bill bodkin previews the return of the festival to new york city …
Tonight, Uncomun returns to New York City. The event, which will take place at DROM (85 Avenue A), is an artist collaborative featuring live music, film, art, dance, DJ sets, VJ sets and literature. It’s an event that celebrates the New York artist, the “uncommon” artist, the artist that thrives on creativity and originality.
This is an event where artists of national renown like Bernie Worrell, Bill Laswell, Shelby Johnson (Prince) and many, many others have left it all on the floor.
In 2011, the night — which went from being a weekly to a yearly event — returns with the intention of becoming a monthly residency. It’s being presented by Uncomun’s father, Nevaris Crawford, and an artist who made her name on the stage of Uncomun, singer/activist Maya Azucena.
Tonight, the line-up includes a slew of performers who have made Uncomun their home throughout the years.
The New York singer and activist is a multi-award winning performer who recently dropped the album Cry Love, a record full of soulful, thoughtful and body moving tracks. She’s performed worldwide, even performing for President Obama at The Concert For Darfur in Washington, D.C. Read our interview with Maya Azucena.
The New York-born hard funk band is fronted by Uncomun’s founding father, Nevaris Crawford. The band has worked with producer Bill Laswell and P-Funk’s Bernie Worrell to create their patented funktastic sound. The band’s live performance is absolutely electric, it bounces off the wall with its infectious energy. Read our interview with Loud Apartment.
The uniquely voiced reggae artist is a dynamo live. Having seen him perform at Uncomun ’08, we can attest to the fact that “Hawk” knows how to captivate an audience. He also knows how to captivate the musical world, having been a part of Tricky’s acclaimed record “Blow Back” and been produced by popular reggae producers Sly & Robbie.
Official Bio: The Romanian-born, New York-bred, tastemaker’s environment gave inspiration for an insatiable palate of hip-hop and jazz, hard-pop and boom-bap with a global outlook and immigrant roots. “I came out of New York City DJ culture, cutting my teeth on ’90s Hip Hop, but my mentor was a Jazz musician. With that foundation, I never separated music (by genre). My influences were and still are wide open,” Center says, reflecting on his musical upbringings.
Official Bio: Eli Efi founded the rap group DMN in 1988 and was the lead singer of the group until his departure in 2004. The DMN arose at the time of expansion of rap in Brazil with people dancing in the streets of central city and suburbs of Sao Paulo. DMN (now the name), in his view stood for “Defenders of the Black Movement,” which led by Eli Efi to become a reference in the Hip Hop movement in Brazil, as a group of resistance and struggle for the rights of black people.
Areytos Performance Works
Official Bio: Areytos Performance Works is a dance theater company working at the crossroads of performance art, African-Caribbean dances, contemporary modern dance, collaboration and stage environments. APW began in the Manhattan neighborhoods of Harlem and Washington Heights as a multi-disciplinary arts organization dedicated to creating community-based projects that privelege Africanist aesthetics, historical research and artistic risk-taking in the Caribbean community.
La Roka & Full Circle Breakers
Official Bio: Since 1992, Full Circle Breakers have been dedicated to preparing the next generation of Hip-hop artists through focused training and frequent interaction with the elders who provide life and career building aesthetics. They help to create performance opportunities for our members with the help of a supportive community of presenters and grass roots organizations. From concerts, to theatrical shows, educational forums, music and now film, Full Circle is evolving its Hip-hop work.
Official Bio: Mr. Sean Louis Schulich, winner of the 2001 Artists International competition, performed a sold-out debut at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall on Feb. 9, 2001. Sean has studied at the Juilliard School, the New England Conservatory, Tufts University and holds his Masters from Yale University. His teachers have included Dr. Brad Garner, Ransom Wilson and Julius Baker. He has performed internationally, from the Maverick Concerts in his hometown of Woodstock, N.Y., to Bach’s tomb in Leipzig, Germany to Alice Tully Hall in New York City.