Posts Tagged ‘DJ Stanzeff’
Load. Lock. Click. Boom. I’ve been shot by a South African DJ.
Coffee is a feel-good addictive substance. The early legend of Kaldi states, when the Ethiopian goatherd saw his goats eat coffee berries from a certain tree, the goats grew so spirited they were unable to sleep at night. Soon after, during the 15th century-coffee seeds, yes seeds not beans-traveled from the region of southern Arabia, North Africa, Middle East, Europe and then to the Americas. Along the journey coffee developed distinct flavors in certain regions of the world by the importers of the seed.
House music is a feel-good addictive anomaly. When discovered in America during the late 20th century by overseas music enthusiasts, house music’s sound was handpicked, cupped, roasted, ground, brewed, and filtered into a regional dialect they could call their own. Over time, the world would morph and shuffle the 4-to-the-floor sound to align with their regional tastes.
South Africa’s house music and Durham born Nkosimathi Maphumulo are the above examples. As South Africa’s popularity of deep/soulful house music has eclipsed its popularity stateside or perhaps worldwide at any particular time during house music’s lifespan; artist Nkosimathi music’s styling is deep, mildly bitter yet extremely rich with robust flavors. South Africa house music and Nkosimathi are addicting forces. Each possesses curious fascinations; where Nkosimathi claims soulful house music, the music that mainstream Black America refuses to acknowledge, as his own and the voice of his beloved South Africa; South Africa house music has become a disputable bond to all things Africa-some kind of noir roots that binds lost heritage of self-identity discovery through black music. The attraction lies somewhere between the two. Bottom line: The Diaspora of Africa soul has returned full circle to its indigenous people.
There is a line outdoors. An actual line! Native South Africans mingle with out-of-towners who mingle with local family, all are giddy with anticipation. Sixty degree temperatures marks spring’s arrival. Spring feels great. Spring laughs. Spring blows a mild breeze. How refreshing. In the line, various shades of brown agree.
When “Take Me To My Love,” another Ralf Gum hit featuring Monique Bingham on vocals greets guests, the event is sure to be rewarding. Tambor’s resident, DJ BE serves up the unreleased afro remix followed by an extreme outpouring of soul fro house that seems generous enough, if not superfluous.
The venue’s main and largest room is shell-shocked with activity. Afro house plays the soundtrack to a March Madness game playing on two monitors in the back of the room. Serious dancers occupy speakers. Several familiar faces, not seen in ages, occupy tables. Drinks and small plates are ordered. Staff scurries about the room waiting on tables and clearing empty glasses. Upstairs a private party packs the VIP area. Activity aside, this party is destined to put the capital T back into Tambor.
DJ Ed Dunn
Surprise!!! New York City’s famed producer/remixer/DJ Ed Dunn appears onstage wearing a black baseball cap and facial frown. Is playing at Tambor that bad?
At Tambor, South Africa is not the only movement rising but too the dance floor. B boys showoff tightly executed choreography of syncopated steps and triple spins. While B girls pop and lock in robotic staccato. The dance circle spells s-e-r-i-o-u-s.
Mouths drop. Digital recorders rise. Look onstage. All hail South Africa’s flag. Its diplomat arrives. Nkosinathi Maphumulo. AKA Black Coffee.
DJ Black Coffee opens with a compelling narrative of R’n’B. The sound most fit for urban radio than club ready. This is the material that stateside adult urban-contemporary radio should play intermingled next to R’n’B’s royalty. Romantic vocals conquer bleeding hearts. Slow-motion beats per minute. Global melodies of global dance. Detailed song writing-a craft amiss in most American house music- enough to warrant prestigious academy awards. An afro world filled with rapturous lyrics, percolating percussions that ooze soul in all matters. Perhaps the sound is difficult to digest for aged house purists. While newbies to the scene, short swallow the sing-alongs.
“Take Me To My Love” sings a jazzy a capella vocal until a soft percussion strikes. The commencement of beats begins. The Raw Artistic Soul Vocal Dub of the Ralf Gum track sets the mood for what is to come. Sampled drum loops, minimal instruments, dazzling dancing keys, warm strings and sporadic handclaps play in the atmosphere. Black Coffee wastes no time. He pounds the drums and drops the music with skilled precision. Monique Bingham’s vocals spin “On and on and on and on and on and on and on and on,” across the room, until she commands, “I want you to lead me.” This is what the crowd anticipates Black Coffee to do. But the cautious spectators ask, “Where to?”
“MOVE.” Black Coffee commands the audience on his latest import. Once again, where to? Moving or dancing proves difficult. Bodies are packed tight like addicts in line awaiting a caffeine fix. Apropos, Tambor has not seen these numbers of bodies in years. Regardless, Black Coffee featuring Soulstar is out to “Rock My World.” Sadly the song rocks nothing.
“Her Majesty/The Queen Is In The Booth/Come To The Dance Floor.” Poetress Busiswa Gqulu’s command actually works. Additional mini-shorts and stiletto spikes arrive to dance on the already packed floor. Voices scream. Arms fly in the air. A dub of South African’s premier female disc jockey, DJ Zhile’s “My Name Is” brings the house down.
The Art of Mixing
Black Coffee is dark roasted. He gives the people a taste of his original home brew. The flavor not found on street corners at specialty baristas or copy-cat retail chains. His brew goes deep. Dark. Robust. There are no floor fillers. No sugar. No cream. Black Coffee gives it raw.
The super DJ puts a fresh brew on his past; Zakes Bantwini a cappella conjures “JuJu,” Thiwe’s haunting ache sounds on “Crazy” and Bucie says, “Turn Me On.” Dark clouds give way to light. Dispair turns to hope. DJ Kent arrives. Just as vocalist Malehloka Hlalele sings the hook on, “Falling,” the music drops into a sleek sexy R’n’B slow burner that floors every mouth in the entire room. DJ Black Coffee leaves the radio sound behind for the art of mixing. Look out!
Black Coffee is on fire. And so is the room. The room’s heat index breaks scorching records. Feeling uncomfortable? Honestly. This is to be expected when two-hundred plus hot mochas are dancing and sweating.
