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Friday, November 29, 2013

Producer's Note: The Multidimensional Akim Funk Buddha

by Darrell McNeill

Week ten of BAMcafé Live featured two different takes on Black American roots music, both of which overflowed with people attuned to good music and good vibes. New Orleans quintet, Water Seed, mixed a spicy soul/funk/jazz gumbo on November 22, bringing the crowd to its feet with infectious sounds from the Big Easy. An all-star assemblage of talent gathered for a musical celebration of the 60th birthday of jazz trombonist Earl McIntyre on November 23, covering a huge cross section of jazz from show tunes to Latin to hard bop to experimental.

Thanksgiving weekend marks the annual residence of award-winning hip-hop auteur Akim Funk Buddha and his “Hip-Hop Holiday.” The multidimensional Akim—rapper, beatboxer, singer, poet, dancer, martial artist, choreographer, dramaturge of movement theater and cultural ambassador—has collaborated with a galaxy of stars, including Bill T. Jones, Vernon Reid, Saul Williams, Daniel Bernard Roumain, and many others.

This weekend, he celebrates hip-hop’s roots and its global links with two halves of a programmatic whole: the first night, Friday, November 29, is dedicated to the pure essence of hip-hop with a performance by Akim and his rap troupe, Zimbabwe Legit, stripping things down to the emcee and the DJ as the core components of the culture.

The second night, Saturday, November 30, is the elaborate “Urban Tea Ceremony,” featuring Akim’s Urban Orchestra, cross-referencing the international connections between hip-hop culture and world culture, with a particular emphasis on Asia—given the corollaries between hip-hop “B-boying” (breakdance moves such as “waaking,” “uprocking,” “downrocking,” etc.) and martial arts and East Asian folkloric dance.

Akim Funk Buddha’s Hip-Hop Holiday has been featured in the café for nine years and has entertained packed houses every time—an event not to be missed for fans of real hip-hop.

Hope to see you in the café this weekend…

Darrell McNeill is the Associate Producer of Music Programming at BAM. 

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