Cappuccino Soul

Cappuccino Soul

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Try and Make it Better: The Whispers

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"People stop complainin' bout this world of ours
Try and make it better ...."   (by The Whispers)

Try And Make It Better by The Whispers

Monday, July 26, 2010

It's a Family Reunion: Part 2

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More beautiful faces and family fun!

Uncle Will                                       

   Tasha and her little lady      
 

Ajemu and Shelley

Gigi and Brandon

Me
           

It's a Family Reunion: Part 1

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We hugged, kissed, danced, sang, laughed, told stories, and ate ourselves silly last weekend at the family reunion, where the descendants of Thomas and Laura Grier gathered together in Charlotte, N.C. (Laura was my great great grandmother and I just discovered her name a few days ago!) There’s nothing like the love and joy of family to renew your spirit and fill you up with enough energy to last until the next one!

                                          Gigi and Granddad
                                                           

        Gigi and Meikai

                                                         
Gigi and Monica
                

     

      Gigi and Demetrus

Monday, July 19, 2010

Street Art: Diamonds Lead to Blood?

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by Italian graffiti artist Bros

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Strange Fruit: Marsalis and Galliano Rehearsal

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Rehearsal footage for the recording by Wynton Marsalis and Richard Galliano titled, "From Billie Holiday to Edith Piaf: - Live in Marciac"

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

We are Eternally Grateful

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When we get mail from my Dad, Gigi loves to open it – she’s hoping to see some money. When he does send money, she says, “Wow! Granddad’s rich.” I say , "No, he’s not rich, he’s just kind enough to help us out in our hour of need."

Thanks Dad (Granddad)! -- and Grandmom, MaDear, Cheryl, Annette, Pastor Al; and other friends and relatives who have:

-- picked us up when the car broke down
-- given us rides to places when the car wasn't working
-- prayed for us in our times of despair
-- encouraged us when we needed it
-- paid for gifts to lift our spirits
-- listened to us cry when we were down, discouraged, or being persecuted
-- provided free sitting services, and
-- prayed for us to be well and blessed.

We are eternally grateful.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

NY Legislator: Ban Corporal Punishment in Schools

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From BNET:

Hitting children in school does not help them achieve academic success. Hitting children in schools is not an effective discipline tactic. Hitting children in school does not make them feel safe in school. Instead, they feel humiliated, helpless, depressed, and angry. Hitting children teaches them that it is not a legitimate way to handle conflict.


Paddling Targets Minorities, Children With Disabilities, U.S. Reps. Carolyn McCarthy and Bobby Scott Say
by SARAH NETTER

June 29, 2010—

ABC News

The debate on corporal punishment reached Washington today where a New York congresswoman introduced legislation to remove paddles from U.S. schools.

While the idea of taking a paddle to a student's backside may seem archaic, even barbaric, it's still a well-regarded form of discipline in some corners of the country, mostly in the South.

U.S. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y., said she's hoping to get her bill folded into a larger education package that could be debated later this year. She told ABCNews.com that she sees corporal punishment as a school safety issue that breeds more problems than it solves.

"We know that children that are paddled end up being more aggressive," she said. "They learned that conflict is handled by striking out and hitting."

McCarthy, who was herself rapped on the knuckles in Catholic school in the 1950s, said the paddle may not leave physical scars, but the emotional toll could last for years. Her legislation, she said, piggybacks on previous federal laws outlawing hitting a child in a Head Start program or a hospital setting.

"When you see where the paddling can actually physically harm a child, those are the wounds you can see," she said.

Bill co-sponsor U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., who was paddled lightly in elementary school, agreed, citing studies showing higher dropout rates for students were who hit in schools.

"It teaches the child that if you don't like what's going on you resort to violence," he told ABCNews.com "What kind of message is that?"

McCarthy said she hasn't gotten public pushbacks on her effort, "but I'm sure I will."

Corporal punishment is seen by some educators as an effective way to curb growing trends of student violence and misbehavior. And new advocates for corporal punishment are making headlines with regularity.

