Midwest BSFA Member Napoleon Maddox Runs Down His Top Afrofuturistic Tracks

napoleonlightflarewebAfter years of touring and discovering music from all parts of the world, Napoleon Maddox came home with a longing for cultivation and fearless celebration of what musicians here have to offer the world. “It’s important that the connection be understood, stated and restated. This music came from the beak of Paul Lawrence Dunbar and Maya Angelou’s “caged bird,” he says. “When artists around the world create or perform jazz, country, funk, rock, hip-hop or trap, they are echoing some Blues that the ‘caged bird sang.’” The musical offerings he’s heard on stages in Finland, England, France and other places, drove him to create the Underworld Jazz Festival, which takes place May 23-27 at venues around Cincinnati, and include two performances of his experimental music mashup, The Deconstruction Period. In honor of this event, we asked Napo to give us his top Afrofuturistic tracks. 

“AH YEAH” – KRS ONE
This track epitomizes the expression energy never dies, KRS takes us on a journey, explaining how he embodies freedom fighters and revolutionaries across time and the African diaspora.

“HELLO AFRICA” – BLITZ THE AMBASSADOR
This track just BANGS! Blitz unites the continent and anywhere Africans may live on the globe. We hear and feel when we listen to this track that the Afro-Future is the Afro-Present that the Great Marcus Garvey called for.

“THEME FOR THE EULIPIONS” – RAHSAAN ROLAND KIRK
This cat was really not average on any scale, he vibrated on creative frequencies that were beautifully Black and angelic. He shared that energy via recordings but even more so on stage with performances beyond far theatrics, cause he meant every word said and note played. THEME FOR THE EULIPIONS is a beautiful battle cry, uniting all creatives before the term existed.

“BLING BLING” – GREGORY PORTER
Some may wonder how I could see this song through an AfroFuturist lens. For me it’s clear. Porter is speaking of the jewelry of his Spirit, the wealth of his essence that is dis-guarded by those who are looking for fluff. This is a timeless story. Within this story (song) hides the secret of Black song, art and storytelling. We shine and survive with the wealth of our souls and pass it down to next generation. They ingest and adapt it for their journey and the story continues.

“COMPLEX” – SORG & NAPOLEON MADDOX 
If for no other reason, just for the hook:
“Complex, primitive
Sophisticated, rudiment
Technologic, basic
Evident, cryptic

Check yo ego
We was here when you were sent
To discover what has always been“

ALL AFRICA – MAX ROACH
All those decades ago he made such an incredible statement with the record We Insist! It was ancient and contemporary performance art with a pulse that still vibrates.

Thanks, Napoleon!
If you’re interested in attending the Underworld Jazz Festival, see the details below:
May 23
Venue: Switch Lighting on 4th str.
6 – 10 pm

Salon hosted by Adam Hayden
(aka MC Till of Everybody’s HHCC)
Includes mini-film festival, album discussion  and performance by Eddy Kwon, Stephen Patota & Napoleon Maddox

May 24
Venue: Härth Lounge
8 pm – midnight
Claire Daly acoustic set w/ Napoleon Maddox & LivLongEnough

May 25
Venue: MOTR Pub
8 pm – 1 am
Nasty Nati Brass Band
Jennifer Simone
Claire Daly + Motown 4tet
Deconstruction Period

May 26
Venue: MOTR Pub
8 pm – 1 am
ISWHAT?! w/ Claire Daly
PoC
BioniC
Deconstruction Period
Danbient

May 27
Venue: Dojo Gelato / Northside
5 – 7 pm
Nasty Nati Brass Band

Festival sponsored by DoJo Gelato  & Switch Lighting

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