Ever since the release date of Marvel’s Black Panther, people worldwide have been giving the movie nothing but amazing reviews. From the cast themselves, to the soundtrack made by Kendrick Lamar, Marvel fans say this is the best MCU movie to date, while others who may not be Marvel, or comic book fans, are even going to see this movie for cultural purposes, and have said themselves that watching this movie has been an amazing experience. Personally I thought this was an amazing movie from the beginning. I’m already a comic book and MCU fan. I also came to see this movie from a cultural aspect. Since I always wanted to go to Africa, and see were I can connect with my ancestors, and how they all use to live their day to day lives in such a beautiful place. Black Panther is out in movie theaters right now!
On Saturday, September 30th, I had the thrill of seeing a true opera superstar at the Auditorium, here in Chicago. The five-time Grammy Award winner, Kathleen Battle has sung all of the great Operas and reigned supreme at the Metropolitan Opera House, in the 80’s and early 90’s. Reviewers have long rhapsodized about the quality of her voice. One of opera’s premier lyric and coloratura sopranos, the Washington Post said of Battle “…without qualification, one of the very few most beautiful in the world”; from The New York Times “cream from a miraculous, bottomless pitcher”.
Singing “Summertime” from Porgy and Bess with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra
Her current tour is called Kathleen Battle – Underground Railroad: A Spiritual Journey While not an opera program, per se, Battle’s training and background come through. Presented recital style with only a single piano for accompaniment and backed by a 30 voice chorus including The Chicago Freedom Singers. The show also incorporates the Reverend Dr. Otis Moss III and Jackie Taylor as Narrators who educate the audience about the history of the Underground Railroad. There are quotes from Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman, who both used the Underground Railroad to escape to their own freedom and in the case of Tubman, she then helped many other slaves find freedom through the Underground Railroad.
Kathleen Battle’s stage presence was amazing and her voice as beautiful and pure as ever it was, considering she is now in her late 60’s, that’s impressive. She also showed great generosity in giving showcasing solos to several of the other singers. The repertoire contained such well known gems as “Swing Low Sweet Chariot”, “All Night, All Day” and “Glory, Glory, Hallelujah (Come Out the Wilderness)”. The presentation was interesting and uplifting, leaving one with the sense of not only having enjoyed an evening of beautiful and unique music, but of also having learned a great deal.
I for one, look forward to future concerts presented by Ms. Battle and having the opportunity to enjoy her beautiful voice once again.
Day two of the Iceland Airwaves Music Festival was hectic stumbling around windy Reykjavík looking for bands to cover.Walking down Smiðjustígur, I came across Bar 11, a cozy spot hosting a variety of off venue shows. The harsh buzz and static of an electric guitar hummed from outside the bar. Downstairs, Icelandic pop-punk band Fraebblarnir blared their dirty electric guitar rifts to a small audience who seemed like they were happy to be awakened from the warm and soft atmosphere of the dimly lit bar. A female vocalist, strung her guitar with power and strength while her band mates accompanied her with harsh vocals that bounced off the walls of the tiny downstairs venue.The drummer thrashed away at his set, adding intensity to their highly energetic songs. The set was good, but the glitch geared instrumentals of artist Bistro Boy, had the crowd moving upstairs.
Bistro Boy’s light and airy dance grooves were disorganized and filled with off beat machine drums. Each song had long introductions filled with bass and charm. The set was good, but not enough to keep some Airwavers around. Festival goers were looking for a more vibrant atmosphere to kick off their night.
Luckily, a beautiful surprise awaited eager festival goers down the street at a massive venue called Iðnó,which housed inside the Bedroom Community’s Puzzle Muteson. With the help of his acoustic guitar, Puzzle Muteson’s quiet and eerie vocals filled the room with warmth and nostalgia as he sang heartfelt stories about love sickness and humanity. His band mates added color and texture to his lyrics by featuring lonely and saddening strums from a female violinist. A pianist danced his keynotes around the soft-spoken artist’s vocals while a hallow and dark cello interjected throughout the set.
Puzzle Muteson’s vocals were astonishing, bouncing around from dreary low pitches to heart-wrenching, high-pitched cries. With every drink of water he sipped between sets, the songs became clearer in subject matter. It seemed as though everyone in the audience had their eyes closed, envisioning their own distinct emotions and feelings. The set could make a grown man cry.
Everyone needed a pick me up after Puzzle Muteson’s depressingly awesome set. Airwavers flooded the downstairs portion of Faktorý bar waiting in anticipation for a Techno duo dubbed Nuke Dukem. The crowd waited for about 10 minutes for the band to get their gear set up to rage, but when the wait was over, it was time to dance. Nuke Dukem’s bass and techno driven songs entranced the audience into a rave. The strobe lights coordinated to flailing bodies and beers tipped on top of my head from intoxicated audience members whose judgment was lost because of the highly intense music coming from the stage.
Unfortunately, some crowd members were disconnected from the set. A group of girls were screaming to the top of their lungs while Nuke Dukem did their thing on stage, completely drowning the music out with their shrilling voices. Luckily, the 30-year- old gentleman who worked it out at Thursday night’s show at Faktorý was there again showcasing another spastic set of dance moves to show his appreciation for Nuke Dukem’s talented performance on stage.