De La Soul- Bringing The Fresh To Hip Hop At Soulfest 2015

De La Soul has been bringing fresh and innovative beats, rhymes, skits and emerging artists to hip hop since its “Golden Age”. If you grew up in the late 80s, 90s or thereafter if you were switched on to the evolution of hip hop, there’s a good chance De La Soul’s music makes up an integral part of your life tapestry.De La Soul

Decades later in 2015 that tapestry is soon to become richer with Posdnuos, Maseo, Dave and a huge number of musical collaborators working on the final touches of the highly-anticipated new studio LP – funded by loyal fans through Kickstarter at the first opportunity they had early this year.  This time around De La Soul and their cohorts have recorded all their own samples for the album and the mixing process is well underway with Bob Power again at the controls.

Rightly so – excitement is high in De La Soul camps around the world.

So Soulfest couldn’t have picked a better time to bring the group to its stages in Australia, New Zealand and Kuala Lumpur next month to perform their beloved songs of old and here’s hoping, a good dose of the new.

Soulfest 2015 poster

Remind yourself or (if you’ve been living under a rock) get to know “da inner sound, y’all” expressed and bought to us by De La Soul since the release of their first revolutionary album in 1989, 3 Feet High And Rising.

De La Soul - 3 Feet High And Rising

“Buddy”-De La Soul feat. Q-Tip & Jungle Brothers- 3 Feet High And Rising (1989)
De La Soul - De La Soul Is Dead
“A Rollerskating Jam Named Saturdays”- De La Soul Is Dead (1991)

De La Soul - Buhloone Mind State

“In The Woods”- Buhloone Mind State (1993)

De La Soul - Stakes Is High

“Big Brother Beat” feat. Mos Def – Stakes Is High (1996)

The inclusion of De La Soul in this year’s festival line-up means the evolution of the innovative, conscious and humorous side of hip hop between the 80s and today will be represented in true style. Not to mention Ms. Lauryn Hill and Black Star with Talib Kweli and Mos Def, the latter whose career De La Soul helped kick off, and who fans will no doubt be hoping join De La Soul on Soulfest stages.

Check out the full festival line-up and get your Soulfest 2015 tickets here.

Soulfest Australia

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The Cactus Channel + Chet Faker: Kill The Doubt

The Cactus Channel‘s unique variety of instrumental funk-soul music wouldn’t get value-add with just any ol’ artist’s singing and songwriting talents in the mix. Many contemporary vocalists (I’d say most) would probably be a misfit for the music; do it an injustice.

But with their new single “Kill The Doubt” and it’s B-side “Sleeping Alone”, it is Chet Faker who the group’s joined musical forces with. The result of course, is two gorgeous songs oozing with heart, soul and feeling.

Get your digital dose here of “classic soul and funk seen through a uniquely Melbourne perspective”. The songs sounds damn fine even in digital format; and will undoubtedly sound a million times better on sweet vinyl.

"Kill The Doubt" - The Cactus Channel Feat. Chet Faker

“Kill The Doubt” – The Cactus Channel feat. Chet Faker
“Sleeping Alone” – The Cactus Channel feat. Chet Faker

Check out more music by The Cactus Channel here and buy it through their independent Melbourne label Hopestreet Recordings.

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Sublime Sounds Of Old: Al Green

In my musical world the sublime sounds of old inspire and make me feel more than most new music does today. Here we turn back to those sounds to remind everyone (especially the youngsters of the world) that they are there to know, learn from, love, take them higher, appreciate and cherish…for forever-after.

With heart and soul this particular artist of ol’ made some of the most stunningly perfect, sublime love songs of all time.

He is of course, The Reverend Al Green.

And these are just two of the many of his songs for the cherishing…

Al Green - I'm Still In Love With You

x x

“Love and Happiness” – Al Green – I’m Still In Love With You (1972)


Al Green - Let's Stay Together (1972)


“Let’s Stay Together” – Al Green –  Let’s Stay Together (1972)


There’s only one contemporary artist I know of whose music and vocals are of the same sublime kind and quality as Al Green’s in the 70s.

He is of course, D’Angelo.

