Summer Spirit Festival
D'Angelo, Erykah Badu, Busta Rhymes, Rare Essence, Black Alley, Hiatus Kaiyote, with special guest host Mike Epps
10475 Little Patuxent Parkway
Columbia, Maryland, 21044
This event is all ages
2014 Summer Spirit Festival
It’s that time of year again: when the best of the hip-hop and R&B worlds join forces on the Merriweather stage to bring you Summer Spirit Festival! Each year’s lineup is always solid, but we might have outdone ourselves this year. Ms. Lauryn Hill, after making the comeback of the century with her winter tour, will headline the festival with Electric Lady Janelle Monáe. They’ll be joined by other supreme talents like Raheem DeVaughn and Talib Kweli, among many more. Grab your ticket today and ensure that your summer has a heavy dose of soul.
Erykah Badu was born on February 26, 1971 to William and Kollen Wright in Dallas, Texas. They named her Erica Abi Wright and she was the first of their three children. She inherited a taste for music from her mother who introduced her to multiple genres of music (Joni Mitchell, Parliament-Funkadelic, Pink Floyd, Phoebe Snow, Chaka Khan). At the tender age of four, Badu began singing and dancing in productions at the local Dallas Theatre Centre. It wasn’t until her acting debut in the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreational Center’s musical production of “Really Rosie,” directed by her godmother Gwen Hargrove, that Badu realized she was a natural performer. “I played Alligator,” Badu says, “and at 6 years old, I got my first standing ovation. I knew I wanted to bring people to their feet from that point on.”
Badu stayed true to her artistic leanings and enrolled at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing Arts in the late ’80s. Tomboyish and a bit of a class clown, Badu devoted most of her time to perfecting her dance form, studying the techniques of Martha Graham and Katherine Dunham, as well as practicing ballet, tap, and modern dance. Badu also sharpened her Hip-Hop skills, freestyling on the Dallas radio station 90.9 FM KNON under the name Apples the Alchemist until she eventually changed the spelling of her name from “Erica Wright” to “Erykah Badu,” “kah” being Kemetic (Egyptian) for a human’s vital energy or “inner-self” and “ba-du” after her favorite jazz scat-sound. But later, Badu would discover that her chosen name holds a far deeper meaning.In 1989, her senior year of high school, she decided to dedicate her life to a path of holistic wellness and became a vegetarian.
Badu enrolled at Grambling State University, where she majored in theater and minored in Quantum Physics. She left in 1993 to pursue music full-time. During the day, she taught drama and dance at the South Dallas Cultural Center and worked as a coffeehouse waitress. At night, she recorded and performed songs like “Appletree,” produced by her cousin Robert “Free” Bradford. In 1994, her 19-song demo caught the attention of aspiring record executive Kedar Massenburg by way of the SXSW music festival. Massenburg signed her to his upstart label Kedar Entertainment. The company eventually merged with Motown/Universal and Badu started opening for D’Angelo, prepping the world for the massive Neo soul movement to come.
The New York Times described Badu’s groundbreaking debut, 1997’s Baduizm, as “traditional soul vocals, staccato hip-hop rhythms and laid-back jazzy grooves.” Yet, hindsight reveals that Badu’s debut was more than just an album, it was the introduction of a new lifestyle. The music evoked speakeasies, incense, head wraps, and boho coffee shop culture all in one easy breath. Propelled by the lead single “On & On,” the album went multi-platinum, winning her two Grammys for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B Album. Badu topped Rolling Stone’s Reader’s poll for Best R&B Artist, and Entertainment Weekly named her Best New Female Singer of 1997.
In 2003, she founded her non-profit group, B.L.I.N.D. (Beautiful Love Incorporated Non-Profit Development), which is geared toward creating social change through economic, artistic, and cultural development. Among B.L.I.N.D.’s many accomplishments, the organization has provided arts, crafts, and dance classes to children displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Also in 2004, Badu’s charitable efforts helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to support the scholarship fund at St. Phillips School and Community Center in Dallas, Texas.
Badu continues to use her platform as an alter. By incorporating instruments such as tuning forks, crystal singing bowls, and gem stones and more into her music, she has created a wave of healing energy throughout the planet. But her true instrument is the 'intent' with which she sings. She has become a spiritual midwife, aiding in the rebirth of moral and spiritual consciousness for her generation. Badu’s artistic and spiritual contributions to humanity earned her an honorary Doctorate degree in Humanities from Paul Quinn College in 2000.