According to the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights projections for 2006, the most current data available, more than 223,000 children got the paddle, compared with more than 3.3 million cases of suspension and more than 102,000 expulsions.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Always an Angel With You

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An angel will always be living with you.
-- Gigi

Friday, July 02, 2010

Marsalis and Galliano: From Billie to Edith

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CD Review: From Billie Holiday to Edith Piaf

by Alicia Benjamin

Here’s what Billie Holiday and Edith Piaf had in common:

- They were both born in 1915.

- They both spent years away from their mothers – Piaf’s mother abandoned her when she was an infant, and Holiday was raised mostly by relatives. She also spent some time in a school for troubled girls when she was nine.

- Both women had brushes with prostitution. Holiday actually worked as a prostitute in New York City and Piaf virtually grew up in a house of prostitution that her grandmother ran in Normandy.

- They both used drugs heavily.

- The two women are considered great artists and icons in their respective countries.

- Their voices are distinct. When you hear Billie Holiday sing, you know it’s her, just a few notes into the song -- the same can be said about Piaf.

- Both women sang passionately about unrequited love or love gone wrong in a way that has made people drop their heads and cry.

It’s easy to see how musicians Wynton Marsalis and French accordionist Richard Galliano would decide to make a recording which pays tribute to these two gifted and tragic ladies. When one considers that Holiday and Marsalis were heavily influenced by Louis Armstrong -- that Armstrong made Piaf’s hit “La Vie en Rose” one of his own signature numbers -- and that both Galliano and Armstrong greatly admired pioneer jazz trumpeter Clifford Brown – the Marsalis/Galliano collaboration, “From Billie Holiday to Edith Piaf: Live in Marciac,” makes perfect sense.

Recorded live at the Marciac Jazz Festival two years ago, this recently released CD seamlessly blends the sensuous and haunting qualities of Holiday and Piaf’s music. Marsalis, his Quintet, and Galliano go back and forth between compositions made famous by both women, effortlessly establishing and changing rhythms, moods, and phrasing -- making the recording one harmonious love letter to the two chanteuses.

Piaf’s Songs

The musicians start off with “La Foule,” a jovial Peruvian Waltz that Galliano bounces playfully through with his accordion. This number also features festive and nimble piano playing by Dan Nimmer, and Marsalis is steady in the background, supporting the groove. (Both Galliano and Marsalis adeptly switch from lead to accompanist on this project when necessary.)

“Padam…Padam” conjures up images of the mountains in the South of France. Beginning with piano tinkling, Galliano’s accordion gives the song a klezmer feel and Marsalis comes in brassy and strong midway on the song, giving it a dash of seduction. The tambourine player spices up the number with all kinds of exotic, syncopated sounds.

Holiday’s Songs

On “What a Little Moonlight Can Do,” the band takes off right away with a fast tempo that’s a little faster than Billie did it, but maybe that’s to take the listener’s mind away from Holiday’s impeccable tackling of the song. Marsalis’ and Galliano’s version is playful and showcases the two musicians’ ability to collaborate as artists together, and also with the drummer Ali Jackson and bass player Carlos Henriquez. Marsalis shows off his ability to do elaborate runs on this piece, as Jackson shows off his high hat ability, and the bass player contributes audacious rhythm with some nimble thumping.
Of course Marsalis and Galliano couldn’t possibly pay tribute to Billie Holiday without including a version of “Strange Fruit” on the CD. Marsalis starts the song -- infamous for its horrific and poetic images of lynchings -- with appropriate trumpet wails and calls. His passionate, harsh screeches in the beginning of the song sound like somebody shouting in church who “gets happy” and angry at the same time.

Billie

Galliano’s original song “Billie,” which sentimentally honors Holiday, begins with soft piano notes and flows smoothly into a graceful and romantic accordion solo by Galliano. Marsalis compliments “Billie” with rich elegant playing, reminiscent of his style on the “Hot House Flowers” CD from the mid80s. Galliano’s “Billie” is both sad and sensual at once – just like the Lady herself.

With From Billie Holiday to Edith Piaf: Live in Marciac, Marsalis and Galliano fluidly come together and with them, they carry Holiday and Piaf into the future, where they unmistakably belong.