I have just been listening to brilliant music of the late Sisa Sopazi for the first time. It is incredible how I have always heard his name mentioned by his peers, but have never really listened to him. I was really moved by the songs Ekomani, Intlombe and the cleverly titled The Sight of Sound.
Please look for this name. He may be gone, but he will hardly be forgotten by those who had a chance to hear his sound.
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In his new book, The Sound of Culture: Diaspora and Black Technopoetics, Louis Chude-Sokei samples freely from history, music, literature and science, conjuring new meanings from dead texts, to build an echo chamber where the discourses of race and technology collide. At a time when automation threatens jobs and pits humans against machine and Artificial Intelligence systems manage financial markets, Chude-Sokei’s arkeological excavations reverberate through the future-present. In this conversation, he joins Kodwo Eshun and Appau Junior Boakye-Yiadom on a journey into science fiction and Afrofuturism that engages the intimate relations between black peoples and technology within the wider imperial histories of industrialisation and slavery.
“What then comes up for me in this conversation about the limits of the human is what constitutes the human, right? Because whenever you ask whether or not this is human or that is human, you’re actually asking “what is the human?” in the first place. Which is a question that we still don’t really know. The same thing when we talk about artificial intelligence. What artificial intelligence has taught us is that we don’t know what intelligence is. Whenever we encounter a machine, can it think? Does it have a soul? And then the question becomes: well, what is thinking? What is a soul? Are they human? Do they merely mimic us? Will they take over from us? Will they revolt? These same exact questions that were asked about slaves during slavery. This is not an accident. Things that seem accidental are not accidental at all. It’s a shared logic around a restrictive understanding of what constitutes the human. And that’s where blacks and robots and machines really come together – not just in a clever, theoretical formulation. It’s there in history. It’s why Robert Johnson wants to have sex with his phonograph.”
Read more from an edited transcript in The Chronic: The Invention of Zimbabwe.
Time is but a moment in a capsule …
jazz music told me so
but also insisted that i remember
that it ain’t necessarily so
we’ve drifted in and out
to and fro
the storied shores of love
with music as the sea of reeds
with music as a seed
bearing the living trees
with blood on the leaves
we have seen many visions
conquered in many battles
with love and music
as a spear as well as a shield
with love and music carrying us
we found firm ground
even as we steadied ourselves to take off
in full flight
love music our meditation
our rhythmic blue teacher paying fullest attention
love is incense dispelling the tension
vibrating heartical flame
thawing the chill in the room
a way out of no way
respecting no man
just having its own way
The story of one of Del the Funky Homosapien best album
‘it means exploitation …jazz to me is not our music …jazz is a four letter word …its not either or …this and that …and this and that …”
I know that the title reads Alice Coltrane and Joe Henderson, much respect to these greats, but the start of this particular goosebump inducing song is the bassist Charlie Haden and of course the narrator etc, Kenneth Nash.