by: cathy foreman
On this last day of June, I close out our Black Music Month series featuring none other than a couple of amazing musicians. Every week this month I’ve spoken with various people who are, in some way, associated with the music industry; curators, businesses, and photographers. They all answered one question for us: What does music mean to you? The responses have been both inspiring and insightful.
I’ve found that even this one question was revealing, giving a glimpse into the why, for some, with regard to how music shaped them or how music helped them express themselves. Music is a universal communicator. Across the world, in regions where English is not prominent, this is how English is learned. That, in and of itself speaks volumes.
We celebrate Black Music Month because we have recognized our own. With much of music influenced by black people, it is essential. It was in 1978 that a group of black executives formed the Black Music Association (BMA) and from that spawned Black Music Month, the following year. The underlying premise of Black Music Month was founded on the need for us to have more control over our own business, the business of making music. On June 7, 1979, President Jimmy Carter decreed that June would be Black Music Month and sealed the deal by hosting the first Black Music Month Celebration on the lawn of the White House.
In closing of this series, I give you Darryl Yokley and Fatin Dantzler.
I started following Daryl a few years ago on Facebook after he commented on one of my pieces of art. Darryl is a saxophonist, composer and arranger living in New York. His latest project, Pictures at an African Exhibition blends the arts by pairing his music with the artwork of illustrator, David Emmanuel Noel. The music alone is absolutely breathtaking, it’s classic jazz and then it accompanies gritty illustrations that provide you a sort of sensory overload, but in a very good way. It’s almost as if the music helps you truly see the artwork. It’s a definite compliment for both pieces as they are each able to stand on their own.
For me music is life. It encapsulates my personal experiences and my view of the world, which are shaped by family, friends, culture, and society. Sometimes I bare the naked truth of reality out there for everyone to see, and sometimes I let the listener in on my inner most desires and dreams. Music is such a powerful medium and has the potential to express all this and more.
If you know Kindred the Family Soul, then you know Fatin as one half of the dynamic duo, who also happen to be husband and wife. I’ve been a fan of the couple since their debut album, Surrender to Love, back in 2003. Gosh it seems longer than that. Then a couple of years ago, the duo came to Raleigh for the opening night of a new night spot. After watching them live, I was even more hooked. But what really sold me on the duo, was the fact that they were so down to earth. They came out of the dance floor and grooved with the patrons. For me, at the time, it was like nothing I had ever seen. I’d seen cd signings and so forth, but this was different. This was more personal. This was your homegirl and homeboy, chilling enjoying the party with you and that was, I thought, unheard of. But how they were that night, is in fact how they are in their everyday lives. When you watch their social media, you can feel the sense their inclusiveness and understand why they are considered hometown heroes.
Music is a universal language and medicine that can heal and poison depending on what is behind the melody and message. What does music mean to me? A form of creative freedom and an opportunity to express whatever I feel sonically and emotionally.
When I posed the question “what does music mean to you?”, I didn’t realize, that personally, it would mean so much. Here I sit today, reviewing the responses from everyone, feeling completely touched and grateful. In a way, I feel closer to these individuals.
Thank you to everyone who contributed to this series.
You can revisit the series click the following links: