Thursday, September 15, 2005

New Orleans musicians

From the incomparable J. Scales comes word of the deliverance of the members of two outstanding New Orleans bands: Zion Trinity and Mother Tongue. The members of both groups, however, have lost nearly everything, and need the help of fellow musicians and music-lovers to make it to the next phase of their recovery. To assist to Zion Trinity, buy their CD, "Eyes on Zion" (featuring the incomparable J. Scales on bass), and/or send donations to:

ZION Trinity
c/o Melody Friday
2258 Wild Turkey Court
Decatur, GA 30035

To help their colleagues in Mother Tongue (Dorise Blackmon, Michaela Harrison, and Tanya), send your contribution to:

Fundraiser for Dorise, Michaela, and Tanya
c/o E. Christi Cunningham
1335 Jefferson St. NW
Washington, D.C. 20011

Click here to purchase Mother Tongue's CD.

From a member of Zion Trinity:

September 3, 2005

Andaiye [made contact] today after many days of concern and prayer....she's dry and still at her home at 1555 Gentilly in New Orleans....she's unable to move anywhere because there are no more accommodations at the Superdome and the water level is still high where she is.......she's dry and well at home and waiting for the water to receed so she can drive out to safety - when the van dries out...Thank you for your thoughtfulness and the tremendous outpouring of love...Trisha is well in Dallas with her husband and will have the baby at the end of October ...Their area was hit the hardest, so they've lost their home, which is under 22 feet of water...My area, as i understand it, is under 15 feet of water, so I won't know my damage until I return home...

My vehicle is lost (under water) and as we all know Sister Andaiye - QUEEN OF FAITH - said her house was marked for the passover...the water only reached the porch level with no water inside.....Once I reconnect with Andaiye, Ali and Sam, we'll restart our lives in Atlanta temporarily until our precious New Orleans opens up...I am now in New Jersey with my family and will move on to Atlanta where my Friend Melody has agreed to house us..Andaiyes' mother was airlifted to a hospital in Alexandria, Louisiana, and is well. and out of ICU...

We ARE SOOOOO GRATEFUL to be is precious ......possessions can be replaced...We will have a powerful story to tell once this is over...ZION Trinity loves everyone and we appreciate greatly all the love shown....Please continue to be in prayer for the safe return of Andaiye and her family...GOD IS SO MERCIFUL AND WE ARE BLESSED .....One in Love and Light - Sula Janet

And from the entire trio:

September 4, 2005

ZION Trinity is safe. Sula is in New Jersey with her sister and learned that Sister Andaiye and her family were airlifted out of N.O. last night (Sunday). They've arrived safely in San Antonio, Texas, and, as you know, we will not be able to return to N.O. any time soon.

We've all lost everything material but praise God for life and the safe return of our sister.

On Thursday, Oshun will fly to Atlanta where my friend, Melody, has agreed to give housing to me and mine. Andaiye will be in Plano, Texas, with her mom and family until we can meet again in Houston or another part of Texas in the coming weeks.

Trisha and Shawn will be in Houston where she will deliver her baby in five weeks. We have quite the praise story to tell and are so grateful for the love from everyone. Keep praying for us, okay? We will rebuild and have our losses replaced tenfold in Yahweh’s name!!!

One In Spirit -
sula, oshun and andaiye
ZION Trinity

The women of Mother Tongue speak to us through E. Christi Cunningham, a friend in Washington, DC. They recently put together a killer CD, “Sister,” which features a version of Jobim’s “Agua de Beber” that will just slay you. Brazilian Portuguese with a New Orleans twist. The album also includes some tasty originals, as well as more familiar pieces. The sound is a cross between Tuck and Patti, Sweet Honey and DeeDee Bridgewater. Your purchase of the CD is strongly recommended.

3 September 2005

I am writing to request monetary donations for Dorise Blackmon, Michaela Harrison, and Tanya – survivors of hurricane Katrina.

We know them now as Mother Tongue, a successful trio that has appeared on BET, at the Essence festival, and at New Orleans Jazzfest; shared the stage with artists like Meshell N’degeochello and Sweet Honey in the Rock; produced and released a debut CD entitled “Wonderwomen”; and performed in venues across the United States.

