Posts Tagged ‘DJ Salah Ananse’

HOUSE IN THE PARK 11 06.09.15

September 8, 2015


“HONK.” As sedans, pickups and 4X4’s slow to a crawl on I-20 eastbound at the ramp of Boulevard, the traffic on the World Wide Web stalls. Thankfully, no vehicles or servers, for that matter, crash. Finally!-And no not the CeCe Peniston classic-House In The Park Sunday arrives!

At a park, named after a U.S. president, on Confederate Avenue, thousands of feet stampede the green space. The festivity is less conservancy, more 4G. Posts and photos clog social media newsfeeds. Thirty-second videos go viral. Hit after hit. Likes accumulate. Tweets chirp. Memes abound. A song list is even cataloged on a blog. HITP 11 trends.

“After all house music is the black person’s alternative.” Replies the voice-activated “AI” when asked, “Is HITP the real Afropunk?” Uploads of Afro’s, locs, beads, and faux hawks be natural or extensions, crown heads of dancing kings and dancing queens, and their dancing princes and dancing princesses. Selfies of Tees, tunics, cowls and body paint are fit for fashion spreads. Just #blackfashionmatters.    

Dress and tags are only smaller numerators in HITP’s larger algorithm. There are four constant variables that play the most important part when coding the event’s success.

The Four Fathers. Salah Ananse, DJ Kemit, Kai Alce, and founding father Ramon Rawsoul stand tall and proud. Acetate. Polycarbonate. Gigabyte: Are their mouthpieces. Their voices eschewed from shiny hardware, transmitted by stereo surround-sound. Each bringing their distinct flavor, Salah: boutique house, Kemit: disco, Ramon: ancestral and Kai: every sound in between, makes PPL <3 HITP. 

Sunrays kiss smiley faces. Red, green, gold, and black jewels sparkle against the stark bulb in the sky. iClouds fly across the azure. The temperature feels not too hot, not too humid, and never too cold but just the right amount of cool. A fit-watch pixels display 85 degrees.

The balmy temperature is a shock, but not the music. As one girl whips and nae naes to a remix of Justin Timberlake singing “Holy Grail.” Everyone agrees House in The Park is the “Holy Grail.”

The Holy Grail that started ten years ago as an intimate gathering of friends, has massed into more than one large family picnic, but a technological boom. Far more than food trucks, the aroma of grilled meats, vendors, pavilions and tent city, there is no denying HITP’s digital footprint that stomps the digital world. Perhaps, next year, the drone that flies overhead will be used to film a virtual-reality live stream. In real-time, to all businesses, corporations and advertisers, HITP is where the money is.

words: aj dance

visual: toasted ink

JOSH MILAN 24.11.12

November 25, 2012



It’s Black Saturday

at the Boutique House of Afrique Electrique!!!


The digital thermometer reads a brutal 28° Celsius on the coldest night of the season.  The semi-empty street breathes wanted warmth as a few brave diehards straggle into brick abodes.  Upon approach of the Boutique House, that is Space2, the soundtrack of “oonze, oonze, oonze” rattles the venue’s steel frame that pronounces it is party time.  After all, it is Black Saturday, a time to dance.  Sadly, not to be found is a line of dancers or a line of dancers standing down the street or even a line of dancers wrapped around the building.  Even indoors there is no overly aggressive mob that tramples afoot to bombard the dance space.  Instead, the room’s heat warms two cold hands as they hand over two Lincolns to pay the door admission.  A glance around the stripped space reveals a handful of beating heartbeats that pump to four-count thumps as a bartender stands bored waiting to serve a Blackfoot Confederate, or something, to guests as the DJ nods and plays music.

Off to a quiet start, it’s the four year anniversary of Afrique Electrique the vision of the city’s uber-producer, DJ, singer, and songwriter extraordinaire Salah Ananse.  The party that since conceived has hosted an eclectic clientele with esoteric music palettes.  Surely tonight has been a celebration in the making for years.  

