Tru Ruts presents ‘Theology: Love & Revolution’


Tru Ruts/Speakeasy Records presents
J. OTIS POWELL’S ‘Theology: Love & Revolution’  REMASTERED & REISSUED!
Jazz-Inspired Spoken Word Artist’s First CD breathes new breath

“J. Otis Powell! spells his name with an exclamation point and demands truth, sincerity and accountability.” –Pulse of the Twin Cities

“Powell’s delivery is deeper, more measured, adding a gravity and weight to the words simply through his bass intonation alone.” –Justin Schell

“I live and work in an aesthetic informed by jazz principles and I practice true democracy as art and religion in a world resistant to all three.” –J. Otis Powell!

Noted Twin Cities writer and performance artist, J. Otis Powell’s first full album THEOLOGY: LOVE & REVOLUTION was a ground breaking work bringing together three of the Twin Cities finest musicians and five word performers in a cataclysmic word-funk-jazz-playground! The album, which was originally released in 1998, is reissued and re-mastered by Tru Ruts/Speakeasy Records and available for download online beginning April 6, 2010. The re-mastered version breathes new life into the album illuminating the already rhythmic possibilities. The reissue attempts to expand this innovative work to a broader audience regionally and nationally.

The form of THEOLOGY defies convention.  The music palette of the album almost evokes an outer-worldly audio response. Appearing like prose, its very genesis and thrust is poetry, and it must be read as such, the rhythms of the words contributing as much to the meaning of the piece as their literal definitions.  Further, the plurality of voices heard in this recording is an integral part of the piece.  While THEOLOGY purports to examine the different dimensions of self, in its larger context it is about community, and how the community of voices around us can inhabit beings, and help us to become ourselves. There is also a deliberate fluidity in its time frame, expressed through an ever-changing verb tense, that imitates the fluidity of the spirit in conversation with itself and the rest of the world: “I am ever-changing, liquid like time.  I am not a destination but a journey.  I am changing seasons, I am the reason I traveled such distance to love.  I am at once my lover/myself, we are one with the theology of time, space, and an ancient dream coming true.” Be advised that this is not your typical spoken word. To be transported simultaneously through the musical and theatrically delicious way that Powell does is a delight!

His interdisciplinary background informed the selection of star talent. Word performers Lynette Rieni-Grandell, Venus De Mars of All The Pretty Horses, Dee Henry Williams, and Earcie Allen provide vocal layering that at times is threaded into a one voice harmony such as the opening track titled “So There I Was, Right?”  Music is provided by musicians including Impulse label artist José James (UK), Rene Ford (TX) and Malina D. Rauschenfels (MN), who do a brilliant job constructing a landscape that is highly adaptable while never losing shape. Visual artist Jennifer Davis’ cover painting accompanied by Del Bey’s design accented the album with minimalist yet sensual imagery.

“…we jumped inside a freedom train to ride its rhythmic sound, we got aboard a love supreme to lay our burdens down.” (Powell!)

The album is a combination of stories, thoughts, dreams, and visceral–sometimes–spiritual statements centered around love. The titles of each of the 7 tracks are perhaps as provocative as the pieces themselves: Cliché, Disbelieving Hearts, Dancing Dead, Consequences, The Woman At The Well, Flow Ago and Tell. When the album was first released over 10 years ago, Powell! moved it into the realm of performance art, producing staged performances of “THEOLOGY: Love & Revolution” at Studio 6A in Hennepin Center for the Arts and at the Knitting Factory in New York.

“In linking the exploration of divine spirituality to the dialogues of love, J. Otis Powell! is furthering a longstanding tradition, heretofore more visible in music than in poetry, which now finds its expression in the music of this poetry. Listen, the voices of everylove can be heard in the study of THEOLOGY.” – Lynette Rieni-Grandell

In addition to the prose poem Theology this recording includes two bonus tracts recorded in Tucson AZ with tHE eDGE eNSEMBLE featuring Steve Roach, Linda Kohanov and J. Otis Powell!

You can listen to the album here.

E.G. Bailey featured on TC Metromix

‘American Afrikan’ E.G. Bailey CD Release

‘American Afrikan’ is not just a CD release party, but also a musical celebration of Black History that brings together some of the leading African and African American performers in the Twin Cities. Spoken Word innovator E.G. Bailey’s CD is a musical exploration of language and blows out of the water traditional concepts of old school ‘spoken word’ featuring M.anifest, Truthmaze, Members of Junkyard Empire, Sha Cage, Guante, Mankwe Ndosi, J. Otis Powell!, Chantz, See More Perspective, Dameun Strange, Andy Shafer, and more.

When: February 20 : 10 p.m.
Price: $5
Event Phone Number: 612-341-1038
www.bedlamtheatre.org

e.g. bailey curates + hosts Late Nite Series on November 14th

LateNitePromoFlyer_Nov_FNL

Pillsbury House Theatre proudly presents Non English Speaking Spoken Here: The Late Nite Series, curated by Laurie Carlos and co-curated by e.g. bailey. Late Nite is a transformation of culture where text, music, spoken word, sounds and images weave together in a fearless celebration of new voices and new art. Witness the beginnings of brand new performances as artists from an array of disciplines come together to explore the cross currents of social change, community and identity. Each performance brings new and original acts to the Pillsbury House Theatre stage.

When you attend a Late Nite performance, you’re part of a family and every good family gathering is incomplete without a good meal.  That’s why we always serve up some great food before you digest some amazing art.  Be sure to bring your appetite when you join us for Late Nite.  (There is no extra cost for food.)

Featured artists for Late Nite November 2009 include:

November 14 (8pm – Food, 9pm – Performance)
• Pramila Vasudevan featuring Sarah Beck-Esmay, Romina Takimoto, Chitra Vairavan, and Matt Wells
• Joette Poehler + Love
• Bill Cottman featuring J. Otis Powell and directed by Dipankar Mukherjee

Ticket Prices:
$10 Adults, $5 for students/seniors. Ticket packages are available now (Save $6! Attend all three Late Nite performances for only $24; Save $10! Attend all three Late Nites plus get a ticket to the October 10th performance of King of Shadows for only $40). Single tickets go on sale Aug 24 at 10am. http://www.pillsburyhousetheatre.org/

E.G. Bailey’s 9/11 Memorial ‘Twin Towers’

Twin Towers Single Cover Front (600pxl)

E.G. BAILEY’s  9/11 MEMORIAL ‘TWIN TOWERS’
A Poignant  and Impressive Marriage of Poetry + Music
featuring Chasity Brown + J. Otis Powell!

Noted Twin Cities poet and producer, e. g. bailey, started writing “Twin Towers” the morning of the 9/11 attacks.  Eight years later, his evocative words seem even more resonant.

Recording two versions of the track, one with bailey himself and one with renowned spoken-word artist, J. Otis Powell! (both featuring singer songwriter Chastity Brown), bailey is releasing the track on September 11, 2009 in memory of those lost and for those who continue to feel the aftereffects of the attacks every day.

Bailey’s ‘Twin Towers’ is a moving memorial encompassing the gravity of 9/11 from a 3rd person perspective while reverberating with a visceral sense of poignancy. It is an impressive yet poetic lament on this historic tragedy.

Indeed, when Brown sings, “I watched the buildings crumble,” it’s not just the physical structures she’s describing. Likewise, “what monument will be erected to honor those we mourn?” refers to something deeper than steel and concrete.  She is able to effortlessly bring e.g.’s melodies to life.

The track also features an interpolation of Langston Hughes’ words describing the aftermath of the Battle of Stalingrad in his poem ‘Stalingrad: 1942′: “Out of the rubble from a dead hand lifted––/Out of the rubble from a lost voice calling––/I gather instead another world is falling”.

“Twin Towers” honors those lost while asking the all-important question: how do our spirits respond to tragedy and injustice? A testament to remembrance, peace and the power of the human spirit, the tracks are available online as free downloads at www.truruts.com.

FREE DOWNLOAD LINK:

• Free high quality audio download at Bandcamp.com: http://egbailey.bandcamp.com/

• Free Download at Zshare.com:
- Twin Towers (featuring J. Otis Powell! + Chastity Brown): http://bit.ly/ETP2q
- Twin Towers (featuring e.g. bailey + Chastity Brown): http://bit.ly/XV5Gn

• Free Download at Myspace:
http://myspace.com/trurutshttp://myspace.com/egbailey

• Direct Download to your computer: http://bit.ly/twintowers

CREDITS:

1. Twin Towers (featuring J. Otis Powell! + Chastity Brown)
written by e.g. bailey; music by Chastity Brown
produced by e.g. bailey + Ben Durrant

2. Twin Towers (featuring e.g. bailey + Chastity Brown)
written by e.g. bailey; music by Chastity Brown
produced by e.g. bailey + Ben Durrant

Executive Produced by e.g. bailey + Sha Cage • Produced by e.g. bailey + Ben Durrant • Mastering: Hipgnosis
Design: Matt Wood • Art Direction: e.g. bailey

Brought to you by Trú Rúts Endeavors: Harvesting the Tree of Life.
© 2009 Tru Ruts/Speakeasy Records.

E.G. BAILEY

There is very little in the realm of Spoken Word that E.G. BAILEY has not done. One of the most prolific and innovative spoken word artists of his generation, he has been called a spoken word extraordinaire. Amiri Baraka states, ‘He makes language live.’ A multi-disciplinary Liberian American artist, who works in theatre, film, radio and spoken word, often mixing the different disciplines in his work, he has been creating work in these mediums for the last 15 years. As a performer he has worked solo, or with a band, dancers and vocalists. He is influenced by the jazz aesthetic and often works with jazz musicians, but has also worked with singer songwriters, and hip hop artists. He has been known arrived in a new city, gather an ensemble of musicians and improvise with them. He is both adaptive and versatile.

He has not only created innovative works, but founded a number of endeavors and organizations that have provided opportunities for other artists. The core of his work, whether in theatre, music, film or radio, has been grounded in the art form of spoken word. He not only practices the art form but teaches, promotes, writes about and works to advance the art form. In his work, he specializes in studying and teaching the history of spoken word, and how it has developed from the griot tradition in Afrika, and influenced literary movements throughout time, including the Harlem Renaissance, the Beat Generation, the Black Arts Movement, the Slam Movement and others. He also teaches how it helped to create the Hip Hop Movement, and how it continues to influence artists–poets, musicians and filmmakers alike. He has produced over 15 albums and singles for a number of artists in spoken word and hip hop, and produced a noted and innovative National Poetry Month radio series for 9 years. He has developed radio formats and radio shows that promote poetry, spoken word and hip  hop. In the same program, you may hear Claude McKay, Daara J, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Zap Mama, Fela, Common, Langston Hughes and the Last Poets.

He is currently working on his album, ‘American Afrikan’, traversing experiences as a child born in Afrika and raised in America. It brings together Afrobeat musical stylings and spoken word, along with hip hop and other genres. It also has songs in Igbo (Nigeria), Mano (Liberia), and includes artists roots in Ghana, Guinea, Senegal, Tanzania and Germany. Part of the goal of the album is to highlight the talents of Afrikans living in the U.S., and also to show how Afrikans are influencing and changing America in the areas of music, politics and the literary arts. The first single from the album, called ‘America’, has already been well received.

e.g.bailey has won awards in poetry, filmmaking, and radio, and has traveled to South Africa, England, Bosnia, West Africa, the United Arab Emirates and more for his work. He is a winner of the Hughes Knight Diop Poetry Award and several of his poems have been published in Solid Ground, the millennial issue of Drumvoices Revue, and Warpland, a publication by the Gwendolyn Brooks Center for creative writing. He is also the co-founder of the MN Spoken Word Association, Tru Ruts/Speakeasy Records, and Arkology spoken word and music collective. Most recently he was honored at the 2009 Urban Griots Awards for “Outstanding Contributions” to the spoken word art form.  To learn more about e.g. bailey, go to www.truruts.com, www.egbailey.com, or www.myspace.com/egbailey.