Al Green and D’Angelo are also both messengers of Love. Thanks be to them because the world is most definitely a better place for their musical and lyrical messages. True?

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Kamasi Washington: The Jazz 2015 In Soulfest 2015

“Australia’s First Annual Neo Soul, Jazz & Hip Hop Festival” needs some jazz, right?

Soulfest Australia

The inaugural Soulfest 2014 delivered a line-up of spectacular soul and hip hop artists to Australian and New Zealand shores. Best of all it included D’Angelo & The Vanguard afresh, not long before the release of Black Messiah and they got busy playing shows around the wider world.

D'Angelo live concert - Melbourne Soulfest 2014

D’Angelo at Soulfest 2014- Melbourne


Soulfest 2015, in by bringing saxophonist, composer and bandleader Kamasi Washington from the U.S. to Australia (and New Zealand) to play, has Jazz 2015 in its finest form sufficiently and wonderfully covered.

Kamasi Washington (photo by Mike Park)

Kamasi Washington (photo by Mike Park)

If you travel in the musical realms of contemporary jazz, soul, R&B, electronica or hip hop, chances are you’ve already got the sounds of Kamasi Washington in your music collection- and maybe just don’t know it (especially if you buy your music digitally and miss out on reading an album’s linear notes with the names of all the artists who created it). You’re Dead! or Cosmogramma by Flying Lotus? To Pimp a Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar? Up by Stanley Clarke? The Beyond / Where the Giants Roam by Stephen Bruner (aka Thundercat)? In My Time by Gerald Wilson? All of the above?

Maybe you’ve been blessed to hear Kamasi Washington playing live on stage alongside Chaka Khan, Snoop Dog, Gerald Wilson, Wayne Shorter, Raphael Saddiq, Stanley Clarke or Lauryn Hill?

Or maybe you’re totally onto the workings of Kamasi Washington and recently added his first solo album The Epic to your music collection? Are eagerly awaiting its forthcoming release on sweet vinyl? And/or just had the pleasure of hearing he and The Next Step/West Coast Get Down “throw it up in air” to “see where it lands” at a live show in the States?

Kamasi Washington

If not, well, right here and now is a good time to check out the sounds of Jazz 2015 by some of our time’s most innovative musicians, with the first track from The Epic journey sampled below. Listen, and keep listening, as the story keeps unfolding. Enjoy the space it leaves you in during its final moments. And like always, remember this here sample is just a compressed mp3 glimpse of the full sound.

Kamasi Washington - The Epic (2015)

The Epic (2015)

Kamasi Washington – “Change of the Guard” – The Epic (Volume 1 – The Plan)


If you’re inspired to experience the whole of The Epic story in its uncompressed glory, buy the entire 17-track, three-volume, 172 minute-long album here.

For an extra-special experience of Kamasi Washington’s music, find your way to Soulfest 2015 and elsewhere he and his band are playing it live. Discover where the sounds land at that particular show. Just know the bonus of getting it at Soulfest is that Kamasi Washington’s jazz set will be amongst performances by some of history’s most beloved soul and hip hop artists too.

Soulfest 2015 poster

Soulfest 2015 tickets here.

Folks in Australia wanting a longer, cosier live experience of Kamasi Washington and his band can also catch their Sydney sideshow on Oct 22nd.

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Hiatus Kaiyote Dropping You Into It

Just like I thought as few words as possible should be said about the new Hiatus Kaiyote album Choose Your Weapon in order to do the music and its makers justice, I think the less words said about Hiatus Kaiyote’s live show at Brisbane’s Woolly Mammoth, the better. To experience is the goal.

Early in their set during ‘Shaolin Monk Motherfunk’, when Nai Palm sang to the crowd to “Drop into this”, the direction was unnecessary. Already by then, the very first sounds of music created on stage by Nai Palm, Paul Bender, Simon Mavin, Perrin Moss and the group’s regular three Australian-based support vocalists, had well and truly dropped us into It. With no way out.

Nai Palm - Hiatus Kaiyote live concert 2015

Nai Palm (Hiatus Kaiyote) at Woolly Mammoth

‘It’ of course being the truly Multi-Dimensionalfantasy journey this music takes you on with its multiple rhythmic, melodic and stylistic changes that make no sense to many- but perfectly-divine sense to the room full of Hiatus Kaiyote music appreciators so comfortable and joyous being taken to a space outside the dreaded Square.

