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From The Dive To The Coffeehouse: The GroovaLottos Reflect On Soul Music's Long and Winding Path
Understanding the changing trends in music is crucial to a band, but also important is understanding how to ride the waves of shifting audiences, and the fact that the formula has not changed in 100 years.
By: Down Streeters, LLC
The members of the Grammy nominated outfit began reminiscing about their days as younger players, the venues for soul and jazz were very different. Most of your soul music gigs, even into the early 1990s were in predominantly Black bars, clubs, and event halls. Today, most of those venues use a DJ or singers with backing tracks, leaving soul bands to languish and fade. However, as noted by Mwalim DaPhunkee Professor, the band's resident Black History scholar, the trend of Black music has always been to shift to white audiences and overseas audiences for a sustained appreciation of your music.
"It's all part and parcel of America being a commerce based society, where culture takes a back seat. Combine this with the particular history of Black people's historic status as commodities -as well as whatever we produce- our artwork is likewise a trending commodity." According to the Professor, Black Americans have been programmed to place little or no value in canonizing our music, unless so approved by white society, thus musical styles and trends come and go. Meanwhile, white people, Europeans and Black people from elsewhere are programmed to appreciate the aesthetic values of musical forms old and new. With the exception of a few savvy r&b cover bands, the presence of a soul band at the local club or event in the Black community is pretty much a thing of the past. So where do the bands go?
"Most break up and go on with their lives. The rest go overseas and develop careers touring Europe, Asia and Africa. Meanwhile, bands like The GroovaLottos carve a niche for themselves in the coffeehouses, clubs, and event halls of suburbia. "We seem to forget that a big chunk of artists on Chess, Stax, Peacock, and Motown had clandestine fan bases in the suburbs and broad-based love overseas." Continued the Professor, over his cup of jasmine tea. "Todays doctors, lawyers, accountants, professionals are the same folks who come up to us at a break and tell us about how they saw Sly Stone in 1970 or James Brown in 75..."
Coffeehouse Soul Sessions takes place every month at the Dedham Square Coffeehouse, 595 High St, Dedham, MA: March 10, April 14, May 19
March 3, The GroovaLottos Downtown Phunk Party at Welfleet Preservation Hall, WelFleet, MA
Dates and Locations for The Phunk Hits 2018 Street Concert Tour will be announced in May.
For More Information, Join The Phunk Squad:
Down Streeters, LLC