NDNs from All Directions

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Wednesday, 27 November 2013



If you are in the Toronto area...and if you are a believer that people power lies in the artistic expressions of a community, you need to follow what's happening in the Jane-Finch music scene, aka the Palisade Music Arts Academy (PMAA). Artists with skill and accolades in audio production, live instrumentation, film, video, photography and more provide the training. Ruben ‘Beny’ Esguerra, of A New Tradition, a conscious and innovative sound of Toronto’s latin and spoken word and hip hop union, is one of the professional artists involved and he is excited to present the work of his students at an upcoming event this Friday November 29th.  More on this below.  

PMAA  has teamed up with Youth ‘N’  Charge,a drop-in studio music program, training youth to produce an original EP.  Youth ‘N’Charge is a youth-driven initiative out of the San Romanoway Revitalization Association, which houses a fully operational recording studio, as well as a safe space for youth to access social services and referrals.

Those involved, create an original album to be marketed through media arts, getting a "hands-on" experience of producing and promoting their own music.  All of this inspires aspiring artists from the community to pic up the mic and pass it along.  

Get a sample here:


You are best to come on out to PALISTYLEZ COMPILATION VOL.2 THIS FRIDAY NOVEMBER 29TH to support and hear the productions of the artists who have worked so hard, and so persistently to see this project through. The artists/graduates will receive their diplomas and will release their debut album.  I am intrigued by this project and urge you to come out and support!  Everyone who's ever made it started somewhere.it would not be the first time that the Jane and Finch community turned out some gems for the T-dot, and the world.


Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Jungleespacegirl goes to Ithaca, NY

Clap your hands errebody if you got what it takes........... Well jungleespacegirl's back and wants you to know that these are the breaks............... enter bassline of MCs act like they don't know...nod your head....and join me as I slow down and look back to last April.

I took a 6-hour bus to Ithaca and all I got was an endless wave of nostalgia and inspiration.  Not to mention a real education. Yes, I was primarily on the campus of Cornell University, a place recently attributed with producing the smartest people in America, according to a study by Luminosity. But on one weekend, although, I did get a special tour of the archives including original documents, my mind and spirit were on a whole other trip.  One that sounded like Trans Europe Express echoing over the Bronx.  Nothing special, I just got to see the Emancipation Proclamation and the Gettysburg Address, some Egyptian Books of the Dead, you know, small stuff (super shout out to Katherine Reagan). 

What else happened?  Time came full circle as I witnessed the reunion of many of my childhood music and cultural icons and ambience, among lucky Ithacites in "Unbound from the Underground:  an Ithaca Community Celebration of Hip Hop Culture."  Say what?

This 3-day celebration kicked off Cornell's hip hop collection of everything from film, such as the actual reels of Charlie A'Hearn's Wild Style, to items worn in the Planet Rock video, to dj mixers, JJ Fad vinyl, vintage aerosol cans, and more, all of which were  framed and popping out with the blown-up photography of legendary Ernie Paniccioli and Joe Conzo. Imagine life-size pics of Biz Markie, Ice T, extra-large shots from the Self-Destruction video, not to mention pics of Queen Latifa looking at you.  And...a listening centre!  When do you ever get to see the grassroots honoured like this?  And on top of it, in a prestigious university campus! It was incredible to see that not only was this culture, art form, way of life, movement, that came out of nothing,  being celebrated, but with such deep respect.  I was truly touched by the university, represented by Katherine Reagan and Ben Ortiz who worked together in curating the collection, as well as the public library's authentic accolades given to the original creators of hip hop, (since griots and indigenous elders of course...) 

View of Now Scream from the balcony

First encounter with the work and the people's photographer, Joe Conzo

I was lucky to document the preservation of early hip hop artifacts, and was honoured to meet many of hip hop's architects like Rahiem from the Furious Five, Grandmaster Caz, Sha-Rock, of the Funky Four + 1, Jdl of the Cold Crush Brothers, Popmaster Fabel, Rock Steady Crew's Crazy Legs, Joe Conzo, Ernie Paniccioli, who has since become the recipient of the Universal Zulu Nation Human Soul Award, an award which has only been given a few times over the 40-year history of the Zulu Nation.  I could go on and on.  But when I was introduced to Afrika Bambaataa by Ernie P, it was a rap. No pun intended. 

