MUSICALIST: ACOUSTIC HISTORIAN
After working with over 400 artists, Derek Johnson – aka Musicalist – is now embarking on a new journey....
His solo guitar show is an intimate, yet expansive venture honouring music as the storyteller and the musician as the legacy-keeper.
The concerts showcase a collection of original acoustic pieces closely connected to some of the themes from his book, The Roots of Our Game (an historical examination of human behaviour and the music industry).
The music itself is steeped in tales that celebrate the triumphs of the human spirit – paricularly through the sensibilities and experiences of the African Diaspora.
Using unique guitar tunings, Musicalist sets himself and his audience free to explore a fresh world of creative influences on a one-way journey through the spirit of ancient times, on into new beginnings....
See his profile in the documentary, Truth & Art, by Sunara Begum: https://vimeo.com/112063252 (18 mins.)
1.) “Almost Home” (Flight of the ‘Contraband’)
Celebrating the exhilaration and optimism of a journey to freedom….
‘Almost Home” is for the truest African rebels in the Diaspora; the optimists who freed themselves from Slavery against almost impossible odds; people who viewed the joys of liberty as a cornerstone of all progressive life and repeatedly engaged the celebratory “freedom dance” in their mind’s eye until they were able to do it for real in new lands….
“Greenwood” honours the collective spirit of a district in mourning; a district in one of the most important centres of America that had to face the chilling winds of nothingness after losing almost everything the night before.
It also pays homage to the quiet, stoic resilience of a people moving on, starting from scratch, to rebuild everything they believed in….
3.) “Teeth & Dust”
This piece relates to the African Chattel Slave Trade, Slave raids and the largely European rape of West Africa from the 15th Century; raids that sent some of us in the Diaspora to where we are now. It is also a reminder of the stoic “sorrow" of the displaced African and the fact that as businesses go, the Slave industry was wider and more lucrative than the vast majority of scholars would dare to admit….
4.) “Poets of the Lost Sound”
Just before the advent of recording in the 1880s, what did the real folk music of the people of America sound like…?
By 1890, New York’s Manhattan was the centre of the commercial music business for the modern world and was frantically promoting novelty and parlour-type songs in attempts to satisfy growing urban cravings for cheap fun and immediacy. At the same time, the Lost Sound went about its nightly duties, cutting deep imprints into American culture with a cheeky swagger and a knowing grin.
Some of these Poets of the Lost Sound conjured creative spirits so powerful they reached back to their motherlands and their musical, mother tongues. Theirs was real folk art, speaking both to and for the people. This piece is for them in celebration of the magic they left us....