“After a conversation about some of the images she invited me to interpret them with sound.
In 2017, one year later i made contact and accepted the challenge; the result was a experimental film short; “Spirit Desire”. Spirit desire is based on a soundtrack/soundscape called the “Mass”. It is inspired by the Catholic Christian ritual the Eucharist or Holy Communion, one of the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church. The soundtrack positions Catholic Christianity alongside Haitian Vodoun to show their powerful similarity and to question what we know about Haiti and Vodoun.
The “Spirit Desire film project ” has helped me to remember the importance of self knowledge especially as a person of African Descent .
The Emancipation Day proclamation of 1834 ended the use of African slave labour in the colonies while the Jamaica Independence act made the colony of Jamaica a self-governing territory.
Independence and Emancipation are important celebrations in the life of the Jamaican nation. It seems like an important time to remember the journey to being Jamaican, however Independence and Emancipation are not the only important times in the life of a nation. Jamaican citizens have to live with many painful memories and a lingering trauma of many unexplained events.
On May 26, 1980, the Prime Minister of Jamaica Micheal Manley, declared a day of national mourning at the mass burial for 153 elderly women who were burnt to death in a fire at the Eventide Home on May 20, 1980. How many more days of national mourning should there be in Jamaica? and how many have we forgotten?
Listen to “A day of national mourning”, a selection of tracks featured in the Sound Gallery at djafifa.com. It is dedicated to the memory of the elderly women who lost their lives in the Eventide Home Fire and the other “days” of national mourning that we have forgotten.
I was invited by Dubophonic Records to write something about the selection of dub tracks used on the Excerpts of the Jamaican Parliament Audio Database which is currently being aired as a one hour radio programme on Zanj Radio in Jamaica and Decolonizing the Archive Radio in England.
You cannot tell a history of Jamaica without music. Following the music closely will help you to understand the soul of the island and how that conflicts with the identity of the nation. Dub music emerges in Jamaica as a genre and a practice in the late 1960s. It is the creative use of studio technology by Jamaican people with a strong memory of Africa. Dub music is African music. Dub music is Bass music. Africa gave birth to the Drums, the Drums gave birth to Bass and the Bass gave birth to Dub music in Jamaica. Dub is the reminder that the story of Jamaica is the story of Africa, the story of the violent collision between the old world and new world. Dub has given birth to many other genres of music and Dub music producers worldwide continue to draw inspiration from the music discovering and reinventing dub. This is how music becomes a conversation. The music starts in one place and extends itself, so there can be different versions and nterpretations. The JPAD soundtrack is a reminder that Jamaica is an important nation. It is an island nation with a history that we can learn many lessons from.
Decolonizing the Archive Radio(DTA.Live) will be featuring excerpts of the Jamaica Parliament Audio database every Wednesday at 3pm (UK time). Dubbed an “Archive of Jamaican Politics”, the series was launched on August 6 and will continue to air throughout the rest of the year. The series will feature Sittings of the House of Parliament in 2019. The sound track for the project features two albums from the dub music record label Dubophonic.
I was fortunate to be introduced to Decolonizing the Archive by a long time associate Nicolla Dillion. Give Thanks Nicolla.
8 years ago, on Tuesday July 31, I recorded Jean Binta Breeze at the Poetry Society of Jamaica fellowship at the Edna Manley College for the Visual and Performing Arts. Jean Binta Breeze is a Jamaican born British based dub poet who has made very important contributions to the development of poetry and dub poetry. Enjoy this release of the live performance by her.
The Jamaican Parliament Audio database (JPAD) is a part of the memory project by dj afifa. The memory project investigates how music and the sound environment can affect what we remember and what we forget. The memory project explores both individual memory and national memory.
JPAD is important to understanding and preserving national memory.
The database is a collection of audio from sittings of the house of parliament in Jamaica from 2017 to present. Audio from the database is taken from coverage by the Public broadcasting Corporation of Jamaica (PBCJ).
