Throwback Thursday: ‘New Music Nights’ in NYC – July 21-23, 1993

 

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For this week’s Throwback Thursday, Giant Step President/CEO Maurice Bernstein tells us about the three New Music Nights we hosted for New Music Seminar from July 21 to July 23 in 1993. Be sure to catch music from some of the great artists we presented after the jump! And as always, feel free to share with us your favorite memories from these nights and of these artists!

The first night of the New Music Seminar we presented under our Groove Academy name. We held it at the New Music Café, which later came to be known as the Canal Room.

Weldon Irvine was on the bill. He was a very well respected funk and soul artist from the 60s and 70s, was Nina Simone’s musical director in the 1960s, and co-wrote “Young, Gifted, & Black.” He also put out a number of very influential albums in the 1970s on RCA, which were heavily sampled and were very, very rare.

I met him when he came to the Giant Step club in 1991 at the Village Gate and introduced himself to me; I was totally blown away – I didn’t even know he was still alive! At that point, he’d been putting out music under the name Master Wel with his own band. Also important to note is that he trained a lot of the great funk and soul musicians who came out of Jamaica, Queens in the 1970s, like Marcus Miller, Don Blackman. In fact, Don Blackman was in his band.

Read the rest after the jump

Exclusive Interview: Ester Rada Opens Up Before Her US Debut

 

Next week on March 11, we will be introducing folks in NYC to a major new talent from Israel named Ester Rada. In the meantime, we got some interesting bits on the unique artist in the interview below. Read up!

Giant Step: Your heritage is that of a very unique Ethiopian-Jewish people. How does this background and being raised in an Orthodox tradition affect who you are today?

Ester Rada: I was born in Israel, and my family raised me in a religious house and tradition, as this was what they were used to from Ethiopia. When my parents moved to Israel they were “put” in Kiryat Arba, a very religious city. We moved from there when I was 10 years old, due to the security issues there.

GS: Coming up in one of the rougher neighborhoods in Tel Aviv, what it was like growing up?

ER: I was actually growing up near Tel Aviv, in Netanya, and it was a big change for me. Coming from a more religious village, you can call it the country side, to a bigger city, was a big move for me. I also became secular and not as religious as we used to be. But this change was blessing, and I started to know what freedom is like. In the neighborhood I had good friends.

GS: Your sound evokes qualities similar to Erykah, Jill Scott, Janelle Monae. Are these intentional influences? Who would you say are your influences?

ER: I am influenced by a lot of artists. Of course the ones you named, and also religious Jewish music from my early days, as well as Ethiopian and Amharic music such as Mahmoud Ahmed, Mulat Astatke, Muluken Melesse, Israeli music, jazz and soul legends such as Nina Simone, Aretha Franklin, Marlena Shaw, and contemporary music such as Corrine Bailey Rae, Nneka, Keziah Jones, India Arie and more.

Read the rest of the interview & get show details after the jump

NYC: Giant Step Presents Ester Rada’s Exclusive US Debut Showcase – 3/11

Soul-Funk-Ethio-Jazz-Groove-RnB singer Ester Rada is an artist we have been following for a long time. With influences from Nina Simone to Jill Scott and Erykah Badu, the Israeli-Ethiopian up-and-coming vocalist is bringing a new voice to soul and we are very excited to have her in New York!

Life Happens, her self-written and composed solo EP, produced by Kuti (Kutiman Thru-You) and Sabbo (Soulico):

Monday, March 11
Slipper Room – 167 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002
Doors: 10:00 PM
$10 Advance tickets here

More info:giantstep.net/esterrada

New Track: Meshell Ndegeocello “To Be Young, Gifted and Black” ft. Cody Chestnutt

 

With her upcoming Nina Simone tribute album about a month away, Meshell Ndegeocello releases a new single for free download. “To Be Young, Gifted, and Black” features Cody Chesnutt on vocals backed by a smooth, minimalist track. Stream and download below!

Pour Une Ame Souveraine will be out October 9.

Tour Dates
08/30: Big Indian, NY @ Women’s Music Summit, Full Moon
09/07: Pittsburgh, PA @ City of Asylum
09/08: Pittsburgh, PA @ City of Asylum
10/19: Durham, NC @ Duke University, Reynolds Industry Theater
10/20: Durham, NC @ Motorco Music Hall Theater
12/07: Los Angeles, CA @ UCLA Live

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