Erykah Badu’s three children, son Seven Sirius (b. 1997) and daughters Puma (b. 2004) and Mars Merkaba (b. 2009), were all born at home with a practicing midwife. She is an advocate of natural childbirth, healthy birth outcomes and breastfeeding for robust infant development. Recently, she was the keynote speaker at the International Center for Traditional Childbearing (ICTC) 7th International Black Midwives and Healers Conference in October 2010.
Erykah currently studies and apprentices to masters Queen Afua, holistic health guru and spiritual teacher. Dr. Jewel Pookrum , neurosurgeon, physicist and midwife and Dr. Laila Africa, scientist, health practitioner and theorist. In 2006 Erykah was certified as a Holistic Health practitioner thru Dr. Laila Africa and she is also a 3rd Degree Reiki Master-Teacher. Badu hasn’t stopped yet; she continues to study sound and vibration healing and presently assists and apprentices as a direct entry midwife. Erykah has served as doula for five natural births and only has 31 left to becoming a full fledge midwife.
Erykah currently makes her home in Dallas, Texas. Self described as a “mother first”, Badu is a touring artist, DJ, teacher, community activist, vegan, recycler, and conscious spirit.
It grew from a relationship between four childhood friends: Quentin “Footz” Davidson, Andre “Whiteboy” Johnson, Michael “Funky Ned” Neal and John Jones. After school, the four young musicians would get together in each other’s basements and play top forty hits from such influential bands as Parliament/Funkadelic, Cameo, and Confunkshun. Eventually the band adapted more players and conformed to the go-go sound that started in 1976.
It was at that time that the band called on the assistance of Quentins mother, Annie Mack, who became the bands first manager.
Today, Rare Essence is comprised of 9 musicians who play a range of instruments from the timbales to the bass guitar. The band is still going strong playing several nights a week, even an occasional double-gig, playing two concerts in one night. They credit their continued success to their fans, who vibe together in such a way that only the actual experience can really display the level of enthusiasm that you see each and every show.
Rare Essence has had success with such hits as “Body Moves”, the hit album “Live at Breeze’s Metro Club,” and the single “Lock-It” which was featured on the Strictly Business soundtrack. The band blew up the charts with their most successful single, “Work the Walls.” It was played on top 25 stations nationwide according to Billboard.
Another notable release was 1998’s “Overnight Scenario”, which charted up and down the East Coast.
Rare Essence has also celebrated successful collaborations with many other charted artists. 1986 brought the Aretha Franklin single “Jimmy Lee” which featured Rare Essence performing as her band in the video. 1996 brought the collaborated single with Doug E. Fresh entitled “Must Be Like That”, and again in 2003 with the CD release of “Live @ Club U Volume 2.” 1999 brought the collaborated single with Redman entitled “Push.” 2004 brought the regional hit of Ashley Simpson’s “Pieces of Me.”
In 2002, Rare Essence guest starred with Ludcaris on the Jay Leno Show, performing his hit single “Roll Out.” That allowed for an invitation to once again to perform with Ludacris on the remix of “Pimpin All Over The World” with Bobby Valentino at the 2005 MTV VMAs.
Their newest work, which is scheduled for release in 2009, appropriately entitled "The Wickedest Band Alive" features guest appearances by former members Donnell "D.Floyd" Floyd and Kimberly "Ms. Kim" Graham, and also Scooby AKA Frank Sirius formerly of Da Grewp.
While the greatest success from Rare Essence remains mostly in the east coast region, their groove is loved by many dedicated fans all over the world. Even after 25 years true fans will gladly proclaim that “Rare Essence is the Wickedest Band Alive!”
With success also came tragedies for Rare Essence. In 1994 they experienced the tragic death of original member Quentin “Footz” Davidson, who was later inducted in the Washington Area Music Association Hall of Fame, and in 2006, they were again struck with the tragic death of member Kent Wood. Even still the band continues to strive for excellence while entertaining thousands of loyal Rare Essence fans throughout the East Coast.
