La Danza Poetica #27 Soul (to Sol)

A joyful noise unto - yourself! 

Whatever your faith, whatever your hopes, whatever your dreams, take heart from the deep soul of the poets, breath deep and risk everything - everything. This month's show is a soul music and soul poetry dance, getting deep into the groove, for your summer/winter end of year wind down. There are a few very notable new releases featured, and to mention, so read on...


Nina Simone (Skyphos) - Feel Good
Dr Martin Luther King - Christmas message of hope
Maya Angelou - Life Doesn't
Maya Angelou - Courage
Aja Monet - Be Brave
IAMNOBODI - All This Love
Theo Parrish - These Roots (feat. Jerry the Cat)
Alice Aether - Alice Aether
IAMNOBODI - Une Belle Journée
Sandra Nkaké, Ji Dru & co. - A Place For You, Gil Scott Heron Tribute
Soul T - The Waking (feat. Andreattah)
Amin Payne - 1980s Interlude
Bengale - Je Danse Le Mia (IAM cover)
Amin Payne - Can You See (feat.Jersey)
Hiatus Kaiyote - By Fire
Ian Kamau - You, I (prod. Jai Nitai Lotus)
L'Orange - My Magic Is The Best Magic (I stole the samples)
Soul T - I Think I'll Never Fall In Love Again/ I Think Am Fallin’ In Love Again
Guillermo Chiapa - What's Going On Diaries (feat. Mr. Lif)
Ian Kamau - Heading Home ft. Georgia Anne Muldrow
Maya Angelou - The Thirteens
Aja Monet - Blue Eyes
Maya Angelou - Still I Rise

Notes on the show

Dr Maya Angelou. Iconic American writer, poet, actor, dancer, director, composer, lecturer. Beautiful, powerful, complex spirit of a woman. Soul mother to poets of conviction everywhere. When she left us in May the whole damn world seemed to be honouring her, and the mood was of celebration, joy and love. It is the way that we would all like to be remembered, yes? And now we have her back, in a new way, via the Caged Bird Songs release. Produced by RoccStar and Shawn Rivera, the album blends the poet's words with contemporary hip-hop and neo-soul beats. The results are not always sublime - though there are many sublime moments on the album. Even though the use of autotune might be said to make some sense in terms of Maya's calypso background, to me it's distracting when it's used, unecessary. At times, it feels like her own innate rhythm and style - her swing - has been cut up and 'forced' into a 4/4 beat, her measured, patient pace hurried by the tempo. As much as I'd love to just love it, there are tracks on here I probably won't revisit, and that's a shame to me given I love this lady's message and voice so much. But, there are tracks I will revisit, for sure, and often. The Thirteens works perfectly, as does the deep and moving gospel of Still I Rise, which closes this show. Harlem Hopscotch is a beauty. There is much to love, and I won't be churlish. I'm deeply happy we've been given this.

I wrote about Aja Monet's new EP a week or so ago, so I'll direct you there for more ... I said then that these tracks work on you and the amount of time I've been listening this past week proves that. Combining rock, blues, soul, and r’n’b, in tradition maybe of Saul Williams, Amir Sulaiman, but adding a rich melodic texture that rocks these songs into anthems, and bears out Aja's alignment of this work with Gil Scott Heron. In the podcast, my two favourites: Be Brave and Blue Eyes. On this EP Aja includes the Maya Angelou quote Courage, from that extraordinary conversation with Dave Chappelle (below if you missed it) - so I've included that also in the show. That's the engine at the heart of all of this.

Also I want to remind you of the beautiful poet Alice Eather, and her struggle for the soul of her country in West Arnhem Land - the soul of my, of your, of our country - I wrote about this and shared the track a few days ago - please read and watch here.

Every time, I say, "we will dance to poetry." This time, I hope, you are truly on your feet and exercising both your leg and your heart muscles. It's good to feel this way. It's good to feel like risking everything, to leap with the hope of flying free, to be brave, to be strong, to be true to the world, to, as Aja Monet sings, to "not behave." The soul poets exemplify this way of being. Whatever your faith and belief, I hope that Martin Luther King's Christmas prayer for peace gets a little closer to true for us all, in the next journey around the sun.