But before Mother Tongue, for more than a decade, they, individually, were active and generous participants in communities in D.C., in general, and the women’s community, in particular. Their contributions include teaching in the D.C. public schools, providing HIV/AIDS research, counseling, and education, organizing and hosting WITL poetry readings, providing entertainment at June’s Annual Black Pride Cookout and Sistah Summerfest, and offering love, advice, and laughter.

They continued to demonstrate their commitment to uplifting communities even after leaving D.C. by teaching in public schools in New York and New Orleans, teaching at an HBCU in New Orleans, organizing a conference on traditional spiritual healing practices at NYU, working with underprivileged youth, opening their homes to friends and strangers alike, and making positive music.

Now Dorise, Michaela, and Tanya need our help. Their homes were located near Lake Pontchartrain in New Orleans. They lost almost every material thing in the hurricane and subsequent flooding – their houses, jobs, clothes, recording equipment, original recordings – everything.

They need financial assistance to support them immediately and in the coming months. Please help. (See address above.)

In addition, they have CDs for sale and are available for performances at social events

Thank you.


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Diaspora in Seattle

Your blogstress’s new friend, Wilson Kolb of Seattle, has begun a blog, WillieSnout, chronicling his experience “adopting” a married couple who evacuated New Orleans.

Here’s Wilson:

This article by Dr. Red Head really hit home. I am here in Seattle and as of last Friday I am one of those well-meaning people who has paid the rent on an apartment for a displaced family of fellow Americans made homeless by the storm. Even before reading her article I had been thinking about the issues Doc Redhead raised and, boy, could I ever use some practical ideas. Meantime, I'm making it up as I go along, and am hoping that a lot of caring and some common sense will get us through.

This is a family of five who made it up here in their car. I only met two of them, a husband and wife who I'd say are in their mid-40s. I had learned about them through an article in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and met them at the Central Area Motivation Project (CAMP), which specializes in helping low-income black folks here. I had never heard of CAMP, but I called them to ask what was being done for their housing. I wound up offering to pay their rent for a couple months.

Click here to read more on WillieSnout

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Wherefore art the blogstress?

Your blogstress asks her readers' forbearance in chaotic times. A family emergency and frenetic activity at her pesky day job have interfered with your ecrivaine's blogging, and in the interim, she has received many interesting pieces from readers that she has yet to post. Don't give up on the cybertrix--not you, Leigh, nor Wilson Kolb nor the incomparable J. Scales. Your net-tete will do yas right--really.

Tomorrow, your Webwench departs for Baton Rouge. Posting may be sporadic.

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Martial law

Well, here’s one way that his administration’s abject failure--its criminal negligence--in its lack of response to the nation’s most devastating disaster is working for it: the president promises that the next time disaster strikes, the federal government will simply take over, with a “much greater role for the armed forces.”

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What about the diaspora?

While the president focused his speech on what needs to happen to rebuild the Gulf Coast, he said precious little about the disaspora of Louisianans and Mississippians now dispersed throught the lower 48. Today, the city of Dallas announced it was sick of waiting for the feds to deal with the thousands of evacuees they’re housing in a convention center and an arena, so they’re raising money from private sources to get these folks situated in Dallas apartments.

Is it fair to leave this massive undertaking to the efforts of a municipal government? Is it smart? How long before the people of the suburbs and the inner cities begin to resent the newcomers?

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War on poverty

Okay, your cybertrix is calming down a bit--at least enough to grock that the president has pledged a lot of dollars and efforts to rebuilding lives and real estate in the Gulf Coast region. Amen to that. And he has admitted that discrimination causes poverty (though he did seem to imply that it was the discrimination of the bad old days that caused the poverty endemic among African-Americans in the South), not that it exists today, n'est-ce pas?

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How dare he!

Your blogstress is willing to bet that George W. Bush wouldn't know John Coltrane from Gary Coleman. Hence her outrage at the closing lines of the president's speech tonight. Invoking the funerals given for jazz musicians in New Orleans, he spoke condescendingly of the joyful strains played by the living on their return from the cemetary--after playing a mournful dirge on the walk between church and grave. New Orleans is still in the dirge phase, he said, but the joy is just around the corner. Yeah, right.

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Days of sorrow and outrage

“This is an unprecedented response to an unprecedented disaster,” so the president just said in his address to the nation on the disaster called Katrina. He cited a litiany of efforts and supplies, measured in tons and dollars and numbers of staff, to demonstrate the breadth of his administration’s response.

It is actually amazing that he is touting his response without apology up top, without recognition of his failure.

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