Excerpts from the database are broadcast on Zanj Radio during Crocus Bag a Tings 6-7pm-5utc.
Likkle Addi is going to be a father. His father Addijah Palmer popularly known as Vbyz Kartel made the announcement on Instagram a month ago. Mr. Palmer congratulated his son in an instagram post.
This is an interesting situation. Likkle Addi is 15 years old, the expectant mother is 18 years old. Two cases of teenage pregnancy. I had not given much thought to the “male teenage pregnancy” until i found out that Likkle Addi was 15 years old. It is so customary for “Teenage pregnancy” to be presented as a problem women and girls have to deal with. There is also the issue of the “age of consent” and “statutory rape”, laws we call on to protect girls. For some people it might not make sense to talk about protecting boys as well as girls from early sexual initiation, because for boys this is just a part of becoming a man. Despite the congratulations does Likkle Addi want to be a father? Why are children having children?
I was having a conversation with someone the other day about the COVID-19 spread in Jamaica. I shared with her my questions about how coincidental it was that the areas identified to be quarantined were the communities of 7 and 8 miles Bull Bay and Corn Piece in Clarendon. 7 and 8 miles Bull Bay is represented by the wife of Prime Minister of Jamaica and Corn Piece was in the news recently for a by-election won by the son of the speaker of the House of Representatives. Are you saying this is a “politically motivated thing”? She questioned back. She wasn’t convinced about the connections i had made and concluded that my argument was not “sound”. I was shocked by the suggestion but i started to think more about why this connection was so apparent to me.
Then I remembered learning about the SARS outbreak of 2003 while I was doing some research on Hong Kong/China Relations. The story goes the outbreak started in Hong Kong after a Professor from Southern China visited for a family wedding. While staying in a hotel the professor became ill and checked himself into a hospital. He died soon after but not before infecting, persons who were staying at the hotel and who would later travel to Singapore, Canada and other parts of the world and start the spread there. That information made me look for connections once I heard about the spread of the COVID-19 virus because I knew similar outbreaks had happened before. Later in 2012 we would experience MERS (Middle East Respitory Syndrome which was first reported in Saudi Arabia. SARS (SARS-COV), MERS(MERS-COV) and Corona virus (COVID-19) have a history we must revisit.
Will we remember this time?
Life and death in Jamaica also has a history. Just two years ago, in 2018, Jamaicans, especially children were dying from a “Dengue like” outbreak. The Ministry of Health and Wellness reluctantly declared the situation an “epidemic ” in 2019, one year after several reports of deaths with dengue claiming that the number of deaths did not reach “the epidemic threshold”. The situation became confused in terminology of suspected, presumed, or confirmed cases . What is the difference between Dengue and COVID-19? COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health organization on March 11 2020. A pandemic is declared when there is a virus infecting populations across several countries at the same time. The Dengue outbreak was specific to Jamaica and therefore considered an epidemic or a local outbreak. Now, the Ministry of Health and Wellness has regular press conferences to update the country on the COVID-19 situation and some of us are already confused by the report on the number of cases in Jamaica and the charts showing projected infection rates using modeling data. Many more people will die during this time. Jamaica doesn’t have a history of being adequately prepared through a health care system or otherwise to preserve lives.
Why don’t we remember the time before?
To manage the COVID-19 pandemic we are now required to stay home and away from people. This is a new rhythm that many will have to adjust to. Lock downs or restriction of movement must already be having a negative effect on some Jamaicans daily routine. As a measure to control the rising crime rates in Jamaica, a total of 8 states of emergencies across 7 parishes have been declared on the island between January 18, 2018 and January 20, 2020. Jamaicans have no idea when this will end . Added to this is COVID-19. This morning I went for a walk up the road. I was surprised to see the trees cut down. The place looked different from the last time I saw it and i have no idea when it changed. As I walked further I wondered how the lack of stimulation from staying home for extended periods will affect peoples memory or perception of time. We are creating future memory problems without thinking about it.
