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Monthly Archives: July 2012

Old Skool Album Review (Revisted) : Ivana Santilli’s Brown

This was an album review I had did 6 years ago on for a site called Justsoul.net  For those who don’t know Ivana Santilli, she is a gifted and talented artist from the Toronto who was famous for being in the Toronto band; “Bass is Base” back in the day.  I felt nostalgic and thought I would repost this album review.   Ivana herself read it and thanked me dearly (which I still smile up to this day.)

Ivana Santilli is no stranger in the Toronto R&B soul scene. In 1994 she was part of a well-known Toronto soul group Bass is Base consisting her and two other members whose debut album ‘First Impressions for the Bottom Jigglers’ was nominated for a Juno Award for R&B Soul. After disbanding, Ivana Santilli continued her musical path with her 1999 debut solo album ‘Brown’. This album truly showcases Ivana Santilli’s talents. Besides her vocals, she also plays a majority of the instruments on this album including rhodes, piano and trumpets (which you can hear nostalgically on ‘Too Deep’). ‘Brown’ begins with a brief intro of Ivana playing on the rhodes (ironically titled “Oh the Rhodes again.”) Ivana then opens her book to her listeners of her thoughts, passions, questions and desires that are backed up by smooth soulful beats. In‘Too Deep’ (which was her first single from this album) Ivana ponders to her listeners with questions such as “Have you ever lived your life half asleep? Tell me am I getting too deep?” ‘Never Again’ tells a story of Ivana who puts all her energy into a relationship but does not get anything in return. Ivana then decides to show how much she loves her lover in a duet “If I ever fall” with Glenn Lewis, Ivana even gives her listeners an Italian 101 on her groove song “Nostalgia”. She closes her chapter with “More of myself” with a soothing song as she croons to her listeners “I can say no more, but I can show you less, less of my clothes but so much more myself” ‘Brown’ is a classic example of how good production, a very talented artist, superb backing and good lyrics can lead to a top notch album. The versatility of sounds within this album is huge driving factor. ‘Sun+Moon=Tomorrow’ (the album’s second single release) starts of with a fast drum beat similar to what is heard in the ending of The Roots’ critically acclaimed song “You Got Me”. It is then intertwined with rhodes being played added with a nice driving bass. ‘Too Deep’ provides a Latin/French/Jazz kind of feel with trumpets sounding softly in the background. Ivana even decides to surprise her listeners with a part two version of “If I Ever Fall.” In which, halfway through breaks into a Brazilian drum beat with her on the keyboards and exchanging adlibs and words with Glen Lewis. Another strong factor with Brown is the consistency with her music. Even though she experiments with different styles of beats and grooves (as what is heard in ‘Too Deep’, ‘Sun+Moon=Tomorrow’ and ‘If I ever fall Part Two)’ she still maintains that soulful smooth sound, which unfortunately a few R&B soul artists tend to loose when they start to experiment with different sounds on their albums. You’ll be guaranteed that after listening to this album, you will start to think “Am I really getting too deep?”
Five out of Five Stars
Dwight Barrett [Just Soul]

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Posted by on July 30, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Cease The Violence: Is this summer being dubbed as the summer of the gun?

I remember back in 2005 when Toronto had a string of violent gun crimes that all seemed to have all clustered in the summer, the city nicknamed the “summer of gun.”  Ironically while this was occuring, I remember certain songs that ironically came out that describe the epitome of Toronto’ shootings and it’s effects (ie, Damian Marley’ “Welcome To Jamrock” with the infamous “out in the streets, they call it murder” and TOK’s “Footprints”  )  It seemed after that summer that people in Toronto wanted to make a change.

This summer however has not been the case.   It seems like the violence has gotten worse.  In the latest string of shootings comes the high profile Danzil Street shooting Scarborough where over 20 people were injured including a 2 year old.  Two individuals died from the injury:  a 14 year old and a 22 year old, both who had dreams and hopes and inspirations.

Like many Torontonians and others who across the globe and the online media who heard about this a lot of questions started surfacing.  1) Why was a barbeque block party being held on a Monday?  2) Why did it take EMS and the police 30 minutes  to arrive? 3) Why would the gunman be so ignorant to open gunfire in a packed event?  The more questions that surfaced, the more tension that grew and the more finger pointing that resulted.  Angered community members easily pointed fingers at the  police and the government for result of these strings of violence meanwhile political are quick to point the finger back to the community.

Meanwhile the family are left to suffer the pain.

All this finger pointing really needs to stop.  Who is at fault for this?  EVERYONE!!!  The government’s cutback on community services and support to neighborhoods definitely impacts those who live in yet at the same time the government is not suppose to be the mother or father those who in the community who don’t know what is right from what is wrong.

The key to this is EDUCATION.

The lack of education has been the main issue which is needs to be corrected.  We have education cuts to the system which is affecting the youth and afterschool programs, meanwhile you have parents who unfortunately need some education on themselves on how to discipline their children in learning to be a parent to their kid..not their best friend.  This lack of education has stemmed to the point where kids are dropping out of school because they feel that they can make money the quick and easy way…..on the streets.

So while people are blaming each other for their problems the real question they should ask is “how can we educate our youth, and community to further cease the violence?”  Because it is evident that what we are doing today is definitely not working.

RIP to those who’s life was fatally taken away from lack of education.

