Monthly Archives: May 2013

KEEPING THE FAITH | THE ART OF SOCIAL COMMENTARY

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The work of the incredibly talented and world renowned, South African street artist, Faith 47 is laced with social and political commentary. I remember seeing parts of her fantastic Freedom Charter Series as it started popping up in parts of Cape Town in 2010.

Juxtaposing the current economic and political landscape with sections of the text of the Freedom Charter, this powerful series highlights the shortcomings of South Africa’s leadership and its failings in achieving all the ambitions of the noble document, penned in 1955 that outlined the core principles for a free and democratic South Africa. It may seem like an expression of the helplessness, but I think The Freedom Charter Series holds up a mirror and demands greater accountability from our leaders.

Bryan Little of Fly on the Wall productions in Woodstock, filmed a three part documentary of the series as part of a larger project by Laura Gamse called The Creators.

Visit www.faith47.com to see more of Faith 47’s outstanding work.

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HaveYouHeard | Kool & Kass – “Peaceful Solutions”

Reminiscent of the early nineties Hip Hop of Tribe and Native Tongues, Kool and Kass take us back to a time when the genre was fun and goofy and didn’t take itself so seriously. The group consists of  former Das Racist member KOOL A.D. and Kassa Overall. Here’s the crazy awesome video for Peaceful Solutions, the title track of their mixtape, which is available for download at:

http://koolandkass.bandcamp.com/

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A TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE WITH STREET ARTIST, JR

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The imaginative street art of JR never ceases to amaze me. In his latest work from the UNFRAMED series, JR returns to his native France to the city of La Belle de Mai in Marseille. Members of the community gave the artist photographs from their family photo albums. Those photographs got the JR treatment and appeared all over the city in breathtaking scale. The work as JR says on his website aims to “create a monumental artwork on the walls of the neighborhood and transform these personal memories into part of the collective history of La Belle de Mai.”

Have a look at some of the amazing pictures form the project and visit www.jr-art.net

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HaveYouHeard | Noir Wave from Petite Noir

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Described by the Guardian as ‘Joy Division meets Paul Simon in Graceland’, the music of Petite Noir is certainly an interesting and unusual sound permeating the African airwaves. Yannick Ilunga, son of a Congolese father and Angolan mother has called Cape Town home since he was six years old. He calls his music Noir wave, and it’s an interesting Afro-Indie-Pop-Electronica take on New wave. He’s worked with fellow Afro innovator, Spoek Mathambo in their group Popskarr and his debut album Till We Ghosts has garnered international admiration culminating in a European tour and more recently a performance at the SXSW Music Festival in Austin, Texas. I for one am excited to watch the rise of Yannick Ilunga and his incredible Noir wave.

Check out some of his videos and his blog; http://noirwavegeneration.tumblr.com/. I’ve also included a gallery of photographs by the fantastic Danielle Clough for Rolling Stone Magazine, South Africa. Check out her blog at: http://motherclougher.blogspot.ca/

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SOLE SEARCHING | FUSE TV CELEBRATES SNEAKER CULTURE

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A couple of weeks ago, I posted Fuse TV’s Crate Diggers series which features interviews with DJs and producers about their music and record collections. Well recently I came across Sole Searching, a show about sneakerheads and sneaker culture.  This  fantastic show interviews  celebrities and sneaker store owners across the globe about the passion for kicks. Have a look at some of my favorite videos and be sure to check out the show at fuse.tv

CAPE TOWN | WORLD DESIGN CAPITAL 2014

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As a proud son of Cape Town and a designer, I’ve often excitedly told my friends in Toronto that my city is going to be the World Design Capital in 2014. And then I get the inevitable; “Really? What does that mean?”  Well folks, here is the answer.

In October 2011, Cape Town was named the World Design Capital for 2014 by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design – an international non-governmental organization that aims to protect and promote the profession of industrial design. 

The vision of the World Design Capital project is to promote and encourage the use of design to further the social, economic and cultural development of the world’s cities.

While there are many titles that recognise individual accomplishments in design, the World Design Capital designation is unique, as it aims to focus on the broader essence of design’s impact on urban spaces, economies and citizens. The designation provides a distinctive opportunity for cities to showcase their accomplishments in attracting and promoting innovative design, as well as highlight successes in urban revitalisation strategies.