For those who like to moov

What always brings me back to my blog is the link between where I was and where I'm at. The community I grew up in, with the music that pulls me, the random and rare cultural nuances that formed me as a youngster, appearing in the people I meet today. I heard that Afrika Bambaataa was into natural treatments, including ones from India. Well, my mom and him, and Ernie P have the same preferred cream for sore muscles,  ironically called moov

I'll leave you with some pics to give you a sense of the fantastic collection and celebration.  The exhibit runs til February 2014.  Plan your visit!

Many thanks again to Katherine Reagan and Ben Ortiz. Additional respects to Jason Corwin, Antithesis, Dajahi Wiley, Carol Kalafatic, Ansley Jemison and family, the beautiful building Akwe:kon and Ernie Paniccioli. And in the process, people who I've known in cyberspace and met again in person like Mr. Green Arrow and Helen Kuveke and family and Khaled Hussein El-Hakim.

Classic cds
Listening Centre:  told ya

Documenting the documentation of a legendary photographer who documented the early days of hip hop and beyond...
The Wild Style poster, which is next to the original Wild Style artwork. Down low are the Wild Style 16 and 33 mm reels safeguarded in the vault. Again, shout-out to Katherine.

The Mayor of Ithaca, aged 26 begins the unveiling of a civic landmark, with a talk of hip hop being "of the disenfranchised, but not the disillusioned."

An incredible panel called ""Unbound from the Underground: An exploration of Hip-Hop activism and social change from Indigenous and other cultural perspectives" featuring Double-Barrel Darrel and Prophecy of Antithesis (deadly,) Kiwi, a Pilipino emcee who talked and Brother Ernie P. The common thread: using hip hop ad a tool to decolonize the spirit. Moderated by Jason Corwin, comrade of many moons. 
Ernie P and Kenny Dope...I was once a house fiend...street sounds swirling through my ....and there's  Ben on the right

The ladies:
With Debrah Koffler, producer of Beats, Rhymes and Life (the Tribe Called Quest movie)
Ernie P and Carol, who hadn't seen each other in years..
Sha-Rock and I...first female emcee (not me, Sha-Rock)
Ernie, Deb and Katherine, curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts at Cornell - with the vision for the exhibit.
The sweet archetypal-looking library staff, who welcomed hip hop to Ithaca at the graffiti event. 

http://rmc.library.cornell.edu/hiphop/exhibition.html http://aip.cornell.edu/

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Let's Talk: NDN to Indian. Jungleespacegirl goes in with A Tribe Called Red, featuring their very own DJ Shub

About a year and a half ago, while taking my nightly stroll on soundcloud, the name caught my eye:  “A Tribe Called”…not Quest, so what could it be? Who would start their name with A Tribe Called, and not be Quest? Obviously people with great taste in hip hop and who probably add an indigenous-ness to the mix? You know who…and now that they have won the CBC contest for the best Canadian Champion Anthem, everyone will know…Take a deep breath, because I'm going in. Say it with me.   Ready? 
Now are  you also hearing the opening beat to Red Skin Girl in your head?   Anyhow, the minute I  saw song titles like “Electric Pow Wow Drum and I’m an NDN Too,” and the fact that these folks were specifically from Ontario, I knew that all those nights I spent searching for good music were well worth it. I follow tropical bass, but like the bass fish that lives in the sea, I have to sort through a lot of sounds. ATCR has been an anchor that represents home to me and always has something good to put on the table. Like fish, I mean bass. (Enter bhangra shoulders)

The first song that I heard was a cheerleader-type play on “I’m an Indian Too,” originally sung by Ethel Merman in “Annie Get Your Gun.”  Being of South Asian background, I thought, “SAME HERE!”  Childhood TV shots of Hollywood-constructed Native people in cinema suddenly appear.   And with ATCR’s version, accompanied by a photo of J-Lo in a headdress, I knew these guys were extremely fun cultural critics at the same time as being artists. Just look at  Bear Witness’ visuals. Crazy thing is that it’s 2012, and what’s been hottest in fashion over the last year?  “Native-inspired” patterns and designs in clothing, jewelry, footwear, sleeping bags, sofa upholstery, and suitcases, lunchboxes and more.  Um, yeee-ah, whatever.  Anyhow, check out the contrast between the original above, and the ATCR version. It’s all there.


