Cappuccino Soul

Cappuccino Soul

Friday, January 28, 2011

Another Look at Egypt and Tunisia

Dizzy Gillespie and Arturo Sandoval perform "A Night in Tunisia" (and I mean they really play it!)

And for a taste of Egypt, listen to The Jones Girls croon "Nights Over Egypt" (ohh la la!)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Cascade Festival of African Films

The Athlete, directed by
Rasselas Lakew and Davey Frankel

To see a gold mine of films out of Africa, try very hard to attend the Cascade Festival of African Films, Thursdays through Saturdays, Feb. 4 through March 5 in Oregon at Portland Community College and surrounding venues.

Films from Algeria, Ghana, Cameroon, Kenya, Uganda, USA, and other places will feature and highlight the people of Africa and those who have connections to the continent. Such topics as albinism, present day slavery, romance, and the Olympics are explored in these unique and compelling films. Where else in Ameica could you find such a treasure of cinema?

Watch a clip from the film Stolen, set in Western Sahara:

Directed by Violeta Ayala and Dan Fallshaw
From: Australia, Western Sahara, 2009, 75 min.

Directors Ayala and Fallshaw set out to make a simple documentary about family reunions in Saharawi refugee camps controlled by the Polisario Liberation Front. Their project became much more complicated when they discovered that many of the dark-skinned refugees were in fact the slaves of those with lighter complexions. Or were they? Was there really widespread servitude or was it something more culturally subtle? The Polisario denied the filmmakers’ assertions, labeled them cultural imperialists, and tried to stop the project. The result is a powerful, suspenseful film, which raises thought-provoking questions about the possibility of documentary objectivity. The film has provoked an ongoing international controversy. Winner of the Best Feature Documentary Prize at the 2010 Pan-African Film Festival in Los Angeles.

In Hassaniya, Spanish, and English with English subtitles.

Click here to visit the Cascade Festival of African Films Website.

Friday, January 21, 2011

African Proverb: The Sky Sees the Back

OK. I LOVE this one, for reasons I can't fully comprehend just yet. It simply lifts my spirits!

It is the sky that sees the back of the flying bird.
                                                 -- (Nigeria- Igbo)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Healing Passages film on Documentary Film Channel

During a period of 350 years an estimated 15 to 20 million Africans, from all over West Africa, were held on Goreé Island. More than 6 million of them died in captivity on this island, from cruel treatment and deprivation. Twice as many more were put on ships that took them to a life of chattel slavery on the other side of the Atlantic. A growing number of people are beginning to make make a connection between the psychological traumas of slavery and our behavior today.

Goree Island, Senegal
The shipping point where many slaves, brutally treated, were housed
before they took the long and horrific journey to the Americas.
The text above is taken from the Website for the film The Healing Passage: Voices From the Water, which explores the residual impact of the African Holocaust, slavery and its reverberations in the world today. View a clip from the project, directed by filmmaker and journalist S. Pearl Sharp, at, and find out where you can purchase this moving film. The Healing Passage features such luminaries and artistic giants as Oscar Brown, Jr., Ysaye Barnwell, Tom Feelings, and Babatunde Olatunji.

The Documentary Film Channel's Suzanne Holmes was kind enough to provide me with the scheduled broadcast dates for “The Healing Passage: Voices from the Water.” Here it is:

Documentary Film Channel
Tue., Feb. 22, 2011 8 p.m.
Tue., Feb. 22, 2011 11 p.m.
Wed., March 9, 2011 9 p.m.
Thurs., March 10, 2011 12 a.m.

From S. Pearl Sharp's Website:

How do we heal from the residuals of The Middle Passage?

Cultural artists, along with historians and healers, look at present day behavior that is connected to the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. For more than 300 years Africans were carried from their homeland, across the Atlantic Ocean ("The Middle Passage"), into chattel slavery in the Americas and the Caribbean. The residual impact of this African Holocaust still reverberates in the world today through psychological trauma, genetic memory, personal and community consciousness. The artists use music, dolls, dance, altars, spoken word, visual art and ritual to create paths to healing.

How has the psychological trauma of centuries of slavery affected our lives, souls, and behavior today? The answers to that question have filled thousands of pages in books and hopefully will lead to the intense healing that we still, so desperately, need.

House of Slaves

Friday, January 14, 2011

MLK Film at American Film Institute (Silver Spring, Md.)