DJ Kent turns DJ Superman. As the Princess of House, Bucie loudly proclaims “Superman.” The crowd approves with vocal praise.
Out of nowhere like a speeding bullet. Black Coffee surprises with Louie Vega & Jay “Sinister” Sealee’s golden, “Diamond Life,” starring Julie McKnight on vocal lead. The crowd sings. They can’t control themselves, neither can Black Coffee. Rhythm and blues a cappellas dialogue for one hook and one verse over sonic booms of tribal tech dialect. The mixing is just the way the audience prefers their coffee. Black. Hot. Strong. No froth. In the midst of the action Black Coffee uses his index finger to stop the music and strike a round button aglow on the disc player. He moves his index finger right to the mixer and then to his laptop where he drops EFX. The music starts again. The people dance. The music stops. Black Coffee nods his head to the tune of the sounding EFX. The music starts again. The people go mad. The music stops again. Black coffee nods his head to a lock and load gunshot EFX. Black Coffee, through the music, fires a gunshot at the audience. The music starts again. People fall over each other. Digital cameras and mobile devices record the entertainment. Mouths of DJs in the room are awestruck at the spectacle. All of Black Coffee’s mixing is executed with one arm and one hand. He can’t be contained. As if Coffee’s mixing brilliance could not enter the stratosphere of mixing genius, it does. Theatric horns sound. The tune the entire world recognizes sounds. People catch their breaths. Jack Son’s “Thrill Her” falls upon the crowd. South Africa’s Black Motion treatment releases the most excited fanaticism of the party. If weave and wigs fall off this would be the time. The room goes ape shit. Pandemonium is unleashed.
If a DJ playing the same song (different remix) twice in the night is not your cup of coffee. Too bad. Black Coffee delivers another fresh cup of DJ Zhile’s, “My Name Is,” this version contains Busiswa Gqulu’s vocals in full, spoken in both English and indigenous tongue Xhosa, also extracted from the SA collection of the song’s many recently released remixes. The song of the party goes to Ralf Gum’s “Take Me To My Love” that plays for the third time. An unreleased remix keeps the song fresh, piping hot and enjoyable. Throwing dance hall in the mix, Masters At Work featuring Puppah Nas-T’s “Work” gyrates hips as vocalist Denise commands the crowd to, “Go Down” which they do. The room’s temperature increases a notch. Someone might have to call the fire department to put the coffee pot out. Actually things cool off a bit with a remix to the late Whitney Houston’s “How Will I Know.” Uh oh. DJ Stan Zeff walks onstage. This signals the brew is about to exchange hands. However, Black Coffee is not ready to exit without another scorcher. This time MJ’s “Billie Jean” (Rocco Deep Mix) is on tap. The crowd goes crazy. They are too distracted to note…“Tambor. Give it up for the man Black Coffee.”
To ease everyone off their caffeine high, DJ Stan Zeff plays Black Coffee’s “We Are One” featuring South African trumpet great Hugh Masekela. The time reads 2 am. Family faces stream through the door arriving from an earlier concert. Stan Zeff is primed to serve them some brew. Tambor Music’s debut release “Set Me Free” (Stan Zeff Vocal Mix) by Mr. Funk Daddy featuring DJ Sue sweetens the crowd. Black Coffee’s music partner Culoe De Song shows off his remix to South African band, Goldfish with “Call Me.” At one point, a seafood chain’s LobsterFest commercial, playing on the room’s back monitors, proves more entertaining. Alas, DJ Stan Zeff being the professional he is places the focus back on the music with Kee Lo’s “Sad Soul.” The Baffa Jones’ Vocal Destruction Dub destroys the dance floor with sliced vocals bouncing against chopping chords over minimalist drums. The mighty O’Jays play closer with “Darlin’ Darlin’ Baby (Sweet, Tender, Love)” a 4-to-the floor number that rides into the moonlight.
DJ Black Coffee proved why he is addictive. In his native South Africa the beloved DJ/producer/songwriter packs out futbol stadiums. The same ethos is what Black Coffee brought to Tambor with numbers far less than thousands. The ability to supersede great expectations of hype and glory of DJ extraordinaire showed uncanny. These are the ingredients of a true DJ. No froth. All substance. Much like the Kaldi Legend, when you taste the potent brew of Black Coffee there is no sleeping tonight.
Words and Photography by AJ Dance
A sports fanatic dream is when salty snacks, fiery hot wings and cold brews-that makes guts proudly flop over waistlines-are cast in pretentious hierarchical displays in every supermarket grocery store. These are the flatulence, oops, festivities leading up to the big game. The super of all bowls. The daddy of all daddies. The well…one gets the ruckus that captures the world’s short attention span and limited IQ every February. Hey look. Even, Tambor joins in on the action.
Tambor’s 2013 season is set to kick-off with a big bang of athletic proportions. The stage is set. Ready. Go. The playing field’s turf is polished smooth. Ready for the throngs of dancing feet to run, tackle and crush rhythmic grooves. The LED Pro performs laser light theatrics worthy of a celebrity wardrobe-malfunction half-time exposure. The sub woofers so bombastic could host a bowl game.
It’s game time. The players are onstage. The starting lineup….
DJ BE #2 Center
DJ BE wins the coin toss. He plays first. Jersey number two kicks off the music into the playing field. No one catches it. So the center drives the music hard up fifty yards on first down. Tambor secures home field advantage. The hype builds. Only the stadium is completely empty. Hush. The silence is deafening.
Tambor’s season opener is off to a slow start-a very slow start. The first and second downs appear as stop and go, slow-motion resolutions. Slowly souls trickle into the stadium. It’s early in the game. There is no need to sweat bullets-yet. Back to the action.
The offensive lineman works hard. He travels four yards deep to the twenty-five yard line. First down-and-ten. He assumes eye formation. Thirty….Thirty-five….Forty. It’s fifteen yards on the first down. The number two jersey works Arnaud D featuring Heidi Vogel’s “Green & Yellow” into the mix. There are eight dancers in the box. Will he gain more? He turns sharp and makes a rough transition. He drives the music into harder territory, increasing the beats per minute with pulsating thumps, but is tackled at thirty yards. Man, this crowd is tough.