Well unlike TAKING,  A Tribe Called Red gave away their debut album for free and you can still grab it at www.electricpowow.com. But good music, not just good karma  is making 2012 a success-filled year for ATCR.  The album is not only intriguing, it’s also ‘tight and good,’ to talk like KRS-One. Noticing this powerful turn in electronic, urban and indigenous music are UCLA’s Ethnomusicology Review, the unbeatable Northern Cree, Indigenous Resistance, tropical bass heavies like Diplo, blogger and producer, Caballo and one of my faves DJ Javier Estrada (Escuchas a DJ Javier Estradaaaaa).) Also, urban Cree hip hop legend Ernie Paniccioli (see last blog post),  loves them, and had a mutually epic opportunity to  welcome them to the stage at their recent gig at Toronto’s Hard Rock CafĂ©. He started  talking about a dream to have his people representing their music. Here's the tail end of his intro:  http://soundcloud.com/sumitasweetmart/memo

DJ Shub at the Red Bull Thr3e Style Comp in Toronto

Musically, he has brought his supremacy on the 1s and 2s to ATCR, BUT behind that B-boy stance and those DMC titles, is a humble yet skilled craftsman who collects vibrant sounds and transforms them into colourful, woven masterpieces. I had a chance to meet with DJ Shub, the afternoon before the Toronto battle and would like to now feature our conversation.
Jungleespacegirl:  What got you interested in working with music?

DJ Shub:  My brother was a mobile dj, who used to dj clubs in Buffalo. He used to go record shopping and I’d go with him. I’d see everything he’d buy, I’d watch him dj. He snuck me into a couple of his nights. That was the big turning point. He was the one who bought me my first set of turntables. He knew. He saw something and I always pay homage to that….And we turntablists pay homage to the 1200s!

Jungleespacegirl:  So, have you had any formal music training? Because your music is so tightly-arranged and intricately layered…

Dj Shub:  I took guitar lessons for a year. I went to school for recording and audio, but I taught myself everything. I started off as a hip hop producer. That’s why a lot of the samples I use are chopped up like the way people chop up music in hip hop.

Jungleespacegirl:  Your song ‘Powowzers,’ to me is the perfect example of your turntablist skillz shaping the sound of ATCR with the vocal chopping. And it reminds me of my brother, DJ M-Rock’s work as a turntablist, as I watched him develop from a fan to battle dj to a producer. Many of the effects that I’d hear him producing as a turntablist, now are an essential part of today’s electronic dance music. Like the beat juggles that are in the slowed tempo of dubstep.

Have a little listen to the DJ: http://soundcloud.com/sumitasweetmart/dj-shub-atcr-at-the-guverment

DJ Shub:  It’s true.  And M-Rock was a huge influence on me and my turntablism. The whole Funky Teknicianz crew….Them and the Turntable Monkz were the predominant Canadian turntablist crews when I started.  And I love M-Rocks’s mixtapes, they’re awesome.  
Dj Shub:  The ‘You Be Illin’ Run DMC single.  Krushin’ by the Fat Boys
Jungleespacegirl: What’s the first concert you attended?
DJ Shub:  The Dooby Brothers with my Dad. I had been to a lot of Dooby Brothers concerts.

Jungleespacegirl:  That would be envy to a lot of people. From the Dooby Brothers, to hip hop…  And now you are in the middle of the tropical bass movement. How does it feel?

DJ Shub: Being a part of this whole, world music, global bass movement that’s happening is a great feeling. It’s good to see all these other indigenous artists putting their indigenous music into the music that they are making. Just to be a part of that movement is awesome.
A lot of people try to pigeon-hole us as a hip hop act, but we’re not hip hop. Our roots may be based in hip hop but, we’re not a hip hop group. We were once at a party and someone asked us,” so who emcees?, ” just assuming that we are a hip hop group because so many Native groups are doing hip hop.

Jungleespacegirl thinking to herself: In a way tropical bass represents the 99%. To me, the Electric Pow Wow is one of the few places in North America, where the 99% can party together, and leave the notion of  “occupying a space” at the door. As DJ Shub says, “it’s  music FIRST.”
And, I think Native folks are getting down with tropical bass more than tropical folk. Ironically, Native folks, attending A Tribe Called Red shows are getting down to a wider variety of WORLD music than most second generation Canadians do when partying in the mainstream club district.  At my first EPW, I saw people go nuts to Chambacu by Chong X. I go to an ATCR party in Ottawa, and they throw down bhangra, and everyone’s losing it, and no one is shouting out loud, “it’s as easy as installing a light bulb.”  And by the way, at the same party, Bear Witness instantly filled up the dance floor with a reggae set.

