Gods of Jade and Shadow: #bookreview

Gods of Jade and Shadow

What would you do if you opened Pandora’s box and were faced with the God of Death? Would you help him or her or run away screaming?

Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia is about a young girl, Casiopea Tun, who lives in Mexico during the Jazz Age. Her family treats her more like Cinderella than an actual family member. One day she was mending some of her grandfather’s shirts when a mysterious box caught her attention. So of course Casiopea opens the box.

Before she knew what was happening, the Mayan God of Death, Hun-Kame’ was standing before her. He demanded that she help him reclaim his throne from his brother, Vucub-Kame’. She was not especially willing so he placed a shard of his bone in her hand. By placing the bone in her hand, they become linked. Eventually, she will be drained of life unless he removes it.

Casiopea decides that she will help Hun-Kame’. Her life at home is less than desirable. Her cousin, Martin, is jealous that the grandfather favors Casiopea in some way. Martin is a bully and makes her life miserable whenever he can. He even ends up working for Vucub-Kame to destroy Hun-Kame. The cousins, Casiopea and Martin, are pitted against each other in a race which determines the winner.

I chose this book based on the description given by NetGalley. The book is a surreal fairytale. Anyone who likes mythology will love this book. I don’t know very much about the Mayan Gods but after reading this book, I’m curious to learn more.

  • I was given this free ebook by NetGalley in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own. Obviously.

Sleep Deprived Music Review: Sinkane

Sinkane

Music is a beautiful thing. Even if the music is in a different language or about a different culture, it still makes sense to the audience.

“Sinkane is an American band comprised of people from all over the world,” says frontman Ahmed Gallab. “Our collective experience as children of the diaspora helped bring the music to life in the most honest way possible…The music is loud and raw, and it’s bursting with an energy unlike anything I’ve ever done before.”

The new album, Depayse, tells the story of an immigrant and their journey to start a new life in America. The definition of depayse is “removed from one’s habitual surroundings.” If you are interested in Sinkane’s thoughts on Sudan, follow them on Twitter.

The album is beautiful and energetic. After listening to Depayse, you will feel ready to take on the world. It’s a little bit like Parliament Funkadelic and Bob Marley but not completely. The band definitely has their own sound. I might listen to this album every day this summer. Someday I want to be like that lovely older lady in the “Everybody” video. Also, it’s a great video.

I cannot recommend listening to this album enough. This is the album that you are looking for this summer.

116 Days of Summer Guests: Strangely Attractive

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Strangely Attractive



Change. It’s inevitable. Times change. Styles change. Tastes change. You grow older. You grow wiser (sometimes).  I am the bass player and the founder of the LA rock band Strangely Attractive. We’ve been out and about playing our version of rock music for about 9 years. When I say we, I mean me and the seemingly, ever-changing line-up that the band has seen throughout the years. We’ve had four drummers, three guitar players, five singers, and a keyboardist thrown in there at some point as well. The current Strangely Attractive crew is Bella Luna on vocals, Carlos Felipe Flores on guitar, and David Rodgers on drums.

Why the band begun to what we are doing now is a pretty big change in my opinion. I guess a decade will do that. I originally started this group because I wanted to create a live dance rock band. Plus, I love playing with a band onstage. I wanted the guitar to do all of the keyboard and synthy parts of a dance song. I knew the guitar parts were gonna be difficult so I waited until I found a guitar player that had the skills to recreate those parts.

When I finally found the guy, I started to find other players that would round out the first incarnation of the band. We immediately recorded a 10-song album and started playing all over town. The sound that I originally had in my head changed and that was totally fine with me. We were able to do a few cool things and people that saw and heard us seemed to like us but keeping the band together was freaking hard.

Musicians would come and go. Personalities, time, different goals, outside forces, and many other complications got in the way. Three years ago, the current line-up emerged and just like before, we started to play around the city. After all these years of playing out and putting out work, I noticed that it was very difficult to get people out to shows. I was racking my brain, trying to figure out what we could do to stand out.

After our last show in 2016, I sent a thank you follow-up email to the club that booked us. I got an email back that was basically a scolding. The message was about how disappointed the club was at the number of people we brought. They were going to give us one last shot, because they liked us, to prove ourselves, and if we didn’t, we wouldn’t be invited back. That one email triggered the biggest change that the band has gone through thus far.

We decided we were gonna put on our own night where live music lovers and great local acts could come together to have a stress-free, creative, and just all around fun evening where awesome bands could get together, play, and hang out and hopefully make their way into new ears and make some new fans. We were lucky enough to find some truly amazing people at Mal’s Bar in LA who welcomed the evening with an open mind and open arms. We couldn’t do it without them. Our monthly residency (every third Thursday of the month) wasn’t the big change though.

We decided to make the band into more of a show. Actually more like a circus. A rock and roll circus. I come from the world of magic and Bella comes from the world of burlesque and variety. We decided to mesh all of our creative passions into one live experience.

Instead of just seeing a band play, you will see world-class entertainers coming in and out of our set, performing their routines to live music by Strangely Attractive. We’ve already had award-winning magicians, well-known artists, world-renown burlesque dancers, accomplished jugglers, and so many different variety acts joining our night. Every show is different and the responses we receive after every performance lets us know that sometimes change is a very good thing! ­

Interview with . . . Latasha

I know y’all need some positive summer vibes – especially those with kids home 24/7 for the next 3 months. Oh my goodness, please keep parents and caregivers in your prayers.

If you get a few minutes in the midst of all of the summertime chaos, check out this interview that I did with Latasha’. She has all sorts of positivity to share with you guys.