There used to be a Kenny Roger Roasters in Jamaica on Knutsford Boulevard in New Kingston. Kenny Rogers Roasters was a restaurant franchise co-founded in 1991 by country music singer Kenny Rogers. He is probably the only country music singer that i enjoyed. Songs like “Through the years”, “Lady”, “She believes in me”, “You decorated my life”; these songs told beautiful stories of love. Songs like the “Gambler” and “Lady” are anthems in Jamaica. They say he was a “global superstar” as a country music singer and he spread country music globally (just like Bob Marley did for Reggae).
Earlier this week i was making a playlist which featured songs which hold a lot meaning and memory for me, at the top of the list was Kenny Rogers alongside some other beautiful musicians. Kenny Rogers died on Friday March 21, 2020 in Sandy Springs, Georgia, United States. I am dedicating this playlist i started to him and the memory of beautiful music.
Here is the Playlist
Kenny Rogers – She Believes in me 1979.mp3
Kenny Rogers – Through the years.mp3
Kenny Rogers – You decorated my life.mp3
Lady – Kenny Rogers .mp3
Lionel Richie – Lady.mp3
Lionel Richie – Oh No.mp3
Lady Soul – The Temptations.mp3
Deep River Woman – Lionel Richie.mp3
Dennis Brown- For You.mp3
Aretha Franklin – Day Dreaming.mp3
Aretha Franklin – I say a little prayer.mp3
Bahia Girl – David Rudder.mp3
Wayne Smith – Life Is A Moment In Space.mp3
Do You Know Where You’re Going To by Diana Ross…with Lyrics.mp3
Whenever I use these roads I am constantly thinking about ways to improve the safety of the journey.
The new Mandela Highway for example “features construction of a 3.5-kilometre six-lane corridor with a two-lane overpass bridge, two new three-lane bridges, and a two-lane service road adjacent to the main roadway”.
The design of the new roads has negatively affected my driving experience. On the Mandela Highway for example, I notice how exhausted I feel from the intense concentration it takes to drive along this 6 lane highway. I usually use music to help me focus and enjoy driving. Once, I decided to listen to a talk programme instead of music and was surprised at how sleepy I began to feel. I immediately started to think about the importance of music for driving and wondered whether there was a “music for highways?”
I made a short video with Orandi Harris driving across a section of the Mandela Highway to find out about his driving experience and what he listens to while driving?
Here are some additional questions to think about
Do you listen to music while driving?
What music do you prefer to listen to while driving on Highways?
What songs would you recommend for driving on highways?
01. En mangas de camisa (04:07)
02. Puertas adentro (04:04)
03. Un paso al costado (04:37)
04. A la velocidad del amor (04:03)
05. Voluntad de oro (03:51)
06. Amarillo crepúsculo (04:48)
07. Acomódate en el suelo (04:03)
08. Cortina de humo (04:29)
09. En la medida de lo posible (04:15)
10. Sosiégate! (04:12)
Here is the latest episode of the Electromagnetic Radiation on Zanj Radio.
This episode features the premier of “Flies” a nu-music track by dj zanj rracc.
You can look forward to Electromagnetic Radiation live shows in 2020.
The Electromagnetic radiation is a stimulating sonic environment. The show is 2 hours and is broken down into 5 sets of 30 minutes each. Persons attending a live session can expect to hear selections from genres such as nu-music, experimental, abstract, roots, dancehall, dub, world, and folk music. What is most unique about the Electromagnetic radiation is the soundscape element, the combination of music, ambient sounds and vocal samples.
I am excited to hear what other experimental mixes will sound like. I am looking forward to creating something that sounds unique. I plan to create a soundscape infusing “indigenous folk drums with electronic music from South American and Mexican netlabels.
The project is an experiment in recording live events using easily accessible and affordable handheld devices.
Excerpts of the Dis Poem Wordz and Agro Festival2019 was recorded using a Panasonic RR-US511 digital voice recorder.
