Summer in Brooklyn wouldn’t be summer without Weeksville Heritage Center’s annual Garden Party, now would it? So mark your calendars for another exciting month of free Saturday outdoor concerts. And, as was the case last year, I’m really thrilled that Boldaslove.us returns as a media partner for this great series.
It’s already been called “the best outdoor bash of the summer” by the NY Daily News. Now in case you’re not familiar, Weeksville Heritage Center documents and preserves the history of the free and intentional 19th century African American community of Weeksville. The historic Hunterfly Road Houses (three historic houses dating from 1840 – 1880s) are original domestic structures of the historic community.
Weeksville and its curator Shawn Peters packed a lot of great music into a short period of time. If you came through last year, you saw artists like Cody ChestnuTT, Valerie June, Kimberly Nichole, Kameron Corvet, and Blitz the Ambassador. This year will be no less exciting. As was the case last year, there will be delicious food courtesy of local favorties NY Dosa, Wafels and Dinges, Nha Toi, La Table Exquise and Kem’s Jerk. All events start at 6PM, except for the July 2, which starts at 4pm with a lecture by acclaimed novelist Teju Cole. Check out the lineup:
Pharoahe Monch has earned a reputation as one of hip-hop’s most gifted lyricists, described as “one of the most socially conscious cats in the game” (XXL), tackling real issues with a”full, flawless voice” (Spin). From his pioneering work as one half of the critically acclaimed alternative hip-hop duo Organized Konfusion, to his solo debut in 1999, the Southside Jamaica, Queens, M.C has gained fans all over the world. Over the course of his career, Monch has collaborated with hip-hop’s greatest and worked alongside a cast of artists as diverse as MosDef, Justin Timberlake, P. Diddy, Linkin Park, Wyclef Jean, Macy Gray, will.i.am, and Beck. Hot off the heels of his newest album, W.A.R. (We Are Renegades) via Duck Down Music/WAR Media, Monch will deliver a highly anticipated set.
Congolese-Belgian singer/rapper Baloji and his band blend the lilting, melodious, guitar sounds of traditional Congolese music, rumba, Nigerian afro-funk, soukous, and what he calls retro-futuristic tradi-modern style with lyrics that weave socio-political stories about life in Kinshasa and Belgium.
Meshell Ndegeocello was born Michelle Johnson in Berlin, Germany, and raised in Washington, DC. Her records, eight to date, have offered lyrical ruminations on race, love, sex, betrayal, God and power. She has simultaneously embraced and challenged listeners with her refusal to be pigeon-holed musically or personally. A vast array of influences have informed all of her albums, including her latest—Devil’s Halo, which includes traces of her native go-go, hip-hop, rock, R&B, new wave and punk.
Celebrated for her musicianship as a bass player, Ndegeocello brings her signature warm, fat, and melodic groove to Weeksville, in the borough she now resides. She has collaborated with the Rolling Stones, Madonna, Alanis Morrisette, James Blood Ulmer, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Tony Allen, John Medeski, Billy Preston and Chaka Khan, among others.
Indie singer/songwriter/keyboardist Muhsinah’s sound includes gripping vocals, inspired wordplay and thoughtful composition. The classically trained, Washington D.C. native toured with Common last year and is featured on his track “Changes.” For her Weeksville set, Muhsinah will perform songs from her forthcoming album Gone, due out this summer.
Originally from Nigeria, singer/songwriter/guitarist, Keziah Jones burst on the scene in 1993 with his first album, Blue Funk is a Fact which included Rhythm Is Love, a single that became a worldwide hit and exhibited many of the musical directions that Jones would take during his career, from blues to funk via rock, pop and Afrobeat. Based in Brooklyn, while keeping up his Lagos-Paris-London shuttle trips, Keziah Jones has toured around the world. Jones covered U2’s One on the compilation In The Name of Love: Africa Celebrates U2, he has also worked with Les Nubian and Amadou and Miriam. His fourth studio album, Nigerian Wood, was released in 2007.
Born in Detroit, Michigan, emerging artist Sophia Urista has been seen all around New York brandishing herunique blend of soul, blues and rock and roll at venues such as Sugar Bar and Le Poisson Rouge. The Brooklyn-based artist cites Tina Turner, Bjork, Etta James and Janis Joplin as influences.
Since his first mixtape in 2008, Trinidad born, Brooklyn-raised MC Theophilus London has worked with Mark Ronson, Damon Albarn, Solange Knowles, DaveSitek and Ellie Goulding. Mashing a sharp mix of 80’s electro-soul and synth pop with smooth lyrical delivery and straightforward rhymes, London’s voice is a refreshing glimpse into the future of hip-hop music. His debut album–Timez Are Weird These Days–is set for release this summer. Recorded over the last year in Stockholm, New York and Los Angeles, London worked with a number of different producers including Ariel Rechstshaid (Foreign Born, MURS, Glasser), Jokke of The Teddybears, John Hill (Santigold) and Dave Sitek of TV on the Radio.
The Brooklyn-based band Phony Ppl produce what they call “Feel Good Music,” a seamless blend of hip-hop with rock and jazz elements. The eight-member band—all comprised of young adults under the age of 21—will perform music from the upcoming LP, Morning Music.
Stay tuned for Q&A’s with some of the artists in the series.