international · music

New Alice Francis Music!

You all recall that last year, I mentioned my love for singer Alice Francis. This vintage-inspired songbird is still a fave, though I hadn’t been checking her YouTube page regularly. I just hadn’t had her on my mind recently.

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Still from Francis’s “Gangsterlove” video

However, I checked out her Youtube a few weeks ago and found she had released several songs in the past few months. My current fave is “Coco Baca Bum Bum”. The Cuban backdrop and vintage fashions are everything! And the song is super-cute, too.

Why don’t you take a listen and let me know what you think? I’ll be back tomorrow!

music · travel

All About Auntie Janet (Jackson)

Happy Wednesday, friends! I’m enjoying a delightful flashback, all the way back to last month. On my birthday, I saw Janet Jackson perform live in Raleigh, NC and I had the time of my life! This concert was part of her State of the World tour, and she did not disappoint!

The event was held at the Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek. The weather was perfect – no rain! – and the staff was professional, courteous and oh-so-helpful. Let me tell you all: Janet has STILL got “IT”! She looked great, she sounded great, and the entire concert experience was excellent.

Janet performed a lot of her hits and she has plenty of them to choose from (she’s been performing for over 30 years!) My favorite song is “Runaway” and yes, she performed it and even did some of the dance moves. I had such a ball singing and dancing along: I’d see her again in a heartbeat.

Oh, you know I made sure to film a bit of the concert for you, too. I added it to my YouTube channel but I’m also linking it here. Enjoy!

 

life curation · music

Dads Matter

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Happy Sunday, everyone! Today is Father’s Day in the United States, and I’m fortunate to have experienced the love of two fathers: my biological dad and my stepdad. Instead of saying to you, ‘Go love on your dad”, I want to share what both of the fathers in my life meant to me.

My biological dad and I haven’t always been close, though there’s always been a lot of love between us. He is a better parent of adults than young children, and I can respect and enjoy that: after all, I’ll spend more of my life as an adult than I did as a child! He and my mom had a tense relationship for many years, and now I’m glad to say that they have grown to the point of having a friendship. It took a lot of years, but I love that there is no animosity between them. They married in the 1970s, so I often associate them with Earth, Wind and Fire. Here’s a song that I imagine that they may have danced to while they were dating.

My stepdad passed in 2012, and I’ll cherish the last conversation I had with him. He was very ill – in hospice care – and when I asked how he was feeling, he simply said, “I’m not doing too well, but I’m okay. How are you?” It still breaks my heart to think that he wanted to know how I was doing while he was slowly slipping away from us. I’ll also think fondly of how we would occasionally sneak out and get milkshakes from McDonald’s and chili cheese hot dogs from 7 Eleven (this was before I started eating healthier!) One of the last times we hung out, he said he was craving a milkshake, so we made a special stop just to soothe his craving. I miss him every day, but I’m happy that he left me some awesome memories. Here’s a song that he absolutely loved: I still can’t listen to it all the way through without breaking down into tears.

Those are a couple of my Father’s Day memories. Do you all have any memories of your father/father figures that you want to share? Please post them in comments below: I’d love to read them.

music

Learn More About Opera

I’ve got another FutureLearn course for you all to check out! Several years back, I took a Introduction to Classical Music course on Coursera, and I’ve desired more opportunities to learn about classical music ever since. However, there haven’t been too many courses that fit the bill, until I saw the “Inside Opera” course available on FutureLearn.

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The course will dive into defining opera, discussing the onstage and backstage activities, and how it factors into the world around us.

This opera course starts June 4. I hope that you take some time to check it out!

culture · international · music

A Little Something for International Dance Day

Happy Sunday friends! It’s been a while since I posted videos about music or dance, so it’s only fitting that I share something with you all for International Dance Day!

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I’m adding some videos demonstrating traditional African dances from several countries. I’ve discussed kizomba before, but Africa is a tremendously diverse continent and every country has something different to offer when it comes to dance. Here’s just a taste of African dance:

Angolan Kizomba and Semba: this mashup of clips gives you a glimpse into traditional Angolan dance. Fun, exuberant and flirty: what’s not to love?

Ethiopian/Eritrean Eskista: I don’t know what I love most about this video – the gorgeous hair, the joyful expressions or the fact that this reminds me of something that my friends and I would do when we get together. They’re not professionals, but they’re having fun!

Burundian/Rwandan Umushagiriro/Umushayayo: this is so graceful and elegant. I want to learn the dance and wear the traditional outfits daily. This dance is breathtakingly beautiful.

And just for fun, Ivorian Zaouli: this dance has been made into countless memes, but the truth is, it takes a LOT of stamina to do this. Enjoy!

What is your favorite international dance? Let me know in the comments below!

international · music

Currently Listening To . . .

A few weeks ago, I went to Charlotte, NC to visit one of my friends and to attend a kizomba weekender. You may have seen that in my post and wondered when the follow-up would be posted . . . Well, here you go.

I love kizomba and, while I’m a beginner, I really enjoyed learning the history and technical aspects of the dance. It’s sensual, elegant and so much fun. Not to mention, it made me very aware of some areas where my life could stand some improvement. More about that in another post. . .

So today, this is technically a “currently listening to AND watching” post. I found this kizomba tutorial and I’ve been using it to practice my moves. The position and fluidity of the female dancer’s body is what I’m watching closely: I want to make sure that I’m holding my body correctly while doing moves. I can already tell that I’m improving!

Are you all familiar with kizomba? Let me know in the comments below!

music

Currently Listening To . . .

A few days ago, I was on YouTube listening to 90s and early 2000s RnB. I find myself missing the smooth ballads sung by talented vocalists. I was listening to Eric Benet’s “Femininity” when I came across this classic. I remember when it was released and how much I loved it, so I could’t resist listening to it again:

I remember hearing that there were actually two previous versions of the song “Georgy Porgy”, so I looked for those. As always, YouTube didn’t disappoint. The original version was sung by Toto, and then remade a few years later by Side Effect. Eric Benet’s version was released nearly two decades later.

After comparing all three, I’m pretty sure I love the Side Effect arrangement best, though I think Eric was the strongest lead vocalist out of all of the versions. However, there’s a softer, more romantic feel to the the male vocalist in Toto’s version; he sounds more authentically lovesick than the other lead vocalists. As far as the female backing vocal, Mikki Howard (in Side Effect’s version) was by far my favorite.

Do you have a favorite version? Let me know in the comments below!