Here are some of my notes on the project
Typically audio recordings of live events are made by capturing a direct audio signal, this is how I got my recording of the event in 2017. I was connected to the mixing board and got a direct audio signal. The disadvantage of recording like this is that it misses ambiance. At the 2019 edition of Dis Poem I tried to collect some of the ambiance of the event by recording from the audience using a digital mp3 recorder (a Panasonic RR-US511 I used for recording interviews). The recording came out much different than I had expected. Previously I had recorded another poetry event using my Huawei NS L53 and the audio was much clearer.
The audience sat in pavilion style seating facing the stage that was on an open field with the sea behind it. There was a hugh tree hanging over the pavilion. I got to the event at about 2:30pm and started recording immediately. I recorded at least one performance for each poet. I changed location twice during my recording.
I attempted to edit the recordings in Audacityto improve the clarity of the audio, this was not successful.
Factors which affected the clarity of the recording. The first factor was the recording device (Panasonic RR-US511) which records in mono, performances that included music where more muffled than performances with no accompanying music. Recordings which were done earlier in the evening when there was a smaller audience were clearer. Recordings where I was sitting directly at the back of the pavilion as opposed to closer to the stage or to the far left were much clearer.
Because of the recording device used and the recording condition it is best to listen to the Excerpts using headphones; the audio will be clearer.
Over the last 4 weeks I have realised how I have returned to a dream of being a political analyst and an interest in research and public policy; an interest I thought I gave up.
The first time I decided I wanted to be a political analyst was one day in high school after West Indian History class with Miss Stone. I loved history and I enjoyed listening to current affairs discussion programmes.
Even though I loved political analysis, I chose to pursue a more traditional career as a lawyer at the University of the West Indies. I wasn’t accepted into the law programme but gained admission to the Department of Government and I got my Bachelors Degree in International Relations and Politics. I decided to continue my university education after a first degree and started a Masters Degree in Public Policy and Governance at the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus. By this time I was fully interested in Caribbean history and politics. I enjoyed public policy because it brought me back to my first love, “analysing politics”. Now I could add research. I enjoyed Public policy research and enjoyed the idea of finding out more about how governments made decisions. I started a PhD programme inSustainable Development, more research on public policy but this time I did research on Information and Communication Technology for Development. Essentially the idea that governments can use technology to attain development.
I spent 3 years working in the public sector in Jamaica what I experienced was a consistent gap between what we say, what we do and why we do it, when we talk about policy. I couldn’t see a future in this cycle and I couldn’t pretend it didn’t exist. I left policy and the public sector behind me and moved more fully into music and art, another interest I had from childhood. In my exploration of music and art I am amazed at how I have returned to politics and policy. I am only now seeing that both interest have merged. My favorite activity now is watching parliamentary broadcast on PBC Jamaica, reading newspapers and watching documentaries on Youtube. Each week I work on my sound database, collecting recordings from the parliamentary sittings, news stories of interest or any audio related to aspects of Jamaican history. These audio recordings always feature in electromagnetic radiation sets and are further explored on crocus bag a tings on Zanj Radio.
In 2012 I collaborated with Amina Doherty (SHeroxlox) on a project called SO((U))LHERVERSE, it was a series of compilations released to mark International Womens Day. SO((U))LHERVERSE is “a fused socio-political-sonic space where womyn’s voices are fierce and free”.The second compilation featured a resource guide to accompany the mixtape produced by Georgia Love. The 3rd compilation called voices “Conversations with women” was recorded at the SO((U))L HQ and featured selections by Ear Audigy.
Every Sunday from 6-7 pm -5utc on Zanj Radio I share my ideas on “Crocus Bag a tings”, a current affairs programme which started in May 2016. I focus on dissecting the web of complex issues shaping life in Jamaica- the “Crocus Bag a tings”.