There was just no jumping out of that wondrous musical journey; and absolutely no desire to anyway.

The rest, all the details about Hiatus Kaiyote’s show…(the setlist, exquisite jams and solos within songs or the pleasure in hearing the live raw vocals of Nai Palm which sound like no other in the world except for some newly-developing female vocalists I’ve heard recently who could only be described as sounding like Nai Palm, for example)…don’t matter for you.

What matters is that you find yourself the experience of Hiatus Kaiyote dropping you into your very own multi-dimensional fantasy adventure, with its killer soundtrack played to perfection.

Hiatus Kaiyote live concert 2015

Folks in the U.K, U.S, New Zealand and Europe get their chance soon when Hiatus Kaiyote head back overseas to continue touring the new album. Check out the dates here – more music and past live shows by Hiatus Kaiyote here – and, one more sample track from Choose Your Weapon to get you on your feet towards your local record store to buy the full album if you haven’t already.

“Laputa” by Hiatus Kaiyote – Choose Your Weapon (2015)

Hiatus Kaiyote - Choose Your Weapon (2015)



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Native Sun: Hip Hop+Afrobeat+Sunshine+Love On Foot

So much music being created by artists in this world. So many barriers to getting it heard, properly valued, sold and any money into their pockets. We all know it’s a travesty of epic proportions.

To all the artists who share their music with me digitally: thank you, and, I’m truly sorry. Lots of it I simply won’t have the time nor energy to spend attached to a computer to hear.

I’m an old fashioned girl when it comes to finding music. I want to use my feet whenever I can- to physically go out into the world and scour record stores; act on recommendations from real people I talk with in those music stores and elsewhere about the music we love; take a cd home from an awesome live gig; or buy it directly from artists I find sharing their music in streets and plazas.

I swear my methods are much more fun and healthier than excess computer time.

Hormigas Negrasvinyl records - Kingston, JamaicaSupport Sweet Music in public spaces










It’s in that context I give kudos to London-based music duo Native Sun for using their minds and feet to speak of and sell their music to the many folks of a similarly-styled musical ilk to them, waiting in line for doors to open at D’Angelo & The Vanguard’s Roundhouse show. The fact that they did so was reason enough to hand over my valuable English pounds for their take-home album Indigenous Soundwaves; and to share some of its sounds here on their behalf.

Native Sun - Indigenous Soundwaves

Indigenous Soundwaves (2012)


“Hip Hop, Afrobeat, a little Sunshine and lots of Love” from Native Sun 2012 via Indigenous Soundwaves

‘Out of the Box (feat. Akala)’ –  Native Sun


‘Original Inhabitants’ – Native Sun


…and “Hip Hop, Afrobeat, a little Sunshine and lots of Love” from Native Sun 2015 via the single Day By Day’:


If Native Sun’s sounds are up your musical alley the bonus prize is the opportunity to buy them [relatively] direct from the artists.

Native Sun

Mohammed Yahya & Sarina Leah   (photo by Bumi Thomas)


Native Sun plus everyone else out there – keep making music. Please. May you make it heard in the world; and may humankind support and encourage you to do so.

That’s Beaver’s good old-fashioned dream. :)

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George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic Live: Outta The Funk With The Funk

The word funk has different usages today. Last Friday I was in a deep funk – having had one of the longest, most horrible days of my life.  I didn’t think anything could shift me out of that funk. But when George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic came on stage and started playing at London’s Electric Ballroom, I was reminded (and relieved) that music could. And music did. Funk music in all its wonderfully malleable, distorted P-Funk forms did.

George Clinton live concert - Electric Ballroom, London 2015

George Clinton live at Electric Ballroom

George Clinton and the Parliament Funkadelic collective, no matter who its individual members at any given time, has always been an entertaining beast of immense individual talents and strengths combined. It is still that beast in 2015. And when George Clinton and 17 other artists create and share a feast of P-Funk sounds and visuals with you during 2+ hours, well, you (even you in the deepest of life funks) can’t help but smile at the goodness of it, feel grateful for it and get down to it.