[And now a word from our sponsor. The first quarter was bought to you by Bozak.]
Tambor’s season ticket holders arrive. Some dance. Others stand on the sidelines. Some sway from side to side. Others converse.
On field, team Tambor appears disjointed. The players opt to wear various primary hue Tambor tees instead of sporting their unified manly blue Tambor jerseys. Talk about confusing.
Pre-midnight, DJ BE leaves the game and is replaced by…
Jose Marquez Guest Headliner Halfback
Jose Marques arrives in the stadium with playbook in hand (CD holders) and is pumped to score touchdowns. The halfback’s adrenaline pulsates at full-throttle. A bead of sweat sacks his forehead. He is all testosterone. The runner segues into a boisterous consumption of deepness. Followed by, African drums bum rushing from the sound system and onto the playing field to work a snap. The drums transform the game. Jose runs a punt. The music goes deeper and deeper into the trenches of the field.
Yes! Team Tambor hosts the debut performance of southern California’s, Jose Marquez. The rookie sensation is no stranger to athletic competitions, having three solid years of playing experience, he has performed around the globe at notable events as Djoon (Paris) and Miami (WMC). The headliner sports a black Kazukuta Recordings tee and blue denim that stands out amongst his teammates. All eyes and ears are tuned to the player, determining his next move. What will he play? Where shall he take the music? Will he score?
First Down. Second and ten. Jose gives eye formation. He runs the music to the seventeen yard line. The music fumbles. Jose continues to play hard. Afro house treads into progressive deep house. It’s another fumble. Fumble after fumble fails to win over the crowd. But Jose uses no time-outs. The crowd responds defensively. It’s the first-and-ten. The music goes out of bounds. It falls on deaf ears. Feet stop dancing. The dancers cut the field. Somehow they seem let down. Conventional wisdom tells the sports minded when the fans disappear trouble is a strategizing. The referee calls…
“INTERCEPTION.” (The music turns over.)
DJ Stanzeff #1 Quarterback
Wait one minute. Sounds like a bootleg, but it’s not. It’s Elements of Life featuring Josh Milan’s “Children of The World!” There is play action at 124 beats per minute in F minor. Eye formation looks to the left and then right. The QB, DJ Stanzeff, knows the game is in trouble. So the team leader brings pressure up the middle. There is tight coverage on every side. It’s a twenty-nine yard punt. Wait another minute! What a hit! DJ Stanzeff breaks free at the forty yard line. Jersey number one is in the zone!!! “That guy just dropped a load of bass.” Zone coverage is deep with beats. This is a COMEBACK! The game is saved. Nice job on execution.
The dance floor sees the most action of the night thus far. The dancers are back in the game. They frolic at full force.
Team Tambor runs the play. Yes, Tambor “goes for it.” DJ Stanzeff steps up on the line of scrimmage and makes the play! The dancers scream. It’s a first down. Twenty…Twenty-five…Thirty…Thirty-five…Forty!!! The music sweeps up the south side. First down-and-ten. Play action. Snap. Spot. It’s a throw. DJ Stanzeff catches it! TOUCHDOWN!!! Kem featuring Chrisette Michelle’s “If Its Love” (Frankie Estavez Fusion Club Thumpin Remix) nails the coffin shut!!! The referee confirms. The dancers go mad displaying acrobatic stunts. There are handstands in crop circles, speaker whores kicking a foot to the speaker, and bodies rolling around on the floor in sweeping motions. This is the game’s money shot.
Stanzeff continues with another bootleg this time from Jill Scott. There’s a yard to the twenty-one. Could this be red zone play? Stanzeff is given a thirty yard try. Unfortunately, there is no score. The quarterback continues the momentum moving into afro beat territory. The beats per minute increase to 126 with The Muthafunkaz,“Oh I (Miss You)” the Atjazz Love Soul Mix that runs out of steam at the thirty yard line. The D major song couldn’t quite make it to the red zone.
[And now a word from our sponsor: Fusicology.]
It’s the fourth down. What will Team Tambor do next? They have two options. Team lead Stanzeff makes a split decision. Jose Marquez is back in the game on the line of scrimmage. Jose comes back strong-perhaps with a bit of vengeance. Jose kicks a field goal playing Floetry’s “I Want You” (Osunlade Remix). For the first time, the crowd responds with vocal praise.
Two downs later the music is turned back over to Stanzeff who resumes play mode with Japanese producer Namy’s “From Now On” with Josh Milan on vocals. The crowd plays ballet and keeps two feet on the field. Then there is the repeat play of Arnaud D featuring Heidi Vogel “Green & Yellow.” The vibe ebbs. The remainder of the game is quiet, if uneventful.
What a tough game for team Tambor and guest. Jose Marquez seemed unable to make the cut. The southern Californian failed to make one touchdown to win over the crowd. Game stats reveal Jose received little playtime. Perhaps, had the halfback secured additional play time, he might have won over tough critics. Here is to hoping, next time, team Tambor fans will show up in droves, won’t railbird, but join in the festivities with unbridled fanaticism.
Back in the rear corner of the arena, the air feels lonely. In the funk of left-over hazy oxidations, a shadow is made out of the blue. There stands the game’s would be hero texting. Hopefully the message is of better news.
Words and photography by AJ Dance
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.”
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Words & photography by AJ Dance/Except flyer
DJ BE mini-view
Interview by AJ Dance
This Atlanta DJ needs no introduction. If you are familiar with Atlanta’s deep & soulful house music scene, then you’ve seen DJ BE about at various functions or have heard DJ BE play around town. DJ BE has been a staple on the house music scene for many years and has played in about every restaurant, lounge and night club in the city. His dedication and tireless work in the house music scene not only comes off the strength of DJing, but also in the form of promoting parties, helping his DJ peers establish their name, crafting a weekly Internet radio show to creating Diversified Sounds podcasts. As the Tambor party reaches a milestone three year anniversary, DJ BE weighs in on important aspects and gives a little history into how this global phenomenon started.