Jungleespacegirl: There’s a powerful vibe at your shows when that pow wow drum starts up and that jingle comes in. And what I notice is that the three of you look like you’re having the best time up there. There’s a friendly exchange of humour and I’m always at the front, so I hear you guys say to each other, “ok, ready?” Time for the drop. What’s it like to work together live?

DJ Shub: Fun. I don’t really consider it work. We get as hyped up as the crowd gets. We feed off the crowd.

Jungleespacegirl:  I’ve noticed. You are very interactive with the crowd. At the first Electric Pow Wow you did in Toronto at the Drake, you dropped “Look At This.” It was magic. The crowd was literally screaming. The one holding the camera, clearly did not care about staying still. Bless her junglee heart.

DJ Shub:  That’s the pay off. Seeing people react like that.

Jungleespacegirl:  What else I like about ATCR parties is that you are playing your music and you are bringing out communities who might not regularly attend other parties.

DJ Shub:  We’ve created that comfortable space, so it’s a place where urban Aboriginals can come and enjoy their  music. They don’t see it as A Tribe Called Red’s music, but as OUR music.

Jungleespacegirl: I have been going to clubs for so many years, since I was 14 when I saw Deee-Lite at the Concert Hall. But I’ve never shared a dance floor with so many visibly Native folks at one time.

DJ Shub: The first A Tribe Called Red show, I ever came to, was the biggest shock to me. I didn’t even know you could get this many Natives together in one place.  It was a totally different vibe than what I’ve ever felt before and that was before we even had our own music, like before Electric Pow Wow Drum was made. This was when I had just come in to do a showcase battle set for people. Just to see so many brown faces, was crazy. I had never seen that, coming from a small town. The only time you see that is at pow wows, or socials. And then when we started playing our music… it was something I could never forget.

Jungleespacegirl:  I bet. What blew me away from at the first Electric Pow Wow I attended was hearing people singing along.

DJ Shub:  A lot of these people who were singing know the original songs that we sampled because a lot of the songs that we sampled are pretty well known to most of the Native community. I pointed that out to Ian,  "look, she knows the words, they’re singing our song.” Ian added yes, it’s Red Skin Girl and they know that song.”  Still, they’re singing OUR song! And it’s great because they feel even more connection with our music, which is exactly what we wanted.

Jungleespacegirl:  In school, we always learned that pow wows were gatherings. And I was at Ernie Paniccioli’s talk in the spring and I met a handful of Native folks from Alberta, and each of them had been to the Electric Pow Wow at some point or other here in Toronto. So, it’s people from everywhere coming together.

DJ Shub: For music to do that is powerful.
A Tribe Called Red with Ernie Paniccioli, Iskwe, Jungleespacegirl, Lily, Wab Kinew, QRock Ready to Rock and Griz on the Grind at the Hard Rock Cafe in Toronto

Urban Native Photographs Urban Natives:  Photo by Ernie Paniccioli

I knew Ernie Paniccioli’s body of work for a while. I didn’t even know he was Native until recently. And somebody told us that he was bigging up our music, and that shocked us.

Jungleespacegirl: He loves how you guys mix the traditional with the present, and are moving it forward. And he loves “Look At This, ” and apparently plays it in his car.

DJ Shub:  That was a song that Ian’s sister pointed out to us. And shot us an email suggesting we do a remix of a crow hop song, because up until then we had been doing straight pow wow songs. And when we heard it for the first time, for sure, this can work. A couple of hours later, we had it done.

Jungleespacegirl:  So, crow hop is an actual genre within Native music?

DJ Shub:  Yeah, there’s different styles of music and dancing and when you go to a pow wow, there’s crow hop, veteran songs, traditional, jingle dress songs. And they all have different tempos.

Jungleespacegirl:  So is that tempo similar to a crow hop song? How would your song compare with a traditional crow hop song?

DJ Shub:  Not too different. The one thing we didn’t want to do was overshadow the actual song. So our song is really a big bass behind their bass drum, and a bit of snare and a high hat. But we didn’t want to mask what was already there, because what was already there was amazing. We didn’t want to change too much of that track. And it worked….that’s my favourite song.

Jungleespacegirl:  Not surprising, it’s funky as hell.  Any upcoming collaborations?