Here are the last three episodes of Crocus Bag a Tings;
Last year i worked on two film projects; “the mass” a collaboration with photographer Sokarie Ekine and “if i had the wings of dove” a soundscape commissioned by Simone Harris for her “Tribe film Project”.
Here is a preview of “If i had the wings of a dove”. The project was shot and edited by Isabel Dennis. The concept for the video and the performance is by Simone Harris.
Recently I found 3 drops created for Sounds of life. When I started to Dj, Sounds of life was the name I would use to represent myself. I thought of it as my sound system name. DJ Afifa’s Sounds of life represented “urban global and original music.
In the latest episode of the electro magnetic radiation on Zanj radio, I added these.drops to my collection. Including these drops signaled the continuation of my Sounds of Life journey.
The Journey began with the sound system and dj afifa it evolved into So((u))l a global music and events company hosting music events in Kingston and then to establishing its first alternative music space in Stony Hill St.Andrew Jamaica the SO((U))L Hq; a space for exploring global music art and culture.
In 2018 Sounds of Life became a record label specializing in nu-music and the release of experimental mixes and sound art.
There has been 8 releases under the Sounds of life label
The I-I chant featuring Iyunda and Uyama Hiroto- dj afifa
Here is December 14 episode of the Electro magnetic radiation on Zanj Radio
This edition of the electro magnetic radiation featured some very soulful selections. Catch more selections like this over the next few weeks of the electro magnetic radiation Friday 10pm -12 midnight -5UTC on Zanj Radio.
In the November 30 episode i featured a pre recorded interview with 3 members of Kugumi music entertainment based in Johannesburg South Africa.
Both shows are a departure from the previous episodes where i experimented with creating live soundscapes. For the last 4 months i have been exploring sound art and soundscapes. The theme of the exploration is “building nations on small islands”; this is a poem i wrote about Jamaica which appears in the Nothing matters collection. i have been thinking about ways to expand on the ideas in the poem beyond a piece of writing. The last 4 months of the electro magnetic radiation has been focused on developing the idea of soundscapes and sound art using “building nations on small islands”.
Eventually the Umbalembe project that was released on Zanj Radio featured a soundscape track called “building nations on small islands”.
In the December episode of the show i returned to exploring musical selections for the entire duration of the show.
The session was divided into 30 minute segments with a radio sample marking the beginning of a new segment. Each segment was a different genres or a mix of.genres. It was kind of a tribute to radio format I grew up listening to.
One special highlight in this episode is the use of my.mother’s voice as a sample.
Listen to the electro magnetic radiation live on Zanj Radio Friday 10pm to 12 midnight -5utc.
With so much music, music mixes and djs everywhere, do you still listen to djs?
Last week someone asked me if the kind of music i played was something you could just “chill and hold a vibe to”?
The electromagnetic radiation sessions are definitely a kind of “lounge vibe” but it is different because the vibe is created by what’s on my mind. I don’t have an audience that i am thinking about. I use the session to reflect on my most important feelings or thoughts as i select songs and samples. Look at the playlist from my latest session
Inai Kamosa – General
Various Artists – Isikhalo – Ghettomuffin
Chiwoniso – Rebel Woman
Bob Marley the Wailers – So Much Things To Say
Babatunde Olatunji – Takuta
dj afifa – transport operators strike clip2
dj afifa – what is behind the protest of taxi operators
dj afifa – 17 mil montego bay sign
Ernest Ranglin – Minuit (Baaba Maal feat.)