Once upon a time Latasha’ was a hip-hop artist-in-residence for National Sawdust in New York. She will be moving to Los Angeles this month. We’re sending her some good vibes for her upcoming journey. If you are in the New York area and want to attend Latasha’s going away party aka The Glo’in Away Party on June 8, 2019 at 10:00pm , you can find more information and tickets here: https://nationalsawdust.org/event/latasha/

Where was your first show as a performer? As a fan?

My first show as a performer was at Bowery Poetry Club. Terminal 5 was the first show I saw as a fan, I went to see MIA.

How does one become a hip- hop artist-in-residence?

1. You make hip hop music that I hope says something.

2. You begin to buzz in the area, for me it was Brooklyn. Taking as many gigs as one could, from $100 to $5000 a set.

3. You begin to brew a project in your mind and begin to imagine where it could be. I call this the manifestation period.

4. You create a written proposal for said project.

5. You begin to ask around and do research on residencies in the city and apply.

6. Then by law of attraction, your roommate tells you that she’s working at phenomenal new venue and they have a residency program, or you get a call to come in to an insane new arts venue in the city cause someone said they’ve seen the cool work you do. all in all, the becoming is 75% you, 25% God magic. like most of life.

Does the muse ever escape from your presence?

No, but it shape shifts and sometimes wears an invisible cloak, so I can lose my mind and think I lost it, but then it appears over and over again.

Who or what inspires you the most?

Inspiration also shape shifts, but the constant has been my momma, my lover, community and my future kids. I’m always inspired by different forms of music and artists, but my momma is my ultimate creator and so I gain and lost so much from her brilliance in being. My future kids is my driving force to create art that is timeless and will hold up for them to do whatever they wish in their future. My lover is my best friend and is constantly pushing me to be my greatest self. My community has held me accountable and given me the drive so many times to keep going, so much support. Couldn’t do anything without all of these.

Do you find one social injustice more difficult to discuss than others?

Depends on the day and what voice is talking in my head.

How do you deal with stress?

I write often. Sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I don’t deal. Other times I eat everything in front of me. Sometimes I breathe. Sometimes I don’t breathe. But I always pray. I’m in constant conversation with my higher self and source and I think thats the best way I deal with stress.

If you had a self that lived in an alternate universe, what would she be like?

I believe I do have another me in an alternate universe. In fact I think there are millions of alternate universes with millions of me(s). But in this one particular one, she would have a million arms and patience. I’m the one whose more fearless and fearful at the same damn time.

What do you want people to know about you?

I want people to know that I am a forever evolving creator. I hope to inspire others to break out of the box of themselves. I want people to know that I am grateful for their definitions of me and stories, however, I am excited that in the next few years, especially with this big leap of faith to the other side of the country, those definitions will be replaced with new ones. I want people to know they can do whatever they want, especially Black and Brown people. I want people to know that the narratives that we hold true create our dimensions, and that it will soon be time to break into our next. So break thru. Break out. Break in. Transcend. its ok. Also my name is LATASHÁ with the accent. Please remember it. its important.

116 Days of Summer Guests: Velvet & Stone

Velvet & Stone

Hey!

Lara here from indie folk band Velvet & Stone. I LOVE summer and can’t get enough of being outside on summer days, especially being in or near the sea or exploring on the moors. We’re lucky to live in Devon in the UK, and there’s never a bit of coastline too far away. The best summer memories are chilling on the beach, surfing, BBQs and sandy toes 😀  

A lot of our songs are written about or inspired by the sea and coastline. Our latest single, aptly named ‘By the Water’, is no exception. The song is a summer anthem. It’s about wanting to be with someone when you can’t, and only finding some peace and solitude by the water. We hope you enjoy it!

We just released a video that was filmed in Devon featuring some beautiful locations. You can check it out here – https://youtu.be/gJeGx2XuYmU   Our debut album is set to be released at the end of June 2019. We can’t wait for you to hear it and hope it soundtracks your summer!  

Lots of love and thanks for listening! 

Lara 



Velvet & Stone on Facebook

Velvet & Stone website

116 Days of Summer Guests: Lucy Booth

Lucy Booth

Hey! Great to meet you guys. I’m a singer-songwriter from Leeds, and I want to share with you my thoughts on the power of music.

I enjoy writing songs about stuff that I think really matters because I believe that music has a special ability to evoke powerful emotions within us. When I think back, I can remember particular tracks which really struck a chord with me, and have woken me up to the reality of the world we live in. ‘This is America’ by Childish Gambino opened my eyes to race and gun violence in the U.S., ‘Wasn’t expecting that’ by Jamie Lawson made me think about the fragility of a human life, and ‘The A Team’ by Ed Sheeran really brought home the tragedy of addiction. 

I think that some major artists, especially those in the charts, tend to underestimate the influence of their lyrics. When they include phrases which degrade women, glamorise drugs, or even incite violence, I wonder if they’ve really thought the implications through, especially when they often have such a huge fanbase of teenagers, who are still forming their views on the world. Surely these artists could be expressing important statements through their art form, such as their opinions on climate change and social inequality, rather than spreading toxic messages to vulnerable minds?

Of course, not all songs have to make a political statement in order to have a positive impact. Heartbreak songs can help people through hard times, happy and up-beat tunes can be incredibly uplifting when you need cheering up. I guess I just think it’s important that song-writers don’t underestimate the influence which their lyrics could have on their listeners, and that they use their gift for the greater good. Songs are an opportunity to share a significant message, or to help listeners to empathise with someone else’s experiences, and I don’t think that should be taken for granted.

Thanks for reading, and check out my debut single, Butterfly, if you get the chance. It was inspired by experiences of an incredibly brave and resilient single mother who I was lucky enough to meet a few years ago.

Love Lucy x