Always being able to adapt to the times, 1996 came with the release of the album “Body Snatchers,” which also brought about personnel changes that allowed the band to once again reinvent their image allowing them continued success through a new generation.
Today, Rare Essence consists of original member Andre “Whiteboy” Johnson (Lead Guitar), as well as Milton “GoGo Mickey” Freeman (Congas), David “32” Ellis (Vocals), Charles “Shorty” Garris (Vocals), Roy Battle (Keyboard), Michael Baker (Bass Guitar0, Quentin “Dud” Ivey (Percussion), Darrell “Blue Eye” Arrington (Drums), and Leroy “Scooter” Taylor (Keyboard).
The impact of the Rare Essence foundation has been so solid and influential within the Go-Go industry that it has spawned generations of offshoots, styles, performance techniques, and emulation throughout the Go-Go circuit.
Born and bred in the District of Columbia, BLACK ALLEY has pushed the rhythmic limits of DC’s music scene for 5 years now. By standing on the shoulders of tradition, Black Alley embodies the best of jazz, funk, rock, r&b, and hip-hop to form its own musical niche called “Soul Garage.” By forging our own unique path, BLACK ALLEY seeks to create a space where people and music vibe on a higher level. The goal: for our music to be a sanctuary for people who want more – more passion, more love, more out of life.
Hiatus Kaiyote are future soul.
Based in Melbourne, the four-piece fuses
neo-soul, hip-hop and electronic beats along with flavours of Latin, jazz and opera, all presented with a cinematic sheen.
The band formed in mid-2011, and ever since, they have been racking up accolades, including Best Breakthrough Artist Of The Year at Gille's Peterson's Worldwide Awards, album of the week on Gilles Peterson’s show on BBC Music 6, and props from luminaries such as Eyrkah Badu, Questlove, Shafiq Husayn, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, James Poyser, Pharaoh Monch and Jean Grae.
Their debut release, Tawk Tomahawk, peaked in the Top 10 played Albums on KCRW in June and July, 2012.
The band has shared bills with Brainfeeder Records artists, Taylor McFerrin, Lapalux and oOoOO, Warp legends Chris Clark and Harmonic 313, sound genius Robin Fox.
They are playing at Meridith Music Festival (Dec 2012) Peats Ridge Festival (Dec 2012) Perth International Arts Festival (Feb 2013) Apollo Bay (April 2013) and SXSW (USA March 2013) as well as appeared at Woodford Folk Festival (2011/12) and The Melbourne International Jazz Festival (2012).
Led by enigmatic songwriter, vocalist and guitarist Nai Palm, who has created intricate compositions, rich with colour and mystery, both of this world and of worlds unseen, demonstrating compositional and performance abilities that are well beyond her 23 years. Rounding out the band’s line-up is three of Melbourne's finest and most versatile musician/producers.
Keyboardist Simon Mavin, is an established player in the jazz, soul and Latin scenes, who has appeared at one time or another backing international artists including Syl Johnson and Booker T. Jones, and played keys for Australia’s largest dub-reggae group, The Red Eyes Australia’s. He is currently playing with the world-renowned soul group The Bamboos.
Paul Bender on bass, laptop and guitar is a graduate of University of Miami’s prestigious jazz program, and was a key part of that city’s indie, experimental and improvised music scenes, with a passion for stank-funk basslines. Drummer Perrin Moss is a powerhouse of beats both jilted and slick and an experienced MC, producer, percussionist and DJ in his own right. These three have been able to fully realize Nai Palm’s songwriting in ways she never imagined.
Released in April, 2012, TAWK TOMAHAWK is the Hiatus Kaiyote’s debut. The 10 track EP, almost all of which was recorded and mixed in the band’s home in Melbourne, showcases the breadth of the band’s expertise as musicians and attention to detail in the complex arrangements. Ultimately, through the musicians’ symbiosis, they have created an innovative and rare sound, unique in every way.
Adding to the excitement is the fact that the band has already sold copies of their EP in the thousands with no marketing budge, topping Bandcamp R&B sales.
Hiatus Kaiyote has already achieved big successes from sold out performances (400+) in Melbourne to upcoming festival dates throughout Australia in fall, 2012, to the worldwide group of fans that are amassing exponentially in their support. When you add in the transcendent music the band is creating for their follow-up LP, expect to hear a lot more from this group.