Before the anniversary’s main event, DJ Salah Ananse serenades the growing crowd with exclusive door busters from the likes of Frank Ocean’s “Thinking About You” (Boddhi Satva Mix) one of the season’s must haves.  People mad rush and snatch up vocalist Erin Leah’s mutated jazzy neo-soul vibe onRadio Billie Stereo Ella.”  Superstar Black Coffee featuring Soulstar’s latest, “Rock My World”, and Francophile Arnaud D with Heidi Voquel’s ”Green & Yellow” come wrapped in bushwa treatment.  It’s all about the British production duo the Layabouts with American Portia Monique on vocal lead that has the crowd singing “Do Better.”  Even Baltimore’s young sensation LeRoyal presented by DJ Spen, offers “Do You Have It?” (Maurice Joshua Mix) as dancers gather from far and near to “Get It.”

Up next…wait one minute!  Is that the party’s exclusive goodie?!?  Yes!!! Dancers get ready because Black Saturday’s main event is set to commence! 

It’s the timeless Josh Milan, formerly of the music group Blaze, onstage.   Josh, with hair in twisties and a BLAZE tattoo that travels up his left arm, sports a red Honeycomb tee on top of blue denim, stands ready to make it rain with musical must haves on conspicuous ears.  The first gift up for grabs is the world renowned vocalist’s promoFrom Now On(DJ Spen & N’Dinga Gaba Mix) that sells out to the sound of ching-chings.

A quarter past midnight the room is abuzz with activity.  People stand around with Moscow Mules in hand, people plop against the wall to hold it up, beautiful women dance against the wall, one male dancer dances with incense in hand that masks the smell of tuna, and a dance circle crops mid-room as dancers in front of the makeshift DJ stage go hysteric.  Onstage local DJs smile and pose for snapshots.  An army of wide-eyes besieged by guiltless expressions try to enter the backdoor free of charge but are stopped short by the gatekeepers.  As the music gets better the crowd becomes livelier.  


TheWish singer delivers a house head’s musical wish list.  There is Germany’s Ralf Gum and Japan’s Namy on digital layaway.  But, Josh offers a two for the price of one guarantee that doubles the fun.  Double Monique Bingham, the jazzy vocalist with Poor PeopleandKissing Strangers(Feliciano Vocal Mix).  Double Kerri Chandler with two classics,RainandBar A Thym.”  Honor two of Atlanta, Georgia’s peaches, Avery Sunshine’sUgly Party Of Me(Terry Hunter’s Bang Mix) and Robin Latimore’sFirst To Say Goodbyewho by the way is in the house seated on a bench as she receives a shout out from Josh.  Even the party’s guest DJ that doubles as a phenomenal vocalist doubles himself.

The five hour event’s Blue Light Special jumps off when the Honeycomb Recording Label head drops his number one smashThinking About Your Body(Louie Vega Dance Ritual Mix) that causes pandemonium to percolate the room over like Tickle Me Elmo flying off store shelves or accusers lining up to get a piece of the puppeteer’s pie.  Pure Fiyah!  The crowd gobbles up goo gobs of Dennis Ferrer’s featuring the vocals of the late K.T. Brooks on How Do I Let Go?”  Actually, the dancers have no issues of letting go of a few extra pounds put on by gravy covered fowl, starched stuffing and ham hock collards two days prior.  Other must haves include Natalie Cole’s electrifying cover of Michael Frank’s “Tell Me All About It” (White Label Mix) that has people stampede onto the dance floor.  The Queen of Gospel ENRG, Dawn Tallman’sYou Are Why follows Kerri Chandler’s “Bar A Tyme” that proves to be a diamond in the rough as the vocals sound muffled underneath the wallop of the two tracks playing at the same time.  Nonetheless, it doesn’t stop those who are in the know for stopping for a moment to offer up heavenly praise.