If you happen to be in the Washington, D.C. area on the Martin Luther Kind holiday Monday, you've got to check this out.

Annual Martin Luther King, Jr., Day Celebration


Special FREE Event! Monday, January 17, 10:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m.

A riveting compilation of documentary footage of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., from the Montgomery bus boycott to the "I Have a Dream" speech at the Lincoln Memorial, from the dogs of Selma to the Nobel Prize and the fateful motel balcony in Memphis. With narration and commentary from Sidney Poitier, James Earl Jones, Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, Charlton Heston, Harry Belafonte, Ruby Dee, Clarence Williams III and others. Co-directed and produced by Hollywood notables Sidney Lumet and Joseph L. Mankiewicz.

Directed by Sidney Lumet and Joseph L. Mankiewicz; Written and Produced by Ely Landau and Richard Kaplan. Filmed in 1970 (black and white), 185 min. This film is not rated.

Tickets are available at the AFI Silver box office on the day of the show only, limit 4 tickets per person.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Slavery in Canada: A Past Denied

Independent filmmaker, Mike Barber, is currently producing/directing a film about the history of slavery in Canada that examines how 200 years of institutional slavery during Canada’s formation has been kept out of Canadian classrooms, textbooks and social consciousness.

The feature-length film, A Past, Denied: The Invisible History of Slavery in Canada will “show the connections between the practice of slavery in the past with racial disparity, tensions, and racism in the present,” according the film’s Web site. A Past Denied will discuss the early days of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, which started in 1444 when Portuguese pirates kidnapped 235 Africans from a village near the Senegal River and brought them back to Portugal where they were sold as slaves.

Visit the Website for the film to read more about the project and view clips from the film. Berber is currently looking for two Producers and a Research Assistant to work on the film.

Also visit Berber’s blog, which includes a post about Halifax Mayor Peter Kelly’s apology for the evictions and razing of the African-Canadian community of Africville in Nova Scotia during the 1960s. This apology “marks a small but significant moment in the history of slavery and racism in Canada,” Barber wrote.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Floetry: Subtractin' Abstract Messages from Within

Mi primo Demetrus hooked me up with this Floetry CD that I must admit I didn’t pay much attention to, other than their song “Say Yes,” which is so pretty and sensual that it’s hard not to get into it. I knew that the two, Marsha Ambrosius and Natalie Stewart, had spent time in Philadelphia, and I suspected that either they had influenced Philly’s own Jill Scott or vice versa because of some similarities in their music. So I wan’t surprised to learn that Floetry had written some songs for Scott.

By now everyone knows that Michael Jackson heard and fell in love with the song, “Butterflies,” Ambrosius elegant love song which he included on his Invincible CD (what an ironic name.) Well, I had no idea that the song is also on Floetic, Floetry’s debut album. Ambrosius sings it with authority and passion. A live performance of her perfoming “Butterflies” is breathtaking and is featured on Youtube.

“Floetic” starts out with a number called “Big Ben,” which must have been Floetry’s signature sound (the group has since unfortunately broken up). It’s contagious, quick, clever, funky and smooth. I’m glad cousin D introduced me to this recording that’s so obviously along my taste lines. Thanks cuz.

Big Ben Lyrics

[Big Ben Chimes (x4)]

I'm gonna take you on a ride to a lyrical expedition
Invision, imagine this, I be wishin that everybody would listen
Kissin’ a-- until I was able to step into the arena
Make an impression and lesson and discovering
I out-smarted mathmaticans, blazed through expeditions
Through conditions not envisioned by those who pass predictions
In addition got a mission, a vision, if you would listen
Produce collaboration increasing complications

You understand how my Floetry got you bubblin'
I see you wonderin why you hear my name again
Never the same again, yes we came to win again
And if we fail again then love will conquer pain again
Just take a breath and continue the explanation
Turn off the playstation, still in my attention
Did I mention poetic extention - my redemption
Soul is in suspension at the realization
With poor libation for ethnic formation
Empower this position... more come to listen
Floetry is like a master of chemistry turn your negativity into kinetic energy

You can't test we
No no you can't test we...see?
Subtracting abstract messages from within, that's what i'm givin’ That's what i'm givin’
That's what i'm givin’(x2)

SE 5 (x5)
Check out Floetry's Mr. Messedup (Video), a good one to dance to.