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.
Just a couple days ago, we shared with you Bilal's cover of Stevie Wonder's "Too High," which was to say the least - brilliant. And as promised, Bilal dropped his The Retrospection mixtape this week to go along with it! Download for free below.
Curated by Vikter Duplaix, the hour long mix takes us on a seamless journey through Bilal's colorful career. Easy to hit play and just let it go. Nice to enjoy this while we all anticipate Bilal's upcoming album, A Love Surreal.
Bilal - The Retrospection [Download on Facebook]
Um, yeah. Bilal covering Stevie Wonder? Lots more where this came from, please! This particular tune shares a smoothed out, jazzed up take on "Too High" and immediately moves listeners to a nostalgic happy place. The instrumentation is compliments of Yesterday’s New Quintet (Madlib), too!
The track is featured on Bilal's upcoming mixtape, The Retrospection, presented by Vikter Duplaix. Absolutely cannot wait!
The massively talented and Grammy-nominated Robert Glasper will be bringing together his also supremely skilled comrades for a couple unforgettable evenings on December 13 and December 14. As you may have guessed, Robert Glasper: Songs in the Key of Life, the performances will pay homage to the timeless catalog of Stevie Wonder, including "new arrangements of Wonder’s music and the premiere of new Harlem Stage commissioned compositions by Glasper, inspired by Stevie Wonder."
The events will take place at the Harlem Stage and will bring together the famed Robert Glasper Experiment along with Lalah Hathaway, Eric Roberson, Stokley (from Mint Condition), Questlove (Thursday only), and others.
On the December 14 night, a special pre-performance discussion will take place at 6:30PM with Robert Glasper, moderated by Andre Torres, Editor-in-Chief at Wax Poetics.
All but the Thursday 10PM show are sold out!
Enter our contest after the jump to win tickets to the show!