AJ: What are your feelings on Tambor turning three years old?
BE: I’m really excited! In the beginning, you think you’re only going to last for three months. Tambor has not only survived more than three months but has endured various venue changes and DJ cancellations. So this is exciting.
AJ: Tell the fans how DJ BE became involved with the Tambor party?
BE: Actually, DJ Stanzeff and I met through a mutual DJ friend. At that time, I was working parties and barely keeping my head above water and DJ Stanzeff was in the same boat. So, our mutual DJ friend suggested that we get together and throw parties. Stanzeff and I met three times before anything happened. The first meeting dealt with us having the same goals, ideas and vision. Then we met again and nothing happened. Finally, on the third meeting, we thought, let’s do this. Then we had to think of a party name and the music direction. Stanzeff had thrown a couple of parties called “Tambor” many years ago and so we went with that name. At that time, I was getting into the afro/Caribbean sound and so we went in that musical direction. Robbie Randall became a part of the group later through an affiliation with an entertainment group. Noni Walker handles all of the brand marketing, social-network media, blog and website. She came on board during Tambor’s second year.
AJ: What are your personal plans for Tambor’s future?
BE: I have no personal plans per se. I view this as a collective effort. On the other hand, I would like to see the parties move towards nights with Stan and I playing more. Also, I would love to see more Tambor Members parties in an intimate setting throughout the year. Overall, I’m looking forward to the next three years.
If you are in the Atlanta area Friday night, be sure to check out the Tambor Party Meet N Greet at the Drinkshop at the W Hotel downtown, August 17 from 9pm-2pm.
DJEFF AFROZILA PART II
The Afrozila Attacks
As a human morphs into a wolf by the full moon’s light, the affable Djeff has the supernatural ability to transform into the monstrous Afrozila when in DJ mode. The ectopic anomaly occurred somewhere during DJ Roland Clark’s spoken word opus, “I Get Deep” preaching over the percolating Afro rhythms of Black Motion’s featuring Jah Rich finely crafted, “Banane Mavoko” (Dub Mix). The once graceful young man now turned the monstrous Afrozila spewed an infectious assault of bursting flames that spread like a wildfire on the loose throughout the room. For two hours and fifteen minutes the Afrozila weaved in and out of songs; Djeff Afrozila’s presents Gari Sinedina, “Piluka”and Shana’s, “Out” played a cappellas; Rhianna’s, “We Found Love”, Ultra Nate’s, “Free” and Liquideep’s, “Alone” that sang over Afro beats while mixing two entirely different songs at once; Manoo’s, “Kodjo” and Thommy Davis’ & Ron Hall’s, “Fugue In Boston” which can prove a dizzying feat for any bystander but the Afrozila pulled it off without a hint of challenge. Don’t close your eyes to sleep while this monstrosity spins because he is known to entertain the dancing eyes of spectators while mixing. The beast can work a Bozak with finesse precision and execute technical mixing skills beyond his years. Plus, the boy knows his music. Often times, the destructive force sang every word to the songs he played in their indigenous African tongue or maybe in his native Portuguese tongue. During the beginnings of the magnetic set the music sounded muffled or was played well-below volume. On the prowl, the Afrozila took note and adjusted the volume controls and turned knobs that sent Shana’s, “Out” with a clear and forceful bang. A Tambor party/Tribe Records classic, Sister Pearl’s, “Bang The Drum” (Manoo Remix) whipped the dancers into a sweat. Thank God for the working overhead ceiling fans. Unfortunately, the sinister Peven Everett with “Burning Hot” (Timmy Regisford & Adam Rios Mix) was leaked into the mix. On a side note, please house music DJs/producers/remixers throw this artist and his music into the retirement bins, his diabolical ego and cunning tactics precedes his work. Thankfully, Afrozila beat Peven’s vocals into a dizzying swirl and at the song’s climatic peak he abruptly killed the song to make way for the soft finger snaps and mellow vibes courtesy of Atjazz’s Love Soul Mix of “Oh I (Miss You)” by The Muthafunkaz featuring vocalists Sheila Ford and Marc Evans.” Soul-stunner Kem’s, “Heaven” (Marlon D & Groove Assassin Mix) opened to cheers of approval but proved a Catch-22. The deep house anthem of classic material is a beast in and of itself. It resides on the many of deep house DJ’s list “of must play songs” and is the type of song that any DJ can play to guarantee some type of audience response. Naturally, it’s a song to play if you want to wake a crowd from its slumber. On one hand, it’s great to hear the orchestrated rhythms sync to a heavenly climax, but on the other hand, the piece has been played so many times that people tend to become bored with it in mid second verse. Wait one second. Was that Robin S’, “Show Me Love” a cappella vocals committing a quick drive-by?!? Yes it was! The surprise of the party sent the crowd stir-crazy jumping up and down, and screaming, “Oh, no he didn’t!”
As Godzilla trampled Tokyo, Afrozila attacked Atlanta. Afrozila breathed upon the city a fiery rage of musical arsenal of a destructive force. For one hundred and thirty-five minutes, the attacked left no mindset intact or psyche untouched from the monstrous demolition. The beast went on a jolting rampage seeking to destroy all musical conformity. Afrozila’s mission was to annihilate the very fabric of self-destructing inveterate of music ideals, music prejudices and enslaving musical mindsets. Brick and mortar ethos were scorched and evaporated into thin air. Towering walls of musical fragmentations crumpled, fell and crashed to the ground. Steel statutes of music images were reduced to writhed framework. The mind could no longer hold on to anemic musicality but was free to love all music that promotes diversity, encourages change and provides substance. In the midst of the action, Tambor’s denizens freely danced in the rubble-filled streets. They danced, around and atop the rubble of once oppressive musical prejudices and preconceived notions of predictable music genres, glib music stereotypes and frothy music tastes. The city’s horizontal skyline of dancing music notes had been burned into magnetic proportions of ash, dust, and smoke. The Afrozila left behind a chaotic but beautiful mess that beckoned the city to musical change. It was this archetype that could start the ambitious makings of a new musical revolution for the hungry and thirsty of paradigms.