CHASTITY BROWN

Chastity Brown is “…a roots soul singer of the first order,” as noted by music critic, Jim Walsh. With her folk-jazz style, this Minneapolis-based singer-songwriter has been steadily winning over her audiences since the release of her debut album, “Do the Best You Can.” Playing more than 150 dates in the past year, Chastity Brown has become known as a gospel-raised, activist poet who sings about race, love, and politics with an edgy tenderness. Her lyrics are both personal, infused with a deeply rooted spirituality, and politically, ethically hard hitting. She wrote her first song at age 15 in her home state of Tennessee and began her growing repertoire in public playing saxophone, piano, drums, and guitar.

Chastity Brown is drawn to the power of music. Her fans are continually amazed at how passionately she can bring them into real life situations of overcoming struggle and then walk them out with a blues, stomp-enticing groove. In 2007, she began gigging full-time in jazz clubs, festivals, folk houses, and college campuses. She is often accompanied by Micheal X. on drums and Adam Wozniak on upright bass. www.myspace.com/chastitybrown

J. OTIS POWELL!

J. Otis Powell! is a writer, performer, educator, curator, producer, consultant and arts administrator. He is also a practitioner of Open Space Technology and has used OST for more than fifteen years with notable success in various productions, in educational scenarios, in administrative consultations and as a means to resolve conflicts. J. Otis lives and works in a jazz aesthetic while calling attention to the improviser in us all; the Open Space everywhere and artificial constructs that keep us from freedom. He is no longer preoccupied with what he has done and focused on who he is because of his experience.

Current projects include but are not limited to: writing a novel titled Bottomless Sky, a new collection of poems titled Chocolate Blue and collaborating with several individual artists on long term endeavors. He’s also working as a radio producer at KFAI Community Radio, a curator with Pangea World Theater on Bridges, as a mentor, editor and roster artist for The Givens Foundation for African American Literature, collaborating with The April Sellers Dance Collective and occasionally performing solo and with various ensembles through out the state of Minnesota and the USA. www.myspace.com/jotispowell

Twin Towers Single Cover Back (600pxl)

E.G. Bailey co-curates + hosts Late Nite Series

Late Nite Series Sept 12th Poster

Pillsbury House Theatre proudly presents Non English Speaking Spoken Here: The Late Nite Series, curated by Laurie Carlos and co-curated by e.g. bailey. Late Nite is a transformation of culture where text, music, spoken word, sounds and images weave together in a fearless celebration of new voices and new art. Witness the beginnings of brand new performances as artists from an array of disciplines come together to explore the cross currents of social change, community and identity. Each performance brings new and original acts to the Pillsbury House Theatre stage.

When you attend a Late Nite performance, you’re part of a family and every good family gathering is incomplete without a good meal.  That’s why we always serve up some great food before you digest some amazing art.  Be sure to bring your appetite when you join us for Late Nite.  (There is no extra cost for food.)

Featured artists for Late Nite 2009 include:

September 12 (8pm – Food, 9pm – Performance)
• José James featuring Chris Smith, Gideon van Gelder and Brandon Commodore
• St. Paul Soapboxing Slam Team (with Khary Jackson, Guante + Sierra DeMulder)
• Kenna Sarge
• D’Lo
• DJO (of the Bottom Feeders + Death Ray Scientific)

October 10 (Food and performance to immediately follow King of Shadows; approximately 9:15pm)
• Zell Miller III
• Katie Ka Vang
• Kim Thompson

November 14 (8pm – Food, 9pm – Performance)
• Pramila Vasudevan featuring Sarah Beck-Esmay, Romina Takimoto, Chitra Vairavan, and Matt Wells
• Joette Poehler + Love
• Bill Cottman featuring J. Otis Powell and directed by Dipankar Mukherjee

Ticket Prices:
$10 Adults, $5 for students/seniors. Ticket packages are available now (Save $6! Attend all three Late Nite performances for only $24; Save $10! Attend all three Late Nites plus get a ticket to the October 10th performance of King of Shadows for only $40). Single tickets go on sale Aug 24 at 10am. http://www.pillsburyhousetheatre.org/