Sunday, February 7, 2016

How To Handle A Bigot... Write A Song About It!

Inspiration can come from many places. For the song, "Do You Mind...?" it happened one night at a gig. The GroovaLottos are a soul, funk and blues band comprised of veteran touring and studio session players. Their original music, while fun and playful on the surface, tends to carry a deeper message and meaning that can occasionally be lost on part of the audience, which is "part of the fun about being a band." Explains, GroovaLottos drummer, Eddie Ray Johnson.

The band was playing a bar gig one night, and a group of European American couples walked in. All of the men went to the bar to watch the game and the women took to the dance floor. For the last song, the band fell into a funky groove to fill time until their break, when one of the wives started dancing and gyrating close to the band until her husband noticed, jumped up, ran out onto the dance floor, placing himself between her and the band and began to dance wildly off beat. 

Mwalim looked the man in his eyes, smiled and began to sing, "Do you mind if we dance wit yo' dates?" causing the wives and the men still sitting at the bar to bust out laughing. After the gig, on the ride home, Mwalim began singing the song again, adding lyrics and by the time he got home he had a new song to teach the band. At another gig, they created and added the line dane "The Phunk".

As Mwalim, a keeper of the Wampanoag sacred clown tradition, explained about the song, "We have entered a rebirth of the 'Jim Crow with a Vengeance Era' and realize that the DW Griffith film "Birth of A Nation" from 1915 is actually a look into the white male American psyche. This idiots wife was of little value to him until he saw her enjoying the music of three Black men. The lyrics were crafted out of my perception of what goes through the mind of such a person. Along the lines of Michelle Indecello song from the 1990's, ' If That's Your Boyfriend (He Wasn't Last Night)".


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