Onstage, a hesitant looking Stanzeff, with microphone in hand, seemed preoccupied with thoughts of how he was going to clean up the rubble after Afrozila’s devastating assault. Handling the adversity like a true professional, DJ Stanzeff assumed mass clean-up duties by playing hits like Quentin Harris’, “My Joy” and Regina Belle’s, “Baby Come To Me” (Shelter Mix) that swept up the debris into neat contained piles. The latter had people in clean-up mode doing handstands, dropping to the floor and collecting debris while rolling around on the floor. Even Djeff back in human form-changed shirts, and wore a grey Tribe Recordings tee-got in on the action. He made the rounds and posed for several photographs-avec hand gestures-and danced in his alter ego’s destructive calamity. The party ended with happy hearts dancing in joy. Sometimes, you just don’t care to clean up such beautiful shambles.
All photography by AJ Dance/Except Photo 11 by Ghostcam
Already, DJ BE had electrocuted the atmosphere with pulsating charged particles of electrons and protons dancing to diversified sounds that culminated in a show-stopping spectacle of frantic dance moves combusting from bouts of kinetic energy. There was nothing like the magic of a pre-warm-up, putting the folks in the mood, before the party’s derivative. By the stroke of midnight, BE’s successor wasted no time analyzing the musical elements of two Pioneer CDJs, a music/mixing software program, and the signature Bozak for what was to be an epic Tambor.
“I can’t wait!”
“Tonight’s going to be special!”
Several festive spirits whispered in high anticipation in the venue’s space number two, a smaller but more suitable arrangement. Although the crowd’s attendance faired less than record-breaking numbers, those that came out showed up and showed out. The feverish buzz trickled into the air-conditioned atmosphere and culminated at an audio zenith that tickled attentive ears. Why all the excitement? Well, grab your passport and Afro attire because we’re going on a quick journey for an educational visit to a country called Angola.
Angola sits on the West coast of Southern Africa next to the Atlantic Ocean to the West and Zambia to the East. With its Angola Mountain Range of Lela, a coastal capital city, Cracks of Tundarla, breathtaking waterfalls, sweeping hills and rugged cliffs the county’s scenery is one majestic behemoth. The fertile land which provides diamonds and oil fuels its strengthening economy. The Portuguese speaking country, freed from Portugal’s rule thirty-seven years ago, with a population of 19 million embraces its African heritage which can be heard in its music and seen in its dance, which brings us back to Tambor fresh off an airplane with additional baggage and an extra body.
The extra person aboard the aircraft was none-other-than Tiago Barros. Who? Djeff Afrozila. Tambor’s special guest DJ. Born in Portugal to a father from Cape Verde and a mother from Angola, Djeff grew up listening to an eclectic range of musical artists from Michael Jackson, Michael Bolton, Kassav to Tabanka Jazz. At the age of fifteen, the future DJ, would fall in love with house music and be influenced by the likes of Erick Morillo, Daft Punk and Robin S. In the year 2010 he would produce his first edit, “Canjika” and later go on to produce tracks and remixes for global renowned deep house music artists and labels. Currently, Djeff resides in Angola’s capital and largest city, Luanda. Based out of the urban hub is Kazukuta Records. Djeff, one of six DJs signed to the label with its growing roster, is en-route to becoming a burgeoning star in the world of Afro-deep house. The graphic arts and design graduate-which explains his fascination for haute couture, fashion forward promotional photographs, and avant-garde music videos-has handsome facial features that could have been ripped straight from the pages of a gentlemen’s quarterly fashion magazine or at least from a campy tourist brochure. The “I don’t look older than nineteen years of age” star sported the Kazukuta logo on a form-fitted white tee with grey graphics atop form-fitted blue denim. However, don’t be deceived by the lad’s 1.727 meters height, with a futbol player’s frame, and a clean-cut appearance because he would soon reveal his alter ego.
To Be Continued….
All photography by AJ Dance
A “WHOMP, WHOMP, BOOM!!!” shattered the peaceful summer night air and exploded like bombs over Baghdad onto the neighborhood streets in vicinity of the venue. At the establishment’s framed wooden front door the sub-terrain voice of bass greeted civilians. Once indoors the subwoofers sounded off clear and crisps, “THUMPS” marching off to war. Seismic waves of decibels sliced through the heart. The soundscape had leveled the battlefield with an apocalyptic “BOOM!”
“YEAH, it’s the NEW mixer sponsored by Bozak!” yelled Tambor’s third in rank with enough joviality to fuel an Army Abrams M1A1 battle tank. “I can’t wait for Danny to hear it!”
Except for being in the company of the frequent bass explosions that rocked the venue, the capacious space felt peculiarly lonely. Behind the music artillery, Commander Stanzeff worked a numbered of Tambor’s foot soldiers stationed at various points throughout the base. The Tambor-in-chief, in Re-Edit mode, strategically crafted current cuts of Quentin Harris’/Margaret Grace’s, “My Joy,” 3 Amigo’s/Susu Bobien’s, “You Bring Me Joy”( Guy Robin Mix) and Peven Everett’s, “Stuck” (Phil Asher’s Soul Heaven Version). Tambor’s troops responded with valiant praise. On the contrary, certain imponderability perplexed of certain lacks. Was it the institutional decor? The sleeping disco ball? The missing strobe light theatrics? Or simply, the MIA house heads?
My Love Song
There is something about the color of love when Danny Krivit shows up to play at Tambor. Red seemed to be the coincidental unofficial uniform color of choice. Red tees, red polos, red pants and red minis showed up to party. Two years prior, Danny threw down at Tambor’s Passion Party where the room was besieged with every hue of lust. Although the venue and many faces have since changed, the vibe had not. Many came expecting to experience a night of passion. And some more than others got that.