George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic live concert- London 2015

Alongside George Clinton front, side or centre stage at any or all given moments during the London set were the stunning musicianship of Blackbyrd McKnight and Ricky Rouse (guitars) – Garrett Shider (guitar & vocals) – Lige Curry (bass & vocals) – Jerome Rogers (keys/synths) – Greg Thomas (trumpet & vocals) – Bennie Cowan (trumpet & vocals) – Benzel Baltimore Cowan (drums) – Patavian Lewis, Tonysha Nelson, Brandi ScottTra’zae Lewis-Clinton, Trafel Lewis and Thurteen (vocals)…plus one more cat making fleeting appearances amongst the chaotic brilliance of the All-in tracks – who naming for us, will win you a First Ya Gotta Shake The Gate cd-set or George Clinton’s Autobiography sent to your home (promise it’s true).

Parliament Funkadelic concert 2015


From the wonderfully wild and energetic Shake The Gate medley showcasing the talents of the younger P-Funk generation (“Pole Power”+“Baby Like Fonkin’ It Up”+ the sultry, soulful “Meow Meow” featuring Brandi Scott)…

Tra'zae- Parliament Funkadelic live concert 2015

Tra’zae Lewis-Clinton

Garrett Shider- Parliament Funkadelic live concert, London 2015

Garrett Shider


Parliament Funkadelic concert 2015

Tonysha Nelson (l) & Patavian Lewis (r)

Parliament Funkadelic concert 2015

Trafel Lewis

Thurteen - Parliament Funkadelic live concert, London 2015


Parliament Funkadelic live concert, London 2015

Brandi Scott


Meow Meow – George Clinton & Funkadelic – First Ya Gotta Shake The Gate (2014)


– to the mesmerising guitar solos of long-time members Blackbyrd McKnight and Ricky Rouse in “Maggot Brain”

Ricky Rouse - Parliament Funkadelic concert 2015

Ricky Rouse

DeWayne Blackbyrd McKnight- Parliament Funkadelic live concert, London 2015

Blackbyrd McKnight

– to the sweet performance of the Kandy Apple Redd song “Vanish” by George Clinton’s granddaughters Tonysha Nelson and Patavian Lewis…

Tonysha Nelson- Parliament Funkadelic live concert 2015Patavian Lewis - Parliament Funkadelic live concert, London 2015

– and renditions of the greatest-known Parliament/Funkadelic hits like “Flashlight”, “One Nation Under a Groove”, “Bop Gun (Endangered Species)”, “Give Up The Funk (Tear The Roof Off The Sucker)” and “(Not Just) Knee Deep”

Greg Thomas - Parliament Funkadelic live concert 2015

Greg Thomas

Steve Boyd- Parliament Funkadelic live concert, London 2015

Steve Boyd







– to the acrobatic appearances of Sir Nose (aka Carlos McMurray) – the superb foundation of it all created by Benzel Baltimore Cowan on drums and Lige Curry on bass – the delightful horn-lines of Bennie Cowan and Greg Thomas throughout – and undoubtedly also to the sound engineering magic of Dwayne Dungey

…we were purely and simply funked up and entertained, good and proper, as you’d rightly expect to be at a Parliament Funkadelic show.

With George Clinton there in every moment- singing, dancing, facilitating, encouraging or just simply hearing, feeling and appreciating the sounds and energy created by everyone in the room with him.

George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic live concert- London 2015

At only two other live shows have I seen so many different generations of people in the crowd. The first was George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic in Sydney, the second George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic at Bluesfest 2015. Whether in their late teens or 60s they all knew the words to Parliament/Funkadelic songs spanning so many decades – and it was the youngsters gleefully shouting when they saw each well-known and revered P-Funk artist arrive on the Electric Ballroom stage for the first time.

DeWayne Blackbyrd McKnight - Parliament Funkadelic concert 2015

Parliament Funkadelic concert 2015That broad fan base is of course a testament to the very long time George Clinton and his collaborators have been alive and making music, but also to the timeless goodness of that music; and their ability to adapt to the changing times, to stay relevant (ie. keep making awesome music and playing their instruments brilliantly) whatever the contemporary musical landscape may be.