While Cape Town can’t exactly be viewed as a capital for design just yet, there have been many initiatives to harness the power of creative thinking and design as a catalyst for economic growth and a tool for transformation. Becoming the World Design Capital will crystallize that thinking and promote innovation and shine a spotlight on the interesting development in the city.

Creatives have submitted their ideas based on the four themes: African Innovation. Global Conversation | African ideas that speak to the world, Bridging The Divide | Design that reconnects our city and reconciles our communities, Today For Tomorrow | Sustainable solutions for people and planet and Beautiful Spaces. Beautiful Things |Inspiring architecture, interiors, food, fashion, jewellery, craft, art and creativity.

Make sure you visit Cape Town in 2014 and check out http://wdccapetown2014.com/ for more information about this exciting event.

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MUSIC AND SECOND CHANCES | THE SOUL OF CHARLES BRADLEY

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When you listen to Heartaches and Pain by Charles Bradley, with it’s raw outpouring of emotion, it’s clear that this is a man who’s lived a tough life.  A troubled life that saw Bradley live on subway cars for two years as a teenage runaway, work odd jobs across the country and tragically experience the death of his brother.

His remarkable and painful story took a turn for the better when he was discovered by Gabe Roth of Daptone Records. Charles, a longtime fan of the Godfather of Soul was performing as a James Brown impersonator at the time. The Daptone Records co-founder saw far more potential in the talents of Charles Bradley than being a mere impersonator. And thank God he did. Following an introduction to Thomas Brenneck of the incredible Menehan Street Band,  an invitation to perform along with the band and the writing and recording of numerous songs, Daptone Records released No Time For Dreaming. It was Charles Bradley’s debut album and he was 62.

In an interview with NPR Bradley had this to say: “I’m gonna say it’s all right to dream, but work at it — make it come to reality,” Bradley says. “It took 62 years for somebody to find me, but I thank God. Some people never get found.”

Charles’ amazing story is the subject of a documentary entitled Charles Bradley: The Soul of America and earlier this year, he followed up his incredible debut with  his second album, Victim of Love.

Watch the trailer of the documentary and two of my favorite videos by Charles Bradley.

HaveYouHeard | My Morning Jacket – Tyrone feat. Erykah Badu Unstaged

My love for the band My Morning Jacket has grown a little stronger since seeing this fantastic collabo with Erykah Badu. ENJOY.

SuperJam | Questlove and the return of D’Angelo

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Every year at the Bonnaroo Music Festival in Tennessee, they host something called Superjam, a great concept that groups together different artists for a one time only collaboration. Last year’s Superjam, billed ?uestlove with very Special Guests, featured a collaborator that had been missing from the music scene for more than ten years. D’Angelo, the R&B sensation of the 90s jammed away on keys and guitar and off course vocals in a fantastic, groove soaked set.

Bonnaroo has recently released a four part documentary that follows the group (which includes Roots guitarist Captain Kirk and legendary bassist Pino Palladino among others) behind the scenes and on stage, as they discuss the process and work on the material. Enjoy this fantastic series and seeing the remarkable return of D’Angelo.

Sneaker Appreciation 101 | The Air Force 1

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In the world of a Sneaker freak there are certain staples. SneakerAppreciation 101 is a new segment that explores the sneakers that I consider to be the staples. First up is the Nike Air Force 1.

When Nike designer, Bruce Kilgore was designing the Air Force 1 in 1982, the first to use Nike’s innovative new Air Technology, he was aiming to create a game changer. And that, he most certainly did. 31 years after it’s inception, from it’s early life on the court, the Air Force 1 has become a street icon.

Named after the American presidential airplane, the Air Force One, the sneaker  is easily recognizable with it’s rounded nose, thick sole (it took quite a bit of getting used to when i bought my first pair), and the great touch of the AF-1 medallion secured on the bottom lace.

Available in low, mid and high and originally designed in white, the sneaker now comes in hundreds of different colourways and materials. Super stylish and versatile, this is one of the most comfortable sneakers I’ve ever owned and as a staple it’s a must have. Check out the trailer to Air Force 1 : Anotomy of a Legend by Thibaut de Longeville and some amazing variations of this street classic.

All images from solecollector.com

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