Provocative females pranced around practically naked provoking passionate eyes to protrude from both sexes. Hands fondled breasts. Two favorite dancers, one male the other female, disappeared before the party’s guest of honour manned the decks. An older gentleman gripped and groped his female companion with moves that should be left at “Swinging Richards.” Yes, something freaky was in the air. After all, they don’t call this the “Summer Party” for nothing. It is the time when the zeitgeber beckons, “It’s Mating Season.”
The Big Apple’s Danny Krivit appeared onstage in his uniformed 718 Sessions black tee. Sergeant Body & Soul stood armed and dangerous gripped with firearms, of the music kind, ready to slay Tambor. With a lovable teddy bear visage easy enough to fool-his demeanor proved all militant. Without warning, the sock it to em’ and knock em’ out DJ played drill sergeant. With a shuffle of his neck from side to side; the bass dropped and the highs were pitched to roughhouse the audience. The in-demand music hero wasted no time discharging jazz vocalist Gregory Porter’s, “1960 What?(Opopolo Bass & Rerub)” onto the brigade. Surprise! The soft-opener spelled T-R-O-U-B-L-E for a few Paradise Garage vets that expected a more disco anthem. Next, DJN Project’s featuring Theo Larson and Quadir, “Afro-Hard” pumped beats like machetes fired off in an African jungle. The third song proved victorious for the Garage heads of old hence, Ten City’s, “Fantasy.” Danny cut the music. The people sung, “I’m Sitting On Top of the World/Whenever You’re Around Me” the famous lyrics from Skyy’s (AKA New York Skyy) “Here’s To You”. The 20th century jam played with production help from the 21st century remix masters N-Joy and John Morales. Danny in playful mode continued to have fun with the audience and dropped the music and vocals for additional sing-a-long support from Tambor’s troops. Global beats banged courtesy of Distant People’s featuring Nickson, “My Love Song” (Libation Mix by Ian Friday) one of the smoothest gems discovered that night. There’s just something about the color of love when Danny plays love songs at Tambor. Given song legend Kenny Bobien in the house, standing next to the DJ stage texting, Danny played a moving tribute to the king of gospel house with “The Light.” Later, Kenny’s wife Stephanie Cooke’s tribute arrived, (apropos in the house) “Love Will” (Roots Vocal Mix) the Latin-flavored percussion driven jam that took dancers on a makeshift Navy cruise around the Caribbean Islands. Occasionally, vocal house was abandoned for instrumental driven tracks which displayed variety for a panoply of palettes to enjoy. During one disco house excursion the crowd seemed lost in translation; preoccupied with distractions. Therefore, moving towards the back of the facility to dance the atmosphere reeked of cooked crack. The music faded as the beginnings to a Roland drum loop sounded. Whitney Houston’s voice came into full view from a hazy stir. As Danny dropped the music the crowd sung, “Love Will Save The Day” which sounded more like shouts from the top of their lungs. The 12” inch version made for a great dance among friends on a white powdered dust covered floor. The dance down memory lane continued with Geraldine Hunt’s, “Can’t Fake The Feeling” from 1980. The jam had people wanting to pull out their roller-skates. Back to the present, Danny decided to bless the audience with a reprise of Distant People’s featuring Nickson, “My Love Song” (Libation Mix by Ian Friday). Once again, there is something about the color of love when Danny plays love songs.
There was no major theatrical disco close-out. No final thirty-minute music set devoted to Salsoul. Heck, the late Donna Summer didn’t appear in the mix. Proper house tracks seasoned here and there with vocals, afro-house punched at higher BPM’s and a dash of disco made an oscillating body of work. Danny wasted little effort playing afterthoughts of yesteryear but rather focused much attention on house music’s current climate. The “King of the Re-Edit” seemed more engaged in Body & Soul’s inner-makings than the architectural framework of Paradise Garage. The roller skating jams were left behind at the rink and music requests went ignored, even to the tune of MFSB’s “Love Is The Message.” What a valor undertaking, “My Love Song” was the new “LITM”. That night, house music’s prestigious Medal of Honor went to…… Mr. Danny Krivit. After all, there is something to Danny Krivit when he plays love songs at Tambor.
All Photography by AJ Dance
She looked as cute as ever. Imagine an African porcelain doll graced with mocha skin soft to the touch, carrying around the vigor of her neck a pair of white tech-savvy earphones and draped in a panoply Mache dress of royal purples that played cat and mouse with black contrasts. Having the mien of a mother with baby faced features of two rounded chubby cheeks, her two doe-eyes hid behind black wire frames told stories. Certain stories of knowledge. Certain stories of experience. Certain stories marked by heavy bouts of lows and soaring highs. She had the sinews of her mother, her grandmother and her great-grandmother all passed down in ancestral heritage. It would be this message that would play through her song and dance. For the humble spirit stood mensch, on the outer bank of the DJ stage, eyed the action and patiently waited to take her turn to minister on the musical equipment.
Tambor broke another record! This time for having the smallest crowd ever before 2pm. More empty pockets of spaces danced around than actual bodies. The minute crowd lacked the energy normally associated with Tambor’s fervor. However, what energy the crowd lacked, the made up for with enthusiasm. As evidenced by the hand-full of cheering females present at the altar of the DJ stage. It was a night of HER-oism as only two females have graced the decks of a Tambor party. Even this latest booking had occurred at the last minute due to another DJ bowing out for family matters. Of course, several female vocalists have performed live but actual female DJs cutting up the decks numbered in the non-existence territory at Tambor. So the crowd was in for a treat.
NYC’s DJ Sabine started off her lively set tinged with afro-beats and afro house; thumping right from the heart of the motherland; Africa. Somewhere along the journey-as a-matter-of-fact right after the first song-the ride hit turbulence and crashed into the diamond mines of Sierra Leone. The disaster had nothing to do with song selections but rather the song’s transitions. The soundscape conjured an African mosh pit with one song slamming into the next. The rough transitions proved all too nauseating; too bumpy, too choppy with little to no fluidity. This proved polemic. Was this mixing at all? Normally train wrecks occur when two trains (songs) traveling on the same railroad tracks at two different speeds (BPM Beats Per Minute) collide into one another. However, this seemed to be more of two trains (songs) traveling at different speeds on two separate railroad tracks speeding by one another. Had Sabine received the memo? This was Tambor. The world famous drum beat heard around the globe that has set precedents and raised standards in the deep house music scene. Certainly, there are DJs that master the art of seemingly blending songs down to a precise science and then there are those DJs whose mixing skills are hit and miss and then there are the DJs that don’t give a damn in regards to their mixing skills. Somewhere along this spectrum fell the night’s jagged edge.