Within the event’s final hour, through hazy eyes, the Boutique House appears disheveled, a bit like H&M after Versace merchandise sold out at the store.  A whiff of cannabis whirls from the right corner near the front of the DJ stage that may or may not provide a contact high.  The once mid-size crowd tapers off to a minute army of foot soldiers as hardcore dancers and fanatic fans remain; screaming, singing and doing their thing as Josh transitions from house music to afro-beat, psychedelic funk, 1980’s R&B-one “hand stand” dancer throws his arms up in the air in disgust to the adorable Stevie Wonder’s “Another Star” for interrupting his dance flow right before he storms out of the room- before ending in 1973 with “Dancing Machine” by the Jacksons.  At 3 am the music stops-or is it after 3 am?  Who cares?  And who’s sober enough to note?  It is time to bid adios.  “¡Uno Mas!” A handful of stragglers yell not wanting to leave.  So Salah Ananse throws out to the crowd one last, gracias, tune to the ire of the sound technician ready to jolt. 

Wait one moment, no Blaze?  The newly established solo artist seemed to trade in his Blaze catalog for his Honeycomb label efforts.  Also missing, Afro-house seemed pawned for the deep sounds of east coast house.  However, the three hour spirited DJ showcase, traversed by like a twenty minute shopping spree, kept the musical consumers coming back for more and wanting more.  Although, Josh did not grace the room with live vocals or a solo performance he won over some tough critics and proved that he possesses more than a pretty voice and that “From Now On” you will know that he is a minister of music with mad DJ skills.  Cheers to Afrique Electrique!             

All Photography by John Crooms


September 30, 2012


This Is A War Cry.

The warriors are prepared.  They have come ready to give out of sacrifice.  They come ready to give life-bearing fruit.  Too, the warriors are armed.  They are armed with their finances.  They are armed with their prayers.  They are armed with their God-given talents, skilled abilities and creative acumen.  They are armed with their dedication.  But most of all, they are armed with love.  They are equipped for battle.  But this battle is different.  This battle is not for the faint of heart, the ballerina types.  This battle is for the strong and courageous of heart, the dancers that drop beads of sweat that are gritty and free-style.

Sunset scorches the harvest sky a fiery salmon that streaks south before succumbing to the night’s outer darkness to the east.  A full moon hangs suspended in animated glory.  Its illumination provides a guiding light for the traveling troops.

The sleeping dust nesting beneath the warrior’s feet awakens and scurries into the nocturnal air at the incoming uproar.  The warrior’s feet march in sync into battle.  Their syncopated stomps are so harmonious it morphs into a life-giving heartbeat of drums thumping on rhythmic four counts.  The thumps grow louder and louder until a life-pulsating heartbeat sounds throughout the land. The healing heartbeat of restoration guides the warrior’s feet to dance.  When their feet dance, a seismic force of life-birthing tremors shakes the earth.  The dancers become a ramose of sporadic interpretations woven through the tapestry of mobile expressions.  Even rhythm-challenged white girls get down, dancing like injured robots in need of dance lessons, as experienced house dancers stomp holes into the ground, and gays J-set, drop to the ground-like it’s hot-and spring up again in a split second.  Every heart is in on the action.  Even the ministers of music deliver nothing short of sensational sermons; DJ 1derful of Sunday School lays down Reel People’s featuring Tony Momrelle, “Golden Lady”(Louie Vega Roots Mix), DJ Lynee Denise of Chitlin’ Circuit guides the dancers to an oasis of afro and deep house paradise, DJ Stanzeff of Tambor fame leads the parishioners to “The Bright Forest,”  Ramon Rawsoul, Founding Father of The Gathering, takes the people all around the world, DJ Salah Ananse of Sunday School has the dancers “Body Drummin’” as DJ Yusef of Free Ur Soul serves a heartfelt reminder that “Life Starts Today.”  Every heart dances as if to call down rain from the sky.  It’s a time of celebration.  It’s a time of life.  It’s a time of healing.  For this is Mujasi’s healing.