Hugh Masekela – Inner Crisis
Clinton Fearon – Richman Poorman (1)
Introduction The Revolution Will Not Be Televised [Small Talk At 125th and Lenox] – Gil Scott-Heron
dj afifa – the body of a 9 yr old girl
dj afifa – 17 mil montego bay sign
Damian Marley (Feat. Stephen Marley) – It was written (Chasing Shadows Dubstep RMX)
dj afifa – transport operators strike clip2
dj afifa – what is behind the protest of taxi operators
Pablo Moses – Dub Future
dj afifa – transport operators strike clip 3
Internal and External Affairs Committee – November 21 2018
Kosmonaut – Youth273
Kosmonaut – Atmospheric Flower
Mahe’ra y DobleJota – Que esperar
Jackie Mittoo – Deeper & Deeper
The National Pledge
Beyonce National Anthem at Presidential Inauguration Ceremony 2013 ABC News
dj afifa – sons and daughters of Marcus Garvey compose an unfinished melody
Gil Scott – Heron The Prisoner
Vybz Kartel – Jamaica
dj afifa -maxitaxithoughts
dj afifa – Uyama Hiroto feat. Iyunda-I-I chant
dj afifa – sokari project body track
The songs i select are a reflection of my state of mind. In.the last session I start with Ini Kamozie and end.with a of an unreleased project called the Mass. In between that are samples from the local news of the week. In between that you will.find Vbyz Kartel mixed.with Hugh Masekela.And.Jackie Mitto.
The dj state of mind.
Are you listening to the dj and thinking about their state of mind? Do you.follow.the selections and thinking about how they connect or.don’t connect? How do you listen?
Here is the latest episode of the electromagnetic radiation on Zanj Radio. Lets continue to explore this idea.
Tune into the Electro Magnetic radiation on Zanj Radio 10pm to 12 midnight -5utc.
Last week i featured Umbalemebe on the electro magnetic radiation on Zanj Radio. Umbalembe is a documentary soundscape about Jamaica curated by Zanj Racc; it features the work of Zanj Racc and myself with the album cover designed by Isabel Dennis.
Umbalembe is the culmination of a process which started with a live performance at “Mazola Playground” in Gordon Town St.Andrew called Umbalembe.
Mazola is a Kenyan Born artist living and working in Jamaica. Mazola’s playground is a showroom for his art (installations, sculptors and paintings ) as well as his workshop.
The objective of the Umbalembe event was to introduce an audience to our concept of sound art. Zanj Racc and myself have been exploring and experimenting with sound art for about 10 years collectively.
Here are some highlights from Umbalembe on Crocus bag a tings (my other radio programme on Zan j Radio) where we did a live outside broadcast from Umbalemebe.
Umbalembe is an important project for me. First as a creative project i am rediscovering the world of sound outside of popular music. I am developing techniques to record Jamaican history (earth history) using sound (art) as the primary medium. I am moving away from ” verbalising” ideas or “saying things” to documenting and showing things or letting things speak for themselves.
Umbalembe has given me the courage to continue establishing the world of music and sound as a legitimate place for me to engage others in questions about the reality of our daily lives. It is an example of how i can bring together all my interest, experience and skills.
Listen to Umbalembe here in this episode of the electro magnetic radiation on Zanj Radio or by download the Zanj Radio app.
Here is the latest episode of the Electro magnetic radiation with dj afifa on Zanj Radio.
The session opens with Maroon drumming and singing and a classic by Jamaican poet Easy Skankin. I featured 10 tracks from netlabels focused around nu-jazz, hip hop, dub, and ambient/electronic music.
3 of my older projects were included in this session as well; Groove, Guest lectures and Are the elites in Kingston running the art scene. “Groove” is a mini mix i arranged and made a video for in 2010 or 2011 while studying in England. “Guest lectures” is based on audio i collected at the Jamaicans for a Cause March against the “homosexual agenda” in Half-way tree in 2014(Guest Lectures was featured on RadioPhrena earlier this year) and “Are the elites in Kingston running the art scene” is based on an episode of the Strand on BBC radio.
Tune in this Friday where i will start my feature of music from netlabels. I will focus firstly on netlabels in South America, Central America and Mexico. If you miss the live show on Friday night 10-12 midnight -5utc check out the podcast on Zanj Radio and Sounds of Life.