DJ Shub:  Das Racist. We played it last night. It was the NDNs from All Directions. (see the top)

Jungleespacegirl:  In this tropical bass, world electronic scene, globetronica, and of course tribal or 3ball movement, I’ve seen some racist or stereotypical promo. Have you seen any like that? I know among European producers and club scenes, there are many of references to shamans, trances, headdresses, war paint. Edward Curtis took beautiful pictures, but I think some people don’t realize that Native people have moved a couple of inches since posing for his pics.

DJ Shub:  Yeah, for sure I’ve seen that. I think the artists haven’t been educated on it, but for us, that’s sort of like a way in. And it gives us a chance to discuss why it’s wrong through our music and other forms too. We all have our own way of dealing with it.  I try not to let it bug me too much, so it doesn’t get in the way of our creativity.

I thanked DJ Shub for generously sharing his precious time.
Thanks for joining me in Jungleespace…with much PEACE AND DUB.
I'm just trippin'. Here is the self-proclaimed Superfan, with her fave group,  who are fans of Ernie Paniccioli, who is standing in front of them, taking the picture, and is also their fan. Trippin.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Greetings All,

I've returned after some memorable journeys, some of which took me back and forward at the same time. Since music has always been with me, it's like a form of cloud technology, storing experiences, moods and memories.   Like repeating mantras, I play songs that strike a chord in me, over and over again.  My mind wants to master every second of it, and my spirit wants to flow in Jungleespace with it.  Sooner or later,  a part of me lives in that song and is nurtured by hearing it.  The best is that Jungleespacegirl is reborn continuously at the sound of previously loved tunes. I'm pretty sure you are too? 

Nostalgia is a wonderful and affirming gift. I have fond memories of visiting record stores with my brothers,  frequenting the magazine sections, and leafing through whatever caught my eye. British imported ones, American pop ones...but I'd also see mags covered with snapshots of rappers like Big Daddy Kane, MC Lyte, RUN DMC, Public Enemy.  In those days, there were lots of pics of both male and female rappers.  Gumbies, gold chains, kangols, tracksuits... These pics totally legitimized the hairstyles and looks that my Rexdale schoolmates adopted, but were never complimented for by our teachers.

Those images were powerful, not only because they represented the original greats of hip hop, but they also documented a period of under-documented American history.  More importantly, they shed a light on the many marginalized and talented people in urban America, who gave the world such incredible styles of visual and audio art, using very few resources.

Might you have also bought these mags,  cut out pics of your favourite artists and taped them up inside your locker, or notebooks, or bedroom walls?  Good chance that those very pics were photographed by hip hop legend, Ernie Paniccioli.  And therefore good chance that your life was touched by this renowned artist, photographer and human being, who by the way, has photographed far beyond the community of hip hop.  From the Dalai Lama, to Frank Sinatra, to Boy George, Marc Anthony, India, Michael Jackson, your favourite New York punk rocker and Tibetan music sensation...the list could be a blog post in itself.

I certainly felt nostalgic when I had the real pleasure to meet Ernie Paniccioli in late March at an event called "Igniting the Spirit," at the Native Canadian Centre in Toronto. While I only learned of him about a year ago, I realized that his work and vibe has been in my life for a long time. In fact, I feel like I knew his story, of an urban Cree growing up in Brooklyn, serving in the navy,  built of passion for his art, photography and teachings.  He represented the Temple of Hip Hop at the United Nations, alongside KRS-ONE and key original graffiti and music artists.   Today, he is revered for his wisdom, analysis and mad skillz on the mic, being interviewed, profiled and invited to represent from the UK to Canada.  And you know what else he does?   He meets with gangs and helps them reconcile their battles! And how did I not mention that he is the author of "Who Shot Ya?" and has published over twelve books, which by the way you can check out at:  http://www.lulu.com/shop/search.ep?keyWords=Ernie+Paniccioli&categoryId=100501

B-boy and Everywoman with Ernie at the Native Canadian Centre

He totally represents the hip hop that I grew up with. It never ceases to amaze me that this photographer, is a Cree elder now, who is down with John Trudell and spent quality time with every rapper on the block, including Biggie Smalls and Big Pun.  And, he has been an instrumental part in documenting the development of one of the biggest art forms in the world today.  All of this rolled into one.  I love that he is a fierce critic of the current trend in hip hop and with his untouchable clout,  expresses it through his facebook page "OCCUPY HIP HOP ERNIE PANICCIOLI."