Who is this Mujasi that commands the hearts of the known and the unknown to give unconditionally through finances, prayer and dance?  Who is this Mujasi that causes six ministers of music, from various deep and soulful house music soirees around the city, to set aside their petty differences, uphold their common mantle, deep house music, and come together to support a benevolent cause?


It takes a community….It takes a village.

His name translates courageous warrior.  He is but only four years of age and yet a young man of many years.  Mujasi, the lad with a heart of steel and a heart of gold, was recently diagnosed with LCH-Unifocal (Langerhans cell histiocytosis, unifocal) a rare auto-immune disease that effects eight out of one million children.  The much-needed treatments for this rare disease are aggressive and expensive.  The treatments are so astronomically expensive that health care only covers a minute fraction of the costs.  Enter the city’s house music community and the city’s music community at large to assist with financial support and generous efforts.

Mujais’s prayer sings in the air, “There is no affliction in me.”  Although, not physically present on the battlefield his spirit dances with his mother’s heart that serves a faithful reminder when five years earlier, Mom danced with Son in womb at various house music functions across the city.

Mujasi’s mother, Theresa McGhee leads the warriors to battle.  Mother Theresa, the host of the Sunday evening gathering titled Sunday Dinner, fights for nothing less than the best.  Mother Theresa is not for show, but possesses a treasured heart of humility.  She diligently works hard “in the game” to support her son and to keep him happy.  She gives her all.  Her dance of triumph emanates from her heart.  She gracefully dances onto the battle field.  She adorns the battlegrounds.  Two dimples, worth a million dollars, dot about to and fro.  Her smile is awe-inspiring.  Although petite in frame, her spirit structures the battlefield’s strategic movements.  Every eye gazes stunned.  Her life-giving joy touches every soul she encounters.  A close stare in those bright as the moon, two-doe eyes aglow in hazel, reveals no hint of sorrow as her vibrant visage, besieged with two cheekbones that are perched as high as mountaintops, reveals no trace of doom or gloom.

She rallies the troops with a valiant heart-felt proclamation.  She is animated.  She is emotional.  She talks in cant, a sing-song pattern that practically eludes a poetess historic of spoken word.  She sways onstage and she bends over at the outpouring of generosity and support and most of all love from her brothers and sisters.  She tells of the many telephone calls that she has received, even from former-school peers that she no longer recalls.  She cries.  The troops cry.  She speaks of not only her son’s healing but the healing of the warriors through their giving.  The troops respond with valiant shouts of agreement that materialize in the warm air.

Back on the battlefield, the dancers know something.  Yes, they carry a secret.  Lend them your ear.  The secret whispers, “Already the battle is won.  Mother and Son have the victory.”  So, the warriors dance in victory.  Death will not show its face tonight, the next night or any other night thereafter.  Not even, a hint of death’s venom in slave- induced sickness will be felt.  Even the universe bares witness with a miraculous message of majestic proportions.

Look up in the night’s sky.  Yes, up in the air.  See, the harvest moon illuminated in its entire splendor.  There is something different about this moon.  The lunar creation shimmers with a blue magnetic ring that shivers around its spherical form.  The moon speaks.  It speaks truth.  Hear the words, “This is not the courageous warrior’s end but the courageous warrior’s beginning.  We celebrate you, Mujasi.”

To donate and for more information:

Healing Mujasi by Theresa McGee

Words & photography by AJ Dance/Except flyer


September 3, 2012

Photography by AJ Dance


August 31, 2012



You are an international house music dancer stationed off the Persian Gulf coast on a T-shaped island in the capital city of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. You’re all set and ready to leave. Passport: Check. Electronic Ticket: Check. Luggage: Check. Dance sneakers: Check. You whisk through the security check- point gate in Terminal 3 at the Abu Dhabi International Airport. The Jetway is the new international catwalk where you waste no time flaunting your signature swagger as you board Flight 75 on EDM Airlines: the premier airline for electronic dance music enthusiasts. You smile. You count the seconds before your fifteen hours and forty-seven minutes direct flight overseas is set to commence. Your destination point is Atlanta, Georgia, United States of America.

