Today I played a Black History Month show at BAX, the Brooklyn Arts Exchange, as part of the Jumpin' Juniper series. My band was a great group of folks I'd never played with before: Ari Brand (guitar, vocals), Katie Mullins (baritone ukulele, mbira, vocals), and Ivan Katz (djembe, hand percussion). We did a mix of traditional tunes and original stuff related to Black History Month. For the second half of the show we invited kids and parents to play along with us. Thanks for bringing your ukes and your shakers and your guitars and your kazoos! Next time we want more parents to play along too.
Here's what we played and who played it:
Zora (just Lloyd)
About Zora Neale Hurston, on the Many Hands benefit album for Haiti
I've Been Working on the Railroad (Lloyd)
Just cos my sing-a-long crowd likes it so much...
St. Bessie Blues (Lloyd & Katie)
A variation on "St. Louis Blues" I wrote with some fourth graders a few years back. This take on the tune celebrates Bessie Smith and features some great kid-written raps.
Up Above My Head (Katie, Ari, Ivan, Lloyd)
Katie's take on an infectious African-American spiritual. http://www.musicwithmisskatie.com/
This Little Light of Mine (Lloyd, Katie, Ari, Ivan)
Banana Boat Song (Ivan, Ari, Katie, Lloyd)
One of Ivan's favorite tunes to do at his drum-a-longs.
Walk-a-Long John (Katie, Ari, Ivan, Lloyd)
Katie's variation on an old tune. She leads the tune on her mbira (pronounced, "imbira"), an instrument from Zimbabwe.
When the Saints Go Marching In (Lloyd, Katie, Ari, Ivan)
Even though Mardi Gras just passed. I'm always looking for songs people will actually sing along with and this is one of the few nearly everyone will.
Cool Papa Bell (Lloyd, Katie, Ari, Ivan, crowd)
About the Negro League star. On Strange Dees, Indeed.
Henry Box Brown (Lloyd, Katie, Ari, Ivan, crowd)
One of the most popular Dees tunes. On Freedom in a Box.
Sojourner Truth (Lloyd, Katie, Ari, Ivan, crowd)
Written as part of a musical about Northampton, MA, a few years ago. On Strange Dees, Indeed.
John Henry (Lloyd, Katie, Ari, Ivan, crowd)
A bluegrassy take on a trad tune I like to do in my classes.
Tub-Tub-Ma-Ma-Ga-Ga (Lloyd, Katie, Ari, Ivan, crowd)
Tub = Harriet Tubman, Ma = Martin Luther King, Ga = Gandhi, on American History + Rock-n-Roll = The Deedle Deedle Dees