Cappuccino Soul

Cappuccino Soul

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The name: Maya Angelou

Listen to her beautiful explanation of how she got the name: Maya Angelou

As well as being a writer, dancer, and singer, this PHENOMENAL LADY was also a director ("Down in the Delta")

R.I.P. Queen Mother Maya Angelou

My heart is sad today after hearing the news that Queen Maya Angelou has passed away. Rest in Peace dear Queen. You helped me grow up as a woman, writer, and mother. I'll never forget you and the gift you gave to me and so many other little girls and women around the world.

Rest in Peace dear Lady
suu re (Yoruba)

Still I Rise
by Maya Angelou

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may tread me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin' in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history's shame
I rise
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I rise
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise

I rise. 

Monday, May 26, 2014

Pickin' Strawberries

Gigi picked some scrumptious looking juicy strawberries with her friend Michelle Saturday morning at the Hall Family Farm in Charlotte. They are every bit as delicious as they look. We're freezing most of them for our future smoothies.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Playing the Flute: 6th Grade Concert

Comrades in arms
After the concert (Ceilie in the background: "I won't be faded.")
Essential Elements

Sunday, May 18, 2014

J Dilla's Fantastic and Translation

If these two versions of this song don't make you feel something, I don't know what will.

Untitled/Fantastic (Slum Village)

Untitled/Fantastic (Miguel Atwood-Ferguson)

Music to Grow Up To

Who are some of the special musicians your parents introduced you to? Here are artists that my parents listened to when I was growing up:

Nina Simone
Billy Eckstine
Billy Holiday
Sarah Vaughn
Dionne Warwick
Five Blind Boys of Alabama
Five Blind Boys of Mississippi
B.B. King
Muddy Waters
C.L. Franklin
Dinah Washington
Marvin Gaye

What about you? Which artists did your parents play in your house incessantly?

Friday, May 16, 2014


"The only reason you are here on earth is to work on your character." -- Yoruba

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Suite for Ma Dukes: J Dilla Interpreted

My very first impression of “Timeless: Suite for Ma Dukes” was, “I can’t believe what I’m hearing. Someone has taken these already original, authentic, and memorable hip hop songs and elevated them to an even higher place.”

Composer Miguel Atwood-Ferguson has transformed these tunes by legendary hip hop producer J Dilla and turned them into something eloquent, grand, and moving – at times, overwhelmingly so. Anytime I get goose pimples and I can feel my blood rushing under my skin – I know the creative piece, whether it’s theater, film, dance, writing, or music is doing its job. It’s making me feel something. In the case of “Suite for Ma Dukes,” it’s making me happy, elated, joyous and inspired.

And who is Ma Dukes? She’s the mother of James Dewitt Yancey, aka, J Dilla, one of the most respected and prolific hip hop producers who has lived. Born in Detroit in 1973, Dilla played the cello and brought his musically trained sensibilities and broad knowledge of many musical genres to his work as a hip hop producer.

In February 2009, Atwood-Ferguson and his orchestra paid tribute to Dilla’s music-making genius by playing adaptations of some of his compositions, in addition to a couple of classical numbers that have inspired Dilla.

Atwood-Ferguson’s interpretations of Dilla’s music in “Suite for Ma Dukes” takes the producerss music and the potential that hip hop has had for decades, and shows us where this thing could go, if the right people get a hold of it.

With his longstanding romance with the violin (he started playing the instrument at age 4), and his degree in Viola Performance from USC, Atwood-Ferguson brings a love of classical styles and hip hop to this recording. Watch his broad sweeps and passionate gestures in the video of his orchestra’s performance of the Slum Village's song “Hoc N Pucky” below.

Atwood-Ferguson’s version of “Hoc N Pucky” goes from playful to elegant, grand, and then the orchestra just turns it into a tremendous blend of competing rhythms that break down into something that’s funky and classy at the same time. This happens with all the Dilla numbers at this concert, with Dilla’s mother, Maureen “Ma Dukes” Yancey, present, in addition to many renowned musicians including Bilal, Talib Kweli, Dwele, and others who also performed. Many in the audience were reported to be in tears throughout the show.

"It was a magical night," Atwood-Ferguson was quoted as saying in London’s The Guardian. "In an age when hip-hop music is so frowned upon, an event like this one was just a little indicator that, in fact, it deserves profound respect and is just as valid as any other art form.”

February 7, 1974 – February 10, 2006 James Dewitt Yancey (J Dilla)

Compare Atwood-Ferguson's version of "Hoc N Pucky" to Dilla's group Slum Village's version:

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Making Mistakes

Making mistakes is something everyone does. Learning from them is not.