(l to r: Karma Johnson, Lisette Santiago, Lynne Procope, Abena Koomson, Aklebulan, Tamar-Kali, Latasha Diggs, Onel Mulet)
4 pm on a sunny August Sunday afternoon in Damrosch Park–and no shade–is not a good look. It was hotter 'n a mugh. But the music made it all worth it.
My hat's off to Latasha Diggs for pulling together a talented group of women, backed by the BRC Orchestra, for this tribute to Miriam Makeba, Eartha Kitt, Abbey Lincoln and Odetta. She did a great job of pairing the right songs with the right singers. It made for a truly energizing afternoon. And while I'm always happy to hear Tamar-Kali and Latasha, I have to say that all the other singers are artists worth checking out. Karma Johnson, in particular, tore up Abbey Lincoln's "Africa".
Also, it was very cool to see blues legend Beverly "Guitar" Watkins (above w/ Ben Tyree). She's one of a kind.
Kudos to all for an exciting afternoon of music!
Latasha kindly provided the set list, so here it is in case you want to check out the original versions:
- Abena Koomson (Miriam “Tonados Media de Noche”) + poem by Lynne Procope
- Lisette Santiago (Abbey “Afro Blue” + percussion play with Roman Diaz)
- Tamar-Kali (Eartha “Cest Si Bon”)
- Karma Mayet Johnson (Odetta “Oh Papa”) w/ Beverly "Guitar" Watkins
- Alkebulan w/Tamar, Karma, Lisette backing (Miriam “Amanpondo”)
- Latasha Diggs (Abbey “Driva Man”) + poem by Jayne Cortez
- Aklebulan (Eartha “A Woman Wouldn’t be A Woman")
- Tamar-Kali (Odetta “Timber”)
- Karma Mayet Johnson (Abbey “Africa")
- Finale: Abena Koomson w/ all back up (Miriam “Pata Pata”)
Latasha Diggs (l) and poet Jayne Cortez
Tamar-Kali, who will be at Joe's Pub this Thursday, doing an acoustic set
Credits for this event:
- Onel Mulet, Musical Director
- Laronda Davis, President of BRC
- Flyer Design, Douglas Kearney
- Ben Tyree, Guitar
- Eri Yamamoto, Piano
- LaFrae Sci, Drums
- Lewis Barnes, Trumpet
- Lisette Santiago, Bata
- Miriam Berkely, Bass
- Roman Diaz, Percussion