Ernie, being a Native in this entertainment world, is so powerful and so unique.   The only thing I can compare to the beauty of Ernie's range of influences and identity is the beauty of Afrika Bambaataa loving Kraftwerk's Trans Europe Express so much. And that this openness and use of one sample, for me, birthed a whole generation to identify with that classic sound that represents a time, space sound and place. One that is urban American, German, and intergalactic at the same  time.  Jungleespacegirl ate it up like iron fortified infant cereal :)

Afrika Bambaataa and Ernie Paniccioli - Respect!
The original homeboys  - Kraftwerk

There is no shortage of articles and information about Ernie out there. He is so widely recognized for his work as a photographer, but also as a living historical resource on hip hop, having documented it since it blew up.  To learn more about Ernie's incredible life, check the links on the side. And down below, you'll get to hear Ernie doing spoken word, and what he had to say in Toronto this past March.

I would like to devote the rest of my space to share some excerpts of my treasured conversations with the one Ernie P.

Jungleespacegirl:   How had your work as a painter entered your work as a photographer?

Ernie:  Unlike most photographers, my photos look like paintings. Look at my shots of Latifah in red & gold or Kim on the piano or Lauren Hill with the big hat to feel what I'm saying.My composition and many nuances read as paintings.
Jungleespacegirl:  What was it like growing up as an urban Native in Brooklyn?

Ernie:  In my film "The Other Side of Hip Hop" the director Dion Ashman shows early photos of me and notes I looked "too ethnic" and unlike the White or Hispanic or Black kids so I did not fit in and as a result of being attacked and beat up I joined a gang, a Black Gang and by the time I was 13 was the Warlord of that gang THE BISHOPS.
Junglespacegirl:  You are a pioneer. No other Native American is so visible in hip hop. You're a legend now. The hip hop community looks up to you. How were you treated when the scene was new and developing?

Ernie:  Thanks for the compliments. When I first got into Hip Hop, that is shooting Hip Hop I had already studied Karate and spent 6 years in the US NAVY 4 1/2 of which was overseas. So I did not look like someone who would take to being hassled too kindly. In the macho ghetto world where Hip Hop was blossoming your vibe would either get you accepted or get you treated like a red haired step child. My vibe to this day seems (at least this is what I've been told) has an air of menace so I fit in really well. Plus since most photographers were scared to go where the action was I was able to get shots no one else could. And in a very short span of time I was known as the "go to guy" which increased my access to what was essentially an underground collection of art-forms.

Jungleespacegirl:  You're a legend, no doubt. And that's what makes your criticism of the current state of hip hop so powerful.  Do you ever hear back from the artists who you criticize?

B-boy standing in his Cree boy stance
Ernie:  I try not to criticize the artists who are essentially pawns in a much larger game. I have always tried to educate them because they have a much broader audience. Most know my credentials and my connections in True School Hip Hop and globally I never get any flak from them.
 I aim at the mindset and the industry which is connected to the prison industrial complex and the wider entertainment cabal. The end goal is to dumb down our youth, fill the jails, create a stronger plutocracy and abolish human rights and install an all pervasive police state. I know that sounds dark and foreboding and "conspiratorial" but that is the bigger picture. 

We were warned by Aldous Huxley and the books "1984" and "Brave new World". And the erosion of civil liberties and the expansion of intelligence gathering is mind boggling. The real question is how do I maintain a sense of humor and optimism and not get paranoid.

Jungleespacegirl:  So, how do you maintain your sense of humour and not get paranoid?

Ernie: I thought you'd never ask. Buddhism teaches detachment. Detachment allows you to do whatever it is you do and love the process.

Jungleespacegirl:  How did you get into Buddhism and how does it fit with your Cree background, if I may ask?

Ernie:  Being Cree or Asian or Mexican only gives you a framework to build a life onto. When I meet people who are totally immersed in being a race or gender or religion I try hard to avoid them. Life as I see it is boundless and magical and unless you live on a tiny island or small isolated village you should spend your life expanding and exploring. This was not done consciously no more than becoming a so called "Legend" was. It was instinctual and natural and reinforced with travel and meeting amazing people all over the planet. And yes I have had mystical and even supernatural experiences but again did not stay in those "places".

 One of the key messages I took with me from Ernie's talk was to discover the artist in you.  To take the power from the Creator, put it in your art and love your art. As expected, Ernie rocked the mic right.   Special shout-out to Ernie Paniccioli for his generosity of spirit...Again, check out the videos below for added inspiration! 

