Summer Vol.2As part of the supergroup Th1rt3en he joined rapper phenomenon, Pharoahe Monch, and the Grammy- winning, Daru Jones to release the trenchant, rock/hip hop gem,  A Magnificent Day For An Exorcism. The project, widely acclaimed, encouraged performances on the Stephen Colbert show and NPR’s popular Tiny Desk series along with several epic visuals. He performed live streams with Jose James and Pete Rock & The Soul Brothers whose project, Petestrumentals 3, on which he also appears, dropped late 2020. He and sister, Vicky Casis even created QSTV, a hip and innovative, bi – weekly program streaming live on YouTube that features a spectrum of accomplished creatives via live and recorded performances, DJ sets, music videos, interviews and more. 

Oh and one more thing, Marcus Machado released his long anticipated, debut album, Aquarius Purple, on vinyl in late February of this year and just recently on all other platforms. It is a triumphant and comprehensive display of not only the consummate guitar skills for which he is known, but as a producer, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist as well. Featuring frequent collaborators, Daru Jones, Grammy-winning vocalists, Jermaine Holmes and Ahrel Lumzy, accomplished rap artist, JSWISS as well as producer and multi-instrumentalist, TFOX, it is being considered one of the best releases of the year thus far.  

On the I SPY SOUL podcast edition interview, we talk to Marcus Machado about the new album, his near experience meeting Prince that inspired, “Her” and much more. BC

Featured Photo: Robert Adam Mayer

The following tracks were played during the course of the interview:

Opening and closing music: Dillafornia 6 by Daniel Crawford

“New Thangz” featuring DJ Spinna from the EP, 29 by Marcus Machado

“Let’s Play”, “AQ Intro” (Night Owl Child), “Black Psychedelic Funk” and “Her”

all from the new album, Aquarius Purple by Marcus Machado

For more on Marcus Machado go to www.officialmarcusmachado.com/ or follow him on Instagram

@ https://www.instagram.com/officialmarcusmachado/

And to check out Mach 7 Muzik go to https://mach-7muzik.bandcamp.com/

Another new “Pulse” features Sarah Vaughan Competition winner, Samara Joy and more

On this episode, The Pulse host and WBGO Afternoon Jazz radio personality, Keanna Faircloth talks with burgeoning jazz vocalist, Samara Joy.

The talented singer has achieved several honors including winning the prestigious Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition (SVVC) in 2019 and will be releasing her anticipated, self-titled debut album on July 9.

The second half of this episode will feature this year’s SVVC finalists – Benny Bennack III, Hailey Brinnel, Tawanda Suessbrich-Joaquim, and Gabrielle Cavassa. 

Join Keanna, Samara, and this year’s SVVC finalists, Wednesday May 26th @ 8PM LIVE on the WBGO Facebook Page for an always enjoyable and enlightening conversation.

For more about Samara Joy visit her website @ https://samarajoy.com/home

This month on “The Pulse” features violinist, Tomoko Omura

On this episode, in honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage month, The Pulse host and WBGO Afternoon Jazz radio personality, Keanna Faircloth talks with accomplished jazz violinist and composer, Tomoko Omura.

Omura is considered a prominent voice amongst today’s jazz violinist confirmed by acclaim coming from several noted platforms including Downbeat magazine who named her a “Rising Star” from 2015-2019 in their renowned Critic’s Poll.

Join Keanna and Tomoko, Wednesday May 19th @ 8PM LIVE on the WBGO Facebook Page for an always enjoyable and enlightening conversation as they talk about her musical journey including including her latest, Branches Vol. 1

If you miss it, catch it here on I SPY SOUL in rebroadcast!