Medsoulbrother

 
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Posted by on July 19, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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I’m too “fancy” for a house music party! (An old revisted blog/note)

This was a rant I had posted on facebook a couple of years which unfortunately I still see today (smfh).  So I thought let me repost this:

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Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, black or white, Jewish or Buddhist. I come to present and report to you a certain trend that I’ve been seeing in a lot of house music parties. I have noticed this trend growing rapidly and I think it’s starting to spread like a disease in these events and it needs to be stopped immediately.

What I am talking about?

Ladies and gentlemen I am talking about a certain disease and trend in house music parties that I will like to call: “I am too hot to be in this party a.k.a. “I am too stoosh/fancy” a.k.a. “I am more important than everyone else here” a.k.a. “Ewww why are they wearing sneakers with those jeans.” House music lovers you’ve seen this. That girl or group of girls who look like they dressed for a wedding reception in their high heel shoes, expensive dresses and who stand around looking at people disgusting while everyone is partying in their running shoes, jeans, shirts, baseball hats. Or those dudes who act like their they are from the Godfather who stand like a statue in the middle of the dance floor purposely getting in the way of dancers and who screw their face when bumped into them. Or worse, when the DJ the plays a well known house music tune that a number of people know and they just stand there with his confused look like “What is this? I don’t know this song!” I’ve been seeing this trend happening a lot lately and quite frankly it is pissing me off.

Last weekend some friends and myself went to go see DJ Dennis Ferrier in Montreal. He played a great set, the music was phenomenal, and the vibe was cool. Unfortunately the “I am too hot for this party” disease slowly percolated through the dance floor which somewhat ruined the vibe.

So to those who may not be familiar with house music or who might even suffer from this disease here are some important tips to follow:

1) Dress code: You dress to dance. Therefore, sneakers, runners, hats, sweat tops, jeans, shorts, etc. is what you will see. No hushpuppies, no “fuck me boots” no prom dresses, no three piece suits, etc. When coming to a house music event most people come there to dance, not to pose like they are a Page 8 Sears catalogue model.
2) Drop the attitude. Attitude is prohibited in any form of house music party because house music unites people. If you cannot understand this then you should not come to a house music party.

3) Standing like statues is also prohibited: Remember people come here to dance. Standing in the middle of the dance floor as if you are security annoys a lot of dancers which leads me to the next point.

4) Everyone is equal. You paid the exact same money as the next dude or girl who came into the club. Likewise you paid the same amount for your drinks like the next person. Therefore drop the superior inferior attitude. Just like your dress or three piece suit you got from that expensive store, it’s ugly.

5)Don’t be surprised if total strangers start talking to you. Again this is a positive attribute to house music. It unites people and likely you will end up talking and chatting up with people who are also feeling the music.

6) This is especially for the young cats. Do your house music research please! It hurts my soul when I see a house DJ play a classic house tune and some of these new kids just stand there like “huh?” This occurred last week when I was in Montreal seeing Dennis Ferrier. Dennis Ferrier played “Good life” by Inner City. Tell me why my friends, myself and maybe four other people around us were the only people who knew the lyrics to that song while everyone danced to it lost thinking “What song is this?” Till this day it burns my soul.

7) Certain house music songs will evoke either a) everyone singing together b) everyone doing the soul clap or c) doing the bus stop a.k.a. electric slide. Be prepared to do one or all of the above. If not, then get out the way and let the true lovers step in.

8) VIP? There is no such thing as VIP in a house music jam. The “Very Important People” are the patrons who paid their full admission to the club to the support the DJ, the scene and the music.

I am sure there are more things to post that I have forgotten but it is important this disease be controlled and cured. Remember house music is suppose to unite people not divide people. You don’t like house music or you find it is not your cup of tea? I am sure you can find another club that will play your Ke$ha, Usher or Lady Gaga that will help enhance your “15 minute socialite fame.” that you always wanted. But to be frank, I think I speak for all true house music lovers and when I say this: “Fuck off and leave your bitchassness attitude at home. Your kind is not welcomed in OUR HOUSE.”

Thanks,

Signed,
Disgruntled House Music Lover
Dwight Barrett aka Medsoulbrother

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Posted by on July 13, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Hello world!

Finally decided to hop on the blogging bandwagon:

It’s been 3 years, 6 months, 8 days, 14 hours, 5 minutes and 33 seconds since I said I that one day I would create a blog page so I can rant all my frustrations out.  Well obviously I procrastinated so much that I shoved it to the back burner.  But now I can say I have some… (and I highlight) some time.

How often will I use this blog? I don’t know.  Maybe a lot, maybe not, but hopefully I will create a buzz or be able to have some meaningful online discussions, rants, etc.

So basic information about me (and no I am not trying to make this into an e-harmony dating site.) I’m a recent grad (have two degrees, psychology and nursing) working as an ER nurse (yes the stories will come.)  I’m also an author who has published his first novel “Double Deception” which is on amazon now for order.  I also love music… all kinds of music, but depending on my mood, I can swing being an old skool lover to a dancehall fanatic, to a soulful house music nut, to a hip hop junkie to a jazz influenced person and so forth.  Trust me I love my music.

Yes I am currently single (not by choice but by bad luck and karma.. and yes I will get into that a bit later as well.)

Alright so my blogging journey begins….let the rants start!!!!!

 

 
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Posted by on July 13, 2012 in Uncategorized