Ernie signing my copy of "They Call it Graffiti"
"Sometimes you wonder if anyone is truly listening and then along comes a poem or a day with Native youth in Toronto and it all makes sense." - Ernie Paniccioli



 And before I leave you for the month, you GOTTA check the new release from Indigenous Resistance:  http://dubreality.wordpress.com/2012/04/05/ir-26-this-land-is-not-for-sale-ivere-now-available-on-itunes/
It includes a song that I've heard evolving from one version to another. All based on a powerful speech by an indigenous woman from Atenco, Mexico, where a community has faced tremendous brutality and also political imprisonment for resisting the government's efforts to build an airport on their land. "This Land Is Not For Sale" is a crucial collaboration between Asian Dub Foundation and Indigenous Resistance.  On vocals is Toronto's Rio Runakanta...together, it gets me dancing each and every time!


07 This Land Is Not For Sale [No 'Fraid For No Tear Gas Jamaican Mix]

07 This Land Is Not For Sale [No 'Fraid For No Tear Gas Jamaican Mix]

Monday, 12 March 2012


Welcome to the world of jungleespacegirl, home to rebel music, culture and living. 

I have to say:  I've been buzzing with inspiration.  This is because a part of me got lost along my journey, but good news is, it got found!

And it's been a homecoming, as I've always been a follower of music, but got busy with mommying, and only listened to my own cds. UNTIL, about a year or so ago, when I connected with the tropical bass movement that has been flourishing in cyberspace. Suddenly music became so accessible again...hyper-accessible...maybe too accessible?  Not enough time to dance, sing, share, and deconstruct the fresh choonz in one day.

Last time I checked, tropical peoples liked to have a nap, show up late to parties....but the music's rising faster than the Amazon during flood season, and I struggle to keep up.
And, so, jungleespacegirl has landed and wants to SLOW things down a bit....in a good way, like a SLOWED down segment in a turntablist's routine.  I think we're moving so fast with posting and not enough time with introspecting.

Tropical bass is irresistable because it gives voice to the "voiceless," or to the global 99% to use today's words. Growing up in an immigrant family, I knew that music needed no particular language, if any language at all.  But those were very racist times, so I kept that music confined to home...and of course, the car....because South Asian radio was HUGE back in the day! 
Besides, I knew Lata Mangeshkar's voice was always with me...I didn't need a Lata tatoo. But today, I can enjoy a solid remix by Daniel Haaksman, bringing together the 1970s sound with the kickin effects of contemporary sounds and energy.

In the 90s, "world music" became big and I enjoyed some of it...but I don't like music just because it comes from somewhere else. I get the heebeejeebees when music is exotified and appreciated as a  mysterious unknown people's sound...all this reminds me too much of Rudyard Kipling's poem the "White Man's Burden." Nor do I like fusion for fusion's sake. Most people are beyond that, thankfully.
Having said all this, there's room for criticism in tropical bass music too. It's subversive but the culture surrounding it can repeat some of the orientalizing or stereotyping or exotifying approach towards people, no? This disturbs me because it obscures existing unequal power relations, and gives some a twisted feeling that they are respecting a people, when really, tokenizing and McDonaldizing their culture. When I go out to listen to music and release my work week stress, I don't want this vibe. 

On the contrary, I need edge. I need my politics and my sonic fabric to mesh together. It might be something vintage or something fresh, kicked up with distortion and power.  Slammin beats and sharp effects....all bigging up the roots, while representing our time. Like Cartagena by caballo and the mothafu kings, released many moons ago.  Perfect example. I'm posting this because it was the track that pulled me back into the evolving world of electronic dance music or tropical bass...whatever you want to call it, it friggin rocks my socks.
I must say, as that junglee girl of immigrant background vibin' to all these great soundz, I am privileged to hear this music on Turtle Island. The tropical 99% is bringing tha noise and so are the original peoples of this land...!  
I want to share them both..loud and proud. Like, A Tribe Called Red, whose work is stretching minds and knocking down stereotypes like nobody's business. An entire post will be done just on the many layers of their deeply subversive work. The more I follow, the more my head nods with respect.

Back to the top, I share special tracks, launching this blog with Gypsy by Universal Taal Project. It's been hugely inspiring, helping jungleespacegirl to come to a landing. The vocals are not a woman's but are sick with attitude and confidence...the essence of the junglee girl...