Tru Ruts kicks off another music series, this time from hip hop and spoken word stalwart, Truthmaze. The new series, The Truthmaze Experience, will be a musical potluck of unreleased tracks, new mixes, collaborations and more. Though known primarily as a hip hop and spoken word artist, Truthmaze’s work as a whole defies categorization. He has worked with numerous musical projects, bands and ensembles, and has been a part of countless collaborations, nationally and internationally. A beatboxer, emcee, percussionist and poet, he often leaps across genres, and has the ingenuity to fuse these genres into something new, original and unexpected. This free-wheeling spirit and eclecticism will be highlighted on this new series. You can listen to the first track from ‘The Truthmaze Experience’ here.
Where can you see Twin Cities storyteller Amy Salloway share the stage with Julliard-trained powerhouse playwright/actress Stacey Karen Robinson from the Bronx? Or folksoul singer Gina Breedlove, who has worked with Ani DiFranco, Toshi Reagon, and on Broadway in The Lion King, in the same evening as local dancer/choreographer Julie Warder, authors from the Givens Black Writers Collaborative, and “sound composer” Mankwe Ndosi?
At the Non English Speaking Spoken Here: The Late Nite Series, curators e.g. bailey and Laurie Carlos enter their 13th year bringing some of America’s most dynamic interdisciplinary performers together to explore the cross-currents of contemporary culture through music and sound, text and images, and movement and dance.
Pillsbury House Theatre presents Non English Speaking Spoken Here: The Late Nite Series on Saturdays, October 23, October 30, and November 13.
When you attend a Late Nite performance, you’re part of a family and every good family has a good meal. That’s why we always serve up great food before you digest some amazing art. Be sure to bring your appetite when you join us for Late Nite. Food from local chefs served at no extra charge starting at 8 pm in the lobby where audiences can mingle with artists before the show. The show starts at 9 pm.
Pillsbury House Theatre
3501 Chicago Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55407
Free Food at 8:00pm.
Show at 9:00pm.
$5 for students/seniors
FREE for anyone under 16.
Tickets at show or online at
featuring GUANTE + BIG CATS!, SEE MORE PERSPECTIVE, SHA CAGE, TRUTHMAZE, E.G. BAILEY, CHANTZ EROLIN, QUILOMBOLAS + others
with special guests I SELF DEVINE (Rhymesayers), ANALYRICAL (Background Noise Crew), SKETCH TC, DJ STAGE ONE, 2013 (featuring members of Junkyard Empire) + others
The Tru Ruts crew has been putting in work, both on stage and behind the scenes, for a very long time. A record label, a theater production company, a film studio and a Twin Cities cultural institution, Tru Ruts is dedicated to supporting talented, forward-thinking artists, putting on events that go beyond the same ‘ol, same ‘ol, and nurturing the next generation of young writers and performers. Join us in celebrating some big steps made over this past year: national distribution, slam championships, high-profile performances, critically-acclaimed album releases, successful youth programs and much more. And THANKS for all the support!
May 1st • Fine Line Music Cafe
318 North 1st Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55401
8:00pm doors • $5 (21+) • $8 (18+)
E.G. Bailey “American Afrikan” CD Release
@ Bedlam Theatre
1501 6th St S.
10pm / 18+ / $5 advance
This weekend, E.G. Bailey is going to drop a bomb — a “proverbial bomb” that is! On Saturday, the Bedlam Theatre hosts the release show for Bailey’s debut album, titled AMERICAN AFRIKAN, showcasing his creative mix of powerful spoken word, performance art and hip-hop/funk/jazz/electronic music. Additionally, the night will feature the work of many more artists and musicians like Guante, Mankwe Ndosi, Truthmaze, Chantz Erolin, Aimee Bryant, Ibé Kaba, Sankaradjeki, Dameun Strange, Kahll Brewington, DJ Stage One and more.
Originally posted on l’étoile magazine on 18 February 2010.
‘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.
Event Phone Number: 612-341-1038
“He makes language live!” – Amiri Baraka
“There is so much history, culture, and experience packed into American Afrikan that to summarize would be to attempt to summarize all of African American experience.” – Jon Behm (Reviler)
“A powerful testament of bailey’s skill of mobilizing poetry for contemplation, remembrance, and a subtle, but no less insistent, call to action.” –Justin Schell
“No matter how long it takes for bailey to drop ‘da proverbial bomb’, it will have been well worth the wait.” – Dwight Hobbes
With co-signs from Umar Bin Hassan of the Last Poets and the legendary Amiri Baraka, Twin Cities spoken word artist, poet, musician, organizer and educator, e.g. bailey, presents his first full-length album, AMERICAN AFRIKAN, a spoken word concept album that begins in Africa, crosses the Middle Passage, explores America and ends up somewhere that defies easy definition.
Part musical theater piece, part audio chapbook and part performance art experiment, AMERICAN AFRIKAN mixes the beat-influenced poetry of bailey with music that blends hip hop, funk, jazz, electronica and more, creating a sound that is at once progressive and challenging yet smooth and listenable.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that an hour-long spoken word album wouldn’t be much fun to listen to; many aren’t. But as Umar Bin Hassan says in the album’s liner notes, “The sounds on this album are just as important as the words.” Through bailey’s voice, through the Igbo nuns on ‘Oracles of Equiano’, through Aimee Bryant’s rendition of ‘Motherless Child’ and through the album’s diverse sonic palette, AMERICAN AFRIKAN succeeds not just as a piece of literature or poetry, but as a cohesive musical journey.
Producer Katrah Quey, perhaps best known for his work with TC wordsmith M.anifest (who shows up to drop a verse on the ‘American Afrikan’ remix), handles a majority of that music, though Hipgnosis and DJ Limbs shine on a couple of early tracks. The beats compliment the words; sometimes fun and funky, sometimes dark and meditative––but always engaging. The album also features appearances by Twin Cities-based African poets, Ibé Kaba and Sankaradjeki; Mankwe Ndosi, singer for Atmosphere; Dubai jazz ensemble Abstrakt Collision; Midwest emcee Idris Goodwin and others.
Though the music might be what draws people into this album, it’s bailey himself that will keep them there. Crafting a masterful narrative from the first track to the last, he explores identity, history, culture and all the places they intertwine in a way that is always meaningful but never preachy; always heart-felt but never melodramatic. As he says himself: “The project attempts to explore what it means to be an Afrikan today, an Afrikan in America, an American Afrikan. What is this journey historically, metaphorically, poetically? However, you can’t answer that question unless you explore what it means to be American, in post-9/11 America. And because America affects and infects us all, it is also about all of us.”
Deemed a true innovator of the spoken word art form, his charismatic yet rhythmic style dances words with sound in and out of synch with verbal play. One of the most prolific voices and talents in the Twin Cities, Bailey’s work has taken him on travels through the U.S., England, South Africa, France, Serbia and more. He has created spoken word work in film, theater, music and radio. Born in Saclepea, Liberia, and now based in the U.S., he is a founder of several foundational entitles in the local and national community including: MN Spoken Word Association, Tru Ruts Endeavors, the Urban Griots Spoken Word Awards, The Spoken Word and Hip Hop Institute at the University of MN. He has appeared in spoken word commercials including ‘Art Connects’, which premiered during the 2008 B.E.T. Hip Hop Awards, and was featured on the MTV, VH1, MTV Europe, CBS, NBC and other networks, in addition to being inducted into the Television Hall of Fame archived at the Modern Museum of Arts in New York. As he moves effortless between radio, film, theater, and producing, his live performances are always a treat.
Tru Ruts/Speakeasy Records presents: AMERICAN AFRIKAN
The debut album from spoken word artist E.G. BAILEY
CD RELEASE PARTY: SAT FEB 20TH
@ THE BEDLAM THEATRE (1501 6th St S., Minneapolis, MN 55454)
Hosted by J. Otis Powell!. Featuring Guante, Mankwe Ndosi, Truthmaze, Sha Cage, See More Perspective, Chantz Erolin, Aimee Bryant, Ibé Kaba, Sankaradjeki, Dameun Strange, members of Junkyard Empire (Chris Cox + Bryan Berry), Kahlil Brewington, DJ Stage One + more.
10pm 18+ $5 advance
Tru Ruts/Speakeasy Records + Smokesignyl Productions join forces once again to release the LIGHTNING + THUNDER (VOLUME ONE) CONCERT DVD, documenting the historic concert at Varsity Theater. The concert showcases live performances from the first reggaeton compilation in Minnesota. The album features over 20 musical luminaries of the Twin Cities, including Maria Isa, Prince Jabba, The Kamillion, Truthmaze, St. Paul Slim, Don Xaba + Backup Plomo, Innocent, Pee Wee Dread (Dread I Dread), Unicus, members of Leroy Smokes and more.
The album and the concert received critical praise from press and fans alike. Noting the album as a ‘striking first for reggaeton’, Chris Riemenschneider, of the Star Tribune writes, “Just as lightning arrives before thunder, the reggaeton craze that flashed through Twin Cities nightclubs a couple years ago is now being rolled into something unique by local musicmakers.”
Don’t miss the film document of what City Pages calls ‘…the first TC musical renaissance of the 21st century.” The Lightning + Thunder Concert DVD will be released in the Spring of 2009. The release will also include a remix version of the original Lightning + Thunder (Volume One) album. The second volume of Lightning + Thunder, currently in production, will be released in the Fall of 2009.
From funk to hip hop to reggae and beyond, producer and trumpeter Kyle “HighStyleKyle” Borchert has left his mark on the Twin Cities’ musical landscape. Best known for his work in the award-winning hip hop band Leroy Smokes, Borchert has also worked with such Midwest luminaries as Atmosphere, I Self Divine, Black Blondie, Maria Isa, Kanser, Buss One and many others. Working with Leroy Smokes as both a producer and instrumentalist, Borchert has backed up Bobby Brown, Rhymefest, Golden, Truthmaze, Maria Isa, Omaur Bliss, Slug and many others, all while doing his part performing and helping compose the band’s eclectic, genre-defying original material.
Tru Ruts Endeavors is a multi-disciplinary artistic enterprise ranging from a record label, theatre productions, a radio series, visual art exhibits and film productions. It has been a major innovator + trailblazer in the Twin Cities often producing shows to sold out audiences and critical acclaim.
photo by B Fresh Photography
Liberian-American Spoken-Word Artist is Home at Last
Justin Schell , Contributing Writer
“This is a year of completion for me,” e.g. bailey says in the office of Trú Rúts Endeavors, the multidisciplinary arts organization that he runs with his wife, Shá Cage.
His struggle to fit in America is not unlike that of many African immigrants. He attributes his success as an award-winning multidisciplinary artist and producer to this struggle of finding a home away from home.
bailey, who was born in Saclepea, Liberia, is the son of a white Peace Corps volunteer and a Liberian mother. His father, bailey says, “threw a dart, hit Liberia, and that’s where he got stationed.” His mother gave birth to him near the end of his father’s second term; and his parents lost touch after his father’s return to America.
Even as a child he loved music and theater: two memories stand out in particular from his life in Liberia.
“There was a record store and a movie theater,” he says. “I would spend hours in the record store listening to whatever they were playing.”
The owner of the mud-constructed movie theater, however, wasn’t particularly keen on offering free entertainment to they young movie revelers. “We would either sneak into the movie theater or we would drill holes in the side to watch the movie.” After the owner realized this, he would take blindingly-hot Liberian red peppers, soak them in water, and put the mixture in a spray bottle, and spray into the holes to temporarily prevent onlookers from watching the film without paying. “It would be this constant game of trying to outwit [him], as soon as you saw a shadow coming.”
One day, another Peace Corps volunteer came to his village and, after getting to know him, expressed interest in adopting him. Instead it was his father who ended up adopting the 10-year-old Bailey after she sought out his father through the Peace Corps database.
After landing in Chicago, he was driven to his new home in Crystal Lake, an hour-and-a-half from Chicago. There was a parade the day he arrived, with money thrown from the floats.
“I thought it was a parade for me!” he says with a laugh. “The next day, I wake up, I’m like ‘Ok, when are we going to the parade and when can we get more money?’ That was the start of my life in the US.”
Reality soon set in for bailey as he learned that life in America was not rosy for a new immigrant, “It was a struggle of trying to adapt and trying to fit in. Trying to figure out who I am and not fitting into any place, I always felt like I was running, that I couldn’t stop moving.”
Until he moved to Minneapolis, when he felt,“Ok, I can stop running now.”
bailey’s first connection to Minneapolis came not through the city itself, but through one of its most famous musicians. “I discovered Prince in [Crystal Lake’s] record store. I think it was “Little Red Corvette.” My ears just perked up, trying to find out who this person was, and I proceeded to get everything that he put out.”
After moving to Minneapolis, he started performing solo and with a number of music groups, and worked in the retail division of Prince’s famed Paisley Park complex, gaining crucial experience to navigate the shady mazes of the music industry when he formed Trú Rúts and its record label, Speakeasy Records.
He had a life-changing experience on a trip to the country of his birth after being gone for nearly 20 years. He returned to Liberia in 1999 as part of a four-month trip to Africa, the Middle East and East Asia. The trip, while crucial to his development as an artist as well as a person, was not what he expected.
“I realized that I could go back, but I could never live back home. I’d been away too long to be able to go back home and do what I’m supposed to do.”
An overwhelming and inane sense of homelessness hit him, he says, “going home displaces you. You’re no longer at home in either place. Home is what I had to create.”
Thus homelessness and travel inform all of bailey’s work, which symbolically channels his own experience through the larger histories of the African Diaspora. His album American African, scheduled for release in April, will appropriately feature a host of both American Africans and African Americans, including M.anifest, DJ Stage One, Mankwe Ndosi, IBé, and other international artists, including Germany’s Starsky and Dubai’s Abstract Collision.
“It’s a testament to where African Americans and American Africans are,” he says, encompassing the multitude of African, African American, and American African perspectives. “I want to avoid the idea of a monolithic Africa as much as possible.”
The first single off of American African, “America,” is a wide-ranging vision of the post-9/11 America that many immigrants find themselves in.
“America, I miss you,” bailey intones at its opening. He delivers his words atop a bed of rolling drums and cymbals, electric bass, disorienting electronic sounds, and wailing saxophone. From Katrina to Guantanamo, Hollywood to Baghdad, the poem subtly welds together the long histories of racism and murder that stain America’s past, yet without completely destroying the hope of something better. In the end, the music dies away as bailey softly, powerfully, declares “We’re waiting for your resurrection.”
bailey has an ambitious plan to release three more albums in 2009 that have been at various stages of completion throughout his work with Trú Rúts. Yet completion always breeds the start of something new, whether it be the release of new albums from other artists in the Tfamily such as Quilombolas, TruthMaze, or El Guante. Or the birth of his first child with his wife Shá Cage.
Even though e.g. bailey has settled in one place after a long journey, his creative activity and poetic journeys show no signs of slowing down.
e.g bailey has produced “No Longer at Ease” (play), an adaption from the Chinua Achebe’s novel for the Pangea World Theatre in May 2001; “Village Blues” (film); and “Words Will Heal the Wound”, a spoken word radio series celebrating the diverse poetic traditions in Minnesota.
He received the Sarah Lawrence College International Film Festival (2001) Experimental Film award for Village Blues; the NFCB (National Federation of Community Broadcasters) award for Write On RaDio!; and the Worldstaff Houston International Festival (1999) Experimental Film award for Village Blues.