I was introduced to dub poetry through the work of Mutabaruka, Mickey Smith, Oko Onuro, Yassus Afari, Cherry Natural and Linton Kwesi Johnson. Three of my Dj Afifa drops are from dub poets; Cherry Natural “I am walking out of your jail tonight”, Mutabaruka “i don’t have a colour problem” and a special by Ras Takura.
The Poetry Society meetings at Edna Manley College for the Visual and Performing Arts and Seh Sup’m (at Weekends then the Village Blues Bar) were places you could go to see dub poets compete and perform. Dub poets such as Easy Skanking Sage, Lynch and X (LSX) Nabbi Natural, Ras Malekot, Charlie Bobobus, Iyunda, Ras Takura, Ganja, Adziko Simba and Abebe Payne were some of the names i came to know as contemporary dub poets. I discovered D’bi Young sometime later and really took a second look at the power of the Jamaican art form and the work of dub poets in Canada and England.
The artwork for this mixtape are from pictures taken by Sokari Ekine at the Studio Be art gallery in New Orleans.Physical copies of the mixtape can be purchased at the Sounds of Life store at the So((u))l hq, or Di Institute for Social Leadership in Jamaica.
1. Many people find what you do interesting but weird and sometimes confusing. Do you do this deliberately and why do you think this might be the case?
*Laughs* I can imagine….I think I understand why it might appear that way. It gets confusing because I didn’t go to art school and I have a PhD but I don’t present papers or work in a university. I believe art is life and I bring my life, that consists of a range of different backgrounds and experiences, mix it up and present it as my art. I think maybe it would be easier to understand if it was okay to mix things up, but people tend to compartmentalize everything so it’s not really the case. I guess, then, you could say I am doing it deliberately but I don’t feel there is much of a choice for me to do it any other way. I just prefer to use what I really love to explore myself and the world, so I play around with ideas and concepts and try to create new things. Laughs. I take everything I learn personally so whatever I think about I try to practice. I don’t know if I’ve confused you even more, but that’s kinda how I think about it. I would like to find out more about how other people would explain my art because maybe it has nothing to do with what I think.
2. Where are you now in your art?
Hmmmm… I have been working through and thinking through a lot of things. It has been tough and fulfilling at the same time. At times I have had doubts and fears about how everything will all work out and had to dig deep to remind myself about how I got here and where I really see myself going. I use my show on Zanj Radio to practice and work through what it really means for me to be a dj and a sound artist. I use it to help me figure out who is dj Afifa essentially. This has been my main focus over the last 2 years, and today I have a much better idea about what I want to do as a dj and sound artist. I am working on a project that I feel confident in developing. I am excited about it actually. I am creating a distinctive area for my work where I bring together discussions, sound and space. I think I am at the stage where I can see how they can all fit other and I am recommitting to continue making it work.
3. So who is dj Afifa now?
Well she is a selecta who works on sound projects and she makes spaces inspired by music…. yea that’s where dj Afifa is.focused right now.
4. Tell us about something that you have been working on that you would like people to listen to?
Well…. The body of a nine year old girl is a sound art project that I would like people to listen to and talk about. It is a very basic track that I created recently. One day I was listening to the local news on Youtube. And I heard a story about a nine year old girl who was found dead in bushes. I heard the story first on TVJ news then again on CVM TV. Both stories started the same way and after looking it up in the newspaper and reading twice, the reality sank in. Why was something like this happening in Jamaica? What is going to happen to the children? I heard some parts of the story play back in my mind. The body… of a nine year old girl. I decided to put the two tracks together and recreate the feeling of being in a room listening to it. I want to know what people think about it. What Jamaican people think and what other people think.
I am really interested in what we listen to and how we are and perceive reality? Like when you hear the first sentence in the newscast does it make you listen more or walk away? I think it’s interesting because this is the news every day in Jamaica. Graphic descriptions of homicides are common place. You can hear it a lot and you can see it. If you want you can listen to the track ‘The body of a nine year old girl’ on my soundcloud. So yea…check it out.