One of these days when we no longer see George Clinton on the Parliament Funkadelic stage jumping up and down and humping speakers like he so admirably does now at 75 years old, or when members of the older Parliament/Funkadelic guard like Blackbyrd McKnight put down his guitar, the Parliament Funkadelic beast will be a different one for sure.

George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic live concert - London 2015

But it will be a beast nonetheless…able (and hopefully willing) to carry the torch and continue delivering funk/rock/soul/jazz/hip hop fusion in new and evolving forms to future generations. It appears that George Clinton and his musical cohorts past and present, dearly-departed and alive, have all seen to that.

George Clinton live concert - Electric Ballroom, London 2015Garrett Shider - Parliament Funkadelic live concert, London 2015

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Roots Manuva, Leon Bridges & Human Snails at Citadel Festival 2015

On a sunny, blue-sky London day I found my way to the inaugural Citadel Festival 2015 for two reasons: to experience an uncommon live performance by veteran Londonite rapper Roots Manuva – and to hear the music of the young, up-and-coming Texan soul artist Leon Bridges.

Roots Manuva concert live at Citadel Festival 2015Leon Bridges live concert at Citadel Festival 2015

Roots Manuva

Roots Manuva came first – the casually, constantly moving rapper of substance and depth Rodney Smith, with a band of bass, drums, keys/samples/synths players and two gorgeous, soulful female back-up vocalists joining him.

He delivered some sounds from the forthcoming new album, but most tracks performed were from beloved albums of old, wonderfully recreated to sound fresh – and extra special with the living energy of a band.

By the end of the Roots Manuva set my ticket and trek out to Citadel was already well worth it.

Roots Manuva concert live at Citadel Festival 2015

Roots Manuva at Citadel Festival 2015

Watch a video here of Roots Manuva performing the ever-popular Witness (1 Hope)  [“Witness to Fitness”] at Citadel Festival:


Past Roots Manuva’s records you probably have on vinyl in your music collection already yes? You can hear his most recent release “Facety 2:11” here and wait like me for the new album coming later this year.


Leon Bridges

Leon Bridges was up next- and while his band sound-checked, dressed in finely-pressed identical satin vests, ties, jackets and cowboy hats, I found myself asking someone next to me if I was at the right stage. Turns out I was, then reminding myself to ignore my conditioned preconceptions about what a 2015 soul band will probably look like.

When the show started and the seemingly-humble Leon Bridges fronted the band on stage, proceeding to showcase the beautifully-soulful songs from his debut album Coming Home so reminiscent of the glorious sounds of old, a joyful smile appeared on my face and my body was moved into action.

Leon Bridges live concert at Citadel Festival 2015

Leon Bridges at Citadel Festival 2015

Throughout the rest of their all-too-short set I couldn’t help but look around me and confusedly wonder Why of Why? I was in the wonderfully multi-cultural melting pot of London hearing the musical goodness I was, surrounded by festival folks of the mostly Anglo-Saxon kind, most of them standing still.

Leon Bridges’ much-hyped debut album Coming Home was released digitally in June. It’s all goodness and then some – and like always, I’m waiting patiently till it’s released in hard copy.

You can check out a video here of one of the tracks from that album, “River”, performed by Leon Bridges solo at Citadel Festival 2015.


More of Citadel Festival?

Did I find much more than Roots Manuva and Leon Bridges at Citadel Festival 2015? Umm, not really. In fairness to the festival, there were lots of musical and non-musical things going on around the Victoria Park site.

Citadel Festival 2015

But as appealing as the tequila bar, blind-folded human snail races and hula hooping looked,  I just wasn’t up for dealing with the dust, the crowds and the long lines for (sold-out) food and drinks.

Citadel Festival 2015

More importantly the other acts on the bill just weren’t up my personal musical alley – and with the Roots Manuva and Leon Bridges shows done and dusted, I had already achieved what I went to the festival for, and was well and truly satisfied.

I did allow myself the added musical bonus of catching Seun Kuti carrying on the AfroBeat tradition in his usual energetic, gyrating form alongside the stunning musicianship of dearly-departed Fela Kuti’s band Egypt 80.

Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 concert - Citadel Festival 2015

Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 at Citadel Festival 2015


Thanks to Citadel Festival 2015 for the live Roots Manuva, Leon Bridges and Seun Kuti experiences :) .

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Beauty by Wallace

When female soul, blues and jazz artist Wallace recently released her debut single Vinyl Skip, I wanted to hear more of the music and vocals this young artist had in store for us.

Wallace Gollan


Wallace Gollan’s EP is not here yet, but her second single is: Beauty.

Wallace - Beauty (feauring Sampa)

Beauty features Sydney’s female rapper Sampa The Great, and has a lyrical message we could all benefit from hearing again and again: finding internal strength and inspiration, learning and growing from experiences good and bad, finding beauty wherever you are and pursuing your passions.

I still want to hear more from Wallace and the whole body of musical work she’s creating for us- as always, in hard copy when it comes.  Waiting patiently…

You can check out the new single Beauty here in the meantime…

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Nneka Live & With Love In The Eutropia Sanctuary

I’ve discovered that when in Rome in the Summertime, the good-vibes, open-air, artistic sanctuary of Eutropia Festival with its killer line-up of music artists seems like the only place in the city to be. Also that when in any part of the world at any time there’s a live Nneka concert to be found, that is most definitely the place to be.

Nneka live in concert at Eutropia Festival 2015

Nneka live at Eutropia Festival 2015

Having loved Nneka’s unique fusion of soul, reggae, Afrobeat and hip-hop music for a long time and having made it my [very-out-of-the-way] mission to get myself to Rome to finally have myself the blessed live Nneka experience, my hopes and expectations for her Eutropia show were incredibly high.

What Nneka and her four-piece band gave (their All), and what the audience received at the gig from the moment they stepped on stage until the last note of the encore played nearly two hours later, went far above and beyond all those hopes and expectations.

with Nneka live in concert at Eutropia Festival 2015

with Nneka live in concert at Eutropia Festival 2015

Nneka live in concert at Eutropia Festival 2015Gros Ngolle Pokossi with Nneka live at Eutropia Festival 2015with Nneka live in concert at Eutropia Festival 2015The five artists with their combined talents, performed nearly all songs on Nneka’s recently-released album My Fairy Tales as well as a handful of her most well-known tracks from Soul Is Heavy and No Longer At Ease.

Despite the serious lyrical content of those songs, one dedicated to “all the refugees who’ve drowned at sea just trying to find a better home, and all the blood shed for religion”, the music and its delivery lifted the Eutropia crowd higher, higher and higher again. As Nneka herself pointed out to the Eutropia crowd, to constantly battle against the world’s injustices is tiring – and to throw love back at those causing the suffering is a much more productive and uplifting exercise. From start to finish positive energy and love were undoubtedly flowing to and from the stage.

Nneka live in concert at Eutropia Festival 2015

Both seeing and hearing the young but seemingly old-soul Nneka, open her self-described (‘Halfcast’) “big lips” and “big mouth” to sing her politically and spiritually charged lyrics with the most truthful and naturally flowing emotions from heart and soul, with her incredible voice, mesmerized me like no other female artist has done before in the live arena except for the divine Erykah Badu.

Nneka live in concert at Eutropia Festival 2015

Get a glimpse of the very special live Nneka experience with this here footage from her Eutropia show. The first song ‘Shining Star’ is a single from her 2011 album Soul Is Heavy, and the second ‘Babylon’ is from the new album My Fairy Tales.


You can also listen below to a compressed mp3 version of the track ‘Book of Job’ from My Fairy Tales, two more here (‘Believe System’ + ‘Local Champion’) and songs from past Nneka albums here. Remember you deserve to hear and have the hold-in-your-hands, uncompressed hard copies in you music collection to love forever after, and in whatever form you choose to get them, Nneka and her musical collaborators deserve your financial support.

Nneka - My Fairy Tales (2015)
Book of Job by Nneka – My Fairy Tales (2015)


Concerts in the good-vibes sanctuary of Eutropia L’Altra Città Festival 2015 continue until September (check out the program here). If you can only get to one, be sure to make it the George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic show tonight :) .

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