This is your first visit to the newly crowned jewel capital of deep & soulful house music in the southern region of America. Also, this marks your first visit to the 1st Annual ATLANTA WEEKENDer. From all over the world, die-hard house heads are embarking on a spiritual pilgrimage of all things deep and soulful for a four day journey starting with Afrique Electrique, Distinctive and ending at the Mecca, House In The Park. So sit back and enjoy your ride because this promises to be one extraordinary journey.

Finally, you arrive at your destination a bit exhausted and slightly jetlagged. Upon arrival at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport at the International Wing you’re whisked off in a cab to your Studio Suite at the W Hotel (Downtown) for a comforting disco nap. There is so little time to sleep as you have much to see, do and hear before the night’s first spectacular that starts promptly at 8 pm.

By taxi you reach the destination of historic Edgewood Avenue intersecting residential Boulevard. The district bustles with a variety of cosmopolitan sights, sounds, and smells. A male bike rider bikes wearing only Speedos, police sirens angrily whirl at passing cars as the smell of greasy fried foods tickle nose hairs.  You arrive at Space2’s door at exactly 8:30 pm. You reach for and pull on the golden door handle. It won’t budge. After a few more attempts at opening the door, you realize the establishment isn’t open to the public. You peek inside the storefront windows to find the lights are on. The lifeless room waits in complete silence. Several giant-size speakers and subwoofers sit patiently on the floor, waiting to be assembled, in hopes to perform their duty. How odd, the invite stated an 8 pm starting time. From your left pants pocket a smartphone is produced and checked only to find the event’s starting time has changed to 9 pm EST. You check the restaurant next door to find hipsters nibbling on grilled frog legs with carrot celery salad and sipping White Tigers. There’s no sign of music playing anywhere. So, it’s off to the pizza joint across the avenue.

After devouring a king slice of “Americanized” pepperoni pizza, you see the door open to Space2 and the lights turn off. The deep drops of heavy bass thumps are heard across the street over sporadic conversations and explicit rap lyrics bumping in the eatery’s background. Off you run to the space where you are the first guest at the party. At the front door that you tried to enter into earlier, you are greeted by and meet the masterminds behind the Atlanta Weekender, visionary Salah Ananse and his no nonsense wife Nina Ananse. You receive your ATLANTA WEEKENDer wrist band. The challenge is you must wear the green and blue metallic color ID all weekend to every event for admittance.

Scanning the room, Space2 has an intimate rugged appeal with one bar perched alongside the room’s left brick wall where you order a Square One Orange Rye. The room is dark. No disco ball or flashing lights dance across the floor. There are no special decorations that offer theatrics besides the ATLANTA WEEKENDer poster hanging behind the DJ set-up on a platform stage where Miranda Nicole and Stephanie Cooke will later perform. In the music box, the only sign of life emanates from the voice of Sunshine Anderson proudly singing, Force Of Nature (Blaze Roots Mix) that blasts from four speakers positioned around the place.

The venue slowly takes its first breath and comes to life. A few human heartbeats swagger into the room. The women wear summer dresses dyed with vibrant colors as men dress lazily in jeans and white button down shirts. They come ready to dance. As the people fill the room, you shake sturdy hands as salutations commence. Surprised visages lead to jovial conversations of your ostentatious pilgrimage.

“Ouch,” did you hear that? DJ Plus1’s mixing is a bit rough. Anyways, the music picks up pace as DJ Roland Clark the international in-demand vocalist/producer slams the beats on the still empty room. The beats are a bit too hard and the BPM’s a bit to fast for starting off the party. So a dancer suggests that you check out the restaurant next door where one of the most impressive house music parties is set to jump off.

Words & Photography by AJ Dance