JOIN US MAY 1 AND KICK OFF THE FESTIVAL!

NORTHWEST FOLKLIFE’S PREFEST PARTY

Featuring Porter Ray, Gabriel Teodros, Industrial Revelation, Hosted by Larry Mizell Jr.

FRI, MAY 1, 2015

8:00 PM at the Crocodile Cafe $10 Adv. Get your tickets today!

Here’s a peek at our performers:

Porter Ray: Listen

A 25-year-old rapper, Porter Ray Sullivan was once described to me by Shabazz Palaces’ Ishmael Butler as “the Golden Child.” A son of Seattle’s Central District, Porter Ray namechecks Butler and revered Seattle MC Infinite as influences. Appropriately, “5950′s” is 206 from head to toe; named for a model of New Era baseball cap, it’s described as sporting Mariner teal throughout Porter’s stunning debut, BLK GLD. Here, Porter reels off the minutiae of murder, betrayal and narcotic sales with a poetic eye that recalls vintage Nas, tempered with a numb, gray-sky detachment (and aided by a sterling verse from Nate Jack) all over shimmering piano keys, a subdued drum shuffle and quiet-storm rain effects. In this city — built on, around, and seemingly under water — it’s even easier than you’d think to get washed, depending on where you’re standing.

Gabriel Teodros: Listen

To know that another world is possible, and bring it to life through music; this has always been the mission of emcee Gabriel Teodros. He first made a mark with the group Abyssinian Creole, and reached an international audience with his critically-acclaimed solo debut Lovework. He has since set stages on fire all across the US, Canada, Mexico and Ethiopia; performing alongside the likes of Lupe Fiasco, Mos Def & Talib Kweli, Zap Mama, Digable Planets and Fishbone to name a few. 2012 saw the release of 2 more critically-acclaimed albums, Teodros’ solo Colored People’s Time Machine, as well as CopperWire’s Earthbound; a space opera of a hip hop ride (set in the year 2089) that Teodros recorded with fellow Ethiopian-American artists Meklit Hadero and Burntface. In 2014 Teodros is set to release 2 new solo projects. The first is Children Of The Dragon – another journey through time, Hip Hop, Ethiopian musical traditions and shifting homelands with Washington, DC-based producer AirMe, followed by Evidence Of Things Not Seen – a reminiscent portrait of right now with Auckland, New Zealand-based producer SoulChef.

Industrial Revelation: Listen

Seattle, WA–Garage-jazz quartet Industrial Revelation has been making music together in various incarnations for a decade, but with their new studio album Oak Head (October 15, 2013) they’re poised to make a major statement in the world of black improvised music. Founded by D’Vonne Lewis, one of Seattle’s most sought-after drummers and the grandson of Seattle rhythm and blues legend Dave Lewis, the band also features Ahamefule J. Oluo on trumpet, Evan Flory-Barnes on bass, and Josh Rawlings on keyboards. Individually, the four members of I.R. have worked with nearly every major artist in Seattle, and plenty more beyond–from Macklemore and Das Racist to Robert Glasper and Wynton Marsalis. Collectively, the band is equally at home playing at a house party in Olympia or on stage at Benaroya Hall, and they bring that affinity for the epic and the intimate to every track onOak Head.

With their previous albums, I.R. sought to capture the engrossing, stomping scope of their live shows, which turn on a dime from hushed sincerity to sweaty bombast and have earned the band an obsessive cult following (City Arts’s Jonathan Zwickel described I.R. in concert as, “beautiful, dramatic, psychedelic, funny, funky, swinging, punchy”). But Oak Head marks a stark, pointed departure, both musically and conceptually. The album celebrates the introspective capacity of studio recordings, distilling and polishing I.R.’s messy fire and powerful spontaneity into something utterly new. “On Oak Head,” Oluo explains, “we embraced the refinement of the studio–it’s a very deliberate album–but at the core of every single one of those songs is a group of people playing in one room together at the same time, feeding off each other’s energy and welcoming the unknown.” Lewis adds, “If there’s one thing about this band, it’s that we all just play from our hearts. This album represents that so well–it’s just straight focus, straight stripped-down emotions.”

The album’s advance single, “Saying Goodbye (to rainbow socks and hair dye),” strikes a radiantly minimalist groove, layering a simple but obsessive melody (in Oluo’s sonorous flugelhorn) over a relentless, twinkling heartbeat held down by Rawlings on the Fender Rhodes. Penned by Flory-Barnes and largely improvised on the day of recording, “Saying Goodbye” is direct musical communication–so stripped of posturing that it’s almost above genre. That devotion to pure melody, to the rejection of the confines of genre, is the driving philosophy behind Oak Head.

I.R. recorded the album at a remote cabin called Oak Head over just two cold spring days–including some songs they’d been playing for over a year, and others that weren’t even written before they started setting up microphones. It’s a deeply honest, deeply personal piece of work, fixated on the idea that a simple, strong melody can be as experimental as the most esoteric art. Oluo explains: “Sincerity is the absolute ripest playground for experimentation. The idea that the two are at odds is a myth. It’s all about balance. The more you stretch to the experimental ends of music, the more you have to embrace the humanity of music. The taller the tree, the deeper the roots. The roots of this album go deep.”

“It’s a jump-off,” says Lewis. “Even though we’re four albums deep, Oak Head is just the beginning. With our earlier albums we were still growing, you know? Finding our focus. Now we can really get it going.”

-Written by Charles Mudede

Venue Information:
The Crocodile
2200 2nd Ave
Seattle, WA, 98121
http://thecrocodile.com/index.html
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