Like a diamond in the rough, what started as one of the toughest night’s to swallow, transformed into a cut, polished and flawless gem. As the party’s hours grew so did the party’s attendance. The people smiled. The people reviled in joviality. The people experienced a one of the kind treat set aside for the esoteric. Dance circles cropped mid-floor provided the landscape for bodies to writhe in contortionist poses. Dance-offs and fancy footers squared off during a brief Donna Summer tribute. All against the backdrop as Tambor’s daddy DJ Stan Zeff and NYC’s DJ Sabine Blazin exchanged a most amiable hug.
Photography by AJ Dance
Even Andy Warhol showed up to party.
The room was dark. But far from silent. Afro-house music played background soundtrack as hazy oxidations danced in a faint orange spotlight. The special guest DJ with tattooed sleeves stood before a folding table. In his hands were five exclusive playing cards. Would he fold? Or would he continue to play to win?
“He doesn’t look comfortable,” suspected Tambor’s graphic designer with drink in hand.
DJing can be a bit like playing poker. You don’t know what type of hand you hold. Or more precisely you don’t know what type of music you hold. It takes a whole lot of betting that you’ve got a winning hand and you’re going to play the proper music that will win the audience over. Precious time, calculation and thought groom a party’s playlist. A guest DJ must know if or when to follow the prescribe pattern set by the predecessor DJ, when to stand ground with his/her musical manifesto and mixing style or when to be agile and limber. Like a professional poker player a professional DJ knows how to strategize a winning formula. A whim of spontaneous flexibility has to be assumed.
For two straight hours that spontaneous flexibility was muscled by the night’s guest headliner via Chi-town. DJ Terry Hunter played five rounds of five cards-Chicago style. From South Side disco, Chicago house, afro-house, deep house to classic soul. After a switch killed the music, a vibrant soprano resurrected from the dead sung, “You Better Believe It.” Terry silenced his opponents by dropping the queen of hearts; the late great Whitney Houston’s, “Love Will Save The Day.” The heart pounding four-count floor- thumper made feet stomp, hips gyrate and soul claps. The tribe went belligerent dancing in chaotic bursting bubbles greeted with agape smiles. After another brief moment of silence the Chicagoan withdrew from the deck a 10 of spades and threw it into the mix. The T’s Box latest release, “Inspiration To Me” (2012 Classic Club Mix) with love vocals by Eric King kept feet leaping in the air and ears open for what was to come. Matthew 18:20 came next riding over snappy percussions driven by afro-tinged subterranean. BAM!!! Terry dropped a jack of diamonds. After all where would Chicago be without Jack? Certainly it would be void of Chicago’s legendary Farley Jackmaster Funk’s, “I’m A House Head” with Billy Monroe bringing the vocal funk. The producer/remixer kept his catalog up front and personal with Chicago’s soul sister Terisa Griffin’s, “Yes” (Bang’s Sunday Club Mix). With the launch of the deep sexy sounds the critically acclaimed, “legendary” dropped a black Queen of Hearts to the delight of sexual auras. YES!!! The tribe of Tambor was in sensual hands. To follow suit the in demand producer adroitly dropped two kings of house. The first, Ruffneck’s, “Everybody Be Somebody” screamed for attention and that it received as the crowd chanted in return even after the song’s end. The classic king of spades played over a choppy walloping two-count that brought out hip-hoppers popping and locking on the baby powdered dusted floor. After another four-count floor-thumper driving dancing bodies mad with joy, the second king arrived. Staccato jabs of synths syringed the air. Screams penetrated the heavens, bodies leapt into the atmosphere as arms crushed through sound waves. The king of clubs; Lil Louis’, “Club Lonely” with house mainstay Joi Caldwell showing vocal support caused the uprising. The fierce dub sped through the speakers to answer the call, “Miss Thang/There Is No Guestlist/Tonight,” with a finger snap. Somewhere in the loft space floated the flesh of DJ Roland Clark as his recorded spoken words wondered on Agev Munsens, “The Thing About Deep (Can Drum).” Unbeknownst to the crowd wrapped up in divine interpretation a red king of hearts would close out the night. Chicago’s Lil Louis’, “Fable“with its uplifting strings and keyboard swirls served a questionable end.
Hands down, DJ Terry Hunter won the game with a full house; a “Three Full of Pair.” There sat on the folding table a red king of hearts, a black king of clubs, a black king of spades, a red queen of hearts and a black queen of clubs. This a champion knows best; how to work the crowd and win over the crowd with various music statements. It was apparent from the start that the man with a plan was out to rule with an iron hand. At one point the second generation Chicago DJ went deep, so deep dancing bodies writhed in diabolical bondage. The seasoned sensation worked the crowd dropping the bass and scorching the highs with such intensity the entire room fell prey to Hunter’s hunt. From where the track with the blaring sirens, vocoder demonic filter and the dramatic build-ups and devastating drops came from was anyone’s guess? Then there was the disco. The disco that caused even the most obdurate DJ’s to dance. Then there was disco house and on and on and on…..need anymore be said on the topic? By the party’s final hour when DJ Stan Zeff assumed musical lead to close out the night the loft space resembled a government declared, “Disaster Zone.”
Photography by AJ Dance
Invocation means to call upon the spirit of a deity. And on this night the ancestors answered the call. The congregation of those gathered heard angelic voices of sharp high notes float amongst their midst. The fancy footwork of the living danced with the graceful oscillates of motley spirits in perfect harmony that had transitioned from this world to the next many moons ago. The ancestors lived on; they lived on through song and they lived on through dance of the ancestral soul.
