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'In the Presence of Ancestors: Black Coffee, Music, My Artwork'



The painting is hanging on a wall in my studio
In The Presence of the Ancestors (from the series Citizens of Nowhere) 44x70inches, mixed media painting, 01/2023

 I was thrilled to discover yesterday that the title of the new song by one of my favorite contemporary African artists Black Coffee is somewhat similar to that of my painting- In the Presence of Ancestors!

The title of the new song by the South African artist is Ode to Ancestors. You can listen to the song online by clicking this link- https://music.apple.com/us/album/ode-to-ancestors-feat-djimon-hounsou-single/1735603125. The actor Djimon Hounsou is featured in the song. I was dancing away at the concert of Black Coffee in Echo Stage, Washington DC. Before he came onstage Dj Sama played and then the deejays Sparrow and Barbossa played. The 2 sets were amazing! Black Coffee took the stage around 1 o’clock and played till 3 am! Watching his performance was like reminiscing on contemporary African swag- loud fashion statements in orange, black, and indigo blue blending into heavy pounding music. I felt nostalgia for what seemed a distant light- a memory of a life and space that blurs with time away. Last night lit a spark that brought again the heatwaves of Motherland. I felt such a strong kinship with Black Coffee years back when I was dancing at a club in Johannesburg close to the Mandela Bridge! (Another story) The thing is, the kind of House music that Black Coffee plays is representative of contemporary African chic, cosmopolitan, with feet planted on the Black continent. He brings in these beats, the rumbling war drums of Shaka Zulu cascading through rolling African landscapes, awakening warriors- the harsh howl of the ancestors in the heated sun chasing down aggressors and those who wish them erased from human memory. Nothing moves me as deeply as the drum beats. I enjoy playing the conga myself. So amapiano is one music genre that makes me leap through space in spasms of rapture. I felt like I had been called to the fireside, to be in the presence of the ancestors. The energy of the painting I finished in January 2023 all seemed commemorative in a bend of time, like looking at the future in the past. Of course, that last statement doesn’t make sense. I just had to say it. In The Presence of The Ancestors is for sale and hangs high on a wall of my studio at the Torpedo Factory Art Center.



Black Coffee playing at Echo Stage, Washington DC

Sama playing her set at Echo Stage, Washington DC

Duo deejays Sparrow and Barbossa playing right before Black Coffee came on stage

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