5. Where do you see yourself in 2030?
Yea…2030. I see myself making more spaces inspired by music all over the place….building my catalogue of tracks, developing my soundscaping techniques, and just working on this dj Afifa thing.
Well, all the best and we look forward to talking to you some more in the future.
Every time I play a Gil Scot-Heron I remember the first time I heard about him. I was living on Irvine Hall, Block A , maybe second or final year at U.W.I. I met Tehuti and Abidan, it was Abidan who had met Ramonia and then he introduced his “cousin” Tehuti to me and Keisha and Sabriya . Tehuti and Abidan used to come visit Ramonia some evenings on Hall and we would all kinda hang out in Ramonia’s room. I became friends with Tehuti and we used to reason. In one our reasonings he asked me about Gil Scott Heron. I think he just asked me if i knew him or he said i should go and check out the artist. I can’t remember, but T was the reason i added Gil Scott-Heron to my music collection. I remember downloading “The Revolution will not be televised” and “Angel Dust”.
Every time I listen to Gil Scott-Heron I discover a little bit more about him and I remember T.
We didn’t really stay in touch when he migrated to the United States. I saw him once when he came back to visit.
On that visit he asked me if I had ever heard of “Midnite”. I had never heard of them but as soon as i got a chance I was looking for Midnite. I downloaded as much of their music as I could find.
In fact three “Midnite” albums kept my company during my first winter, while i was studying in England. I would pad up and head to the University of Surrey listening the Ainshant Maps, Seek Knowledge before Vengeance and Unpolished. I don’t think i would love them as much if it wasn’t for T.
T transitioned to “the other side” some years ago”. The music he left me keeps his memory alive everyday. Give Thanks Tehuti…..
Gilbert “Gil” Scott-Heron (April 1, 1949 – May 27, 2011) was an American soul and jazz poet musician, and author known primarily for his work as a spoken word performer in the 1970s and ’80s, and for his collaborative works with musician Brian Jackson. His collaborative efforts with Jackson featured a musical fusion of jazz, blues, and soul, as well as lyrical content concerning social and political issues of the time, delivered in both rapping and melismatic vocal styles by Scott-Heron. His own term for himself was “bluesologist”, which he defined as “a scientist who is concerned with the origin of the blues”. The music of his albums, most notably Pieces of a Man and Winter in America in the early 1970s, influenced and helped engender later African-American music genres such as hip hop and neo soul. ( source http://vintagefunkphotos.blogspot.com/)
This track was created on August 17, 2015 to celebrate the life of Marcus Garvey. I used it to think about the significance of the legacy of Marcus Garvey. The track can be used to think about might soon appear on a larger project looking at who owns National Heroes in Jamaica.
5 years ago I imagined and sounded out the OGUN GARVEY series. I can only remember wanting to represent a figure that was a combination of Marcus Garvey and Ogun the Yoruba Orisha . OGUN GARVEY would be an African experiencing life with a deep awareness of memory and responsibility to Africa.
I made 7 recordings and chose 2 to share. The birth of Ogun Garvey and Ogun Garvey speaks. When i listened back these 2 are closer to the initial concept of OGUN GARVEY that I was exploring.
The recordings are a composition of samples loops and parts of songs. I don’t have a list of the songs I used. So I am crediting those musicians who did original work. I hope you find the concept something you can experience and understand or even further develop. bless and love.
In the August 12 episode of the electromagnetic radiation on Zanj Radio i feature for the first time the sound of my mother’s voice as a sound byte in my performance.
I only discovered two years ago that my relationship to music was influenced by the sound of my mother’s voice. She used to sing to me when i was in her womb. She continued singing when i was born but while she was cooking or in the shower. Even though she sang less as i grew up i remembered the melody of her voice. The songs i enjoy listening to have the same melody and harmony as her voice.
The sound of her voice helps me to think about memory, we can know through sound. Sound is a vibration which translates feeling and meaning. In my mother’s womb i knew her through the sound of her voice.