The GroovaLottos Reflect On Music of the 1980's Massachusetts Music Scene

Black and Native American musicians reflect on the Cape Cod and south coastal Massachusetts music scene of the 1980s and 90's as a traumatic place for soul, funk and blues.
By: Down Streeters, LLC
Eddie Ray and Mwalim of The GroovaLottos at the Mattapoisett Diner
Eddie Ray and Mwalim of The GroovaLottos at the Mattapoisett Diner
NEW BEDFORD, Mass. - April 24, 2018 - PRLog -- It was a Sunday morning when Eddie Ray Johnson and Mwalim DaPhunkee Professor decided to stop in the Mattapoisett Diner for breakfast. The eatery was crowded and lively and the music on the radio was particularly funky, until suddenly the music changed to Van Halen. Mwalim's eyes opened wide and a pained expression formed on his face. "Do you know what kind of hell it was to learn and play the keyboard part to JUMP?" Eddie started chuckling as he buttered his toast. He too knew the hell of being a young musician in the Southcoast of Massachusetts during the rock and roll glory days.

For Mwalim, who was a summer resident on Cape Cod at the time, the difference in opportunities between New York and Cape Cod were glaring. "In New York I was playing jazz, r&b, rock, classical, hip-hop, experimental...When I got up here it was all Top 40 with some rock and I would run from playing country." For Eddie Ray who grew up in Wareham it was rock, rock, rock, and country. "My exposure to Black music was my older sibling's record collections. Except for WBUR on Sunday, the only thing Black about the music on the cape was the vinyl of the records."

Mwalim recalls the roller skating rinks in Hyannis as the oasis for r&b and Hip-hop. Johnny Wright, who went on to manage Justin Timberlake was the DJ at Cape Skate and used to book a lot of hip-hop and r&b acts of the time. Otherwise, it was a top 40 kinda world. For the two men, the radio broadcast was almost like that high school reunion that you don't want to go to. "A lot of the folks who book for the bars on Cape Cod are still stuck in the 1980s," mused Mwalim, "we were getting better responses from folks on our tour than the bands were getting in the clubs." Also noting that last summer the band made more money busking than they did playing local bars in previous years.

Despite the music and the memories it invokes, the breakfast was good. The GroovaLottos will be serving up their special brand of soul-funk-blues for the members and friends of the Prince Hall Freemasons at African Lodge 459 weekend on Saturday April 28th, 8PM @ William E Reed Auditorium, 24 Washington St, Worcester, MA. Tickets are $20. Also performing are DJ X-Funk and r&b cover band Perfect Example.

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Page Updated Last on: Apr 27, 2018
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