From an empty air conditioned room to a swelling mass of sweaty and sexy foot soldiers spreading the joy of dance, Tambor’s second in command, DJ BE played opening act for two full hours. The Diversified Sounds creator sculpted a soundscape that kept the vibe sexy with melodic vocals and spoken word playing over afro-house, deep house and proper house. Tambor’s jovial congregation ate the musical offerings up like fried chicken dinners sold after Sunday morning church service. DJ BE, sporting a green beaded Saint Paddy’s Day necklace was on fire, not a rarity for one of the city’s most prolific house music ambassadors.
Much talent existed in the atmosphere. Song writers and music producers mingled with singers. Musicians and DJs posed for pictures. Dancers showered the abilities of the melody makers with audible praise. Business cards and mobile numbers made the rounds. This was a kind of musician network; a net space reserved for major house music conferences like those held in Miami and Amsterdam. For the up and coming individuals in the house music world, Tambor was the place to be.
The night’s special guests read like a who’s who of house music. Kenny Bobien, Stephanie Cooke, Marlene Perez, Zepherin Saint, DJ Roland Clark, DJ Swift Ruben Vidal and Miranda Nicole were all in the house. This was without the mention of the night’s special headlining guest, Mr. Boddhi Satva.
Mr. Boddhi Satva AKA “Ancestral Soul” bared his humble soul and brought his signature sound to the Tribe of Tambor for his “Invocation” American tour EP release. Born and raised in the Central Africa Republic (C.A.R.) the producer birthed a spiritual awakening on those that had gathered within the four walls of the sanctuary. With mouths open wide and smiles firmly planted between chocolate cheeks the people assembled at the front alter of the DJ stage. A mass of digital appeal shot straight into the air. Digital smartphones, digital point and shoot and DSLR cameras were seen all about recording the onstage spectacle. The room froze in a moment of time. The faint sounds of “Oohs and Ahhs” could be heard if one listened closely to the heart. All stood in eager anticipation for the musical blessings that Boddhi Satva would bestow upon them.
According to the in demand music producer one of ancestral soul’s several meanings includes; when deep house weds Congloese rumba and West African voices become mistresses while urban R&B play occasional girlfriends. The polygamy of sounds is just what Boddhi delivered to Tambor. So let’s dig a little deeper into the house that built Ancestral Soul.
The Offering Recordings founder arose to the occasion with an opening African chant before transitioning into some hardcore deepness. To watch Boddhi DJ provides a sort of amusement, much like watching a charismatic caricature muscle the stage. He whips around in circles, swivels his neck from left to right, and rotates his fist in soft round circles and slow winds to the groove. Honestly, this guy can dance. Boddhi feels the groove and conjures up the excitement with a seductive sultry dance.
Sporting some serious tribal neckwear the minister of music unleashed philharmonic gifts upon the crowd. From the depths of the soul arose singer Lynn Lockamy’s acapella from Timmy Regisford’s, “At The Club” steadily bubbling under an ancestral treatment of sanctified beats. The vocals played background to harmonious synthesizers that caused one house music lover to conclude this was an exclusive goodie. Finally, in mid-song Lynn’s vocals were set free, amplified and allowed to shine as she wailed, “We were cheek to cheek/Sex to sex.” Suddenly, warm synths fell from the heavens and wrapped its embrace around the audible vocals in a luxurious display of bride courtship that concluded in a ceremony of holy matrimony. What a mellifluous marriage between the elements of deep vocal house and ancestral soul. Spoken Word played mistress as Athenai’s vocals off Invocation’s first single; “Here I Am” crept out from a dark corner to get some action. After all it was a Saturday night right? All the while urban R&B outfitters, Fantasia Borino and Dru Hill played girlfriends to the ancestral sound. Fantasia’s ballad, “Free Yourself” and the late 1990’s Dru Hill hit, “Beauty” entered the mix with ancestral freshness. Unfortunately, both songs fell flat as only a few house heads positioned near the speakers were able to decode the audible delivery. As with most edits played before a live audience the volumes of many acapellas ride sotto voce. Kudos for dropping the two cuts but had there been additional vocal clarity the songs would have received greater audience accolades.
Fortunately, executed correctly was an ancestral take on Culoe De Song’s, “I Really Do” with Kenny Bobien’s falsetto floating flawlessly across the DJ platform as the man himself walked onstage and gave Boddhi a huge embrace. Yes folks, this was a family affair. Soon to follow, the powerhouse anthem of the night arrived from Tambor’s next month’s guest, Chicago’s own DJ Terry Hunter with, “Wonderful.” Diva Terisa Griffin wailed with fiery intense that made the room all hot, sweaty and sticky. Shouts of joy resounded; arms flew in the air to praise as heads nodded with approval. The gospel-esque melody arrived right on time causing the people to catch the spirit. The dance came out in everyone-not only from DJ Stan Zeff but too his younger brother of Tribe Records UK Zepherin Saint.
From there the spirituality of Mr. Satva continued its exploration into ancestral rhythms of afro-beat, broken beat and even classic house as a drummer/percussionist took right stage and added the extra excitement of live drumming.
In a surprise and rare move DJ Stan Zeff took to the stage and assumed musical closer. Tambor’s founder rocked the house with the latest interpretation from Pablo Martinez of Jill Scott’s, “Hear My Call” to Black Coffee’s classic global crossover, “Turn Me On” (Raw Artistic Soul) with the “Princess of House” Bucie belting vocal lead. As the crowd dwindled to the usual suspects of hand standers, of couples two-stepping and some of Atlanta’s finest dancers waiting for pictures, the music’s intensity only increased to a climatic end.
Tambor had done it again. The night was one of the most celebrated ever. The air was solidified with a thick presence of love. Each soul that entered the premises felt the grasp of love take hold of the heart. Even with the abundance of special guests, not one displayed airs or the need to sit in VIP. All remained grounded and humbled and yet assumed a cloak of close kinship. This goes to show at a Tambor party love reigns supreme. You can throw a party. As a matter- of-fact you can throw the best party. But without love what do you have? Just another plain old party.
Photography by AJ Dance