Dexter Story celebrates the release of director Lake Bell’s “I Do… Until I Don’t” film on September 1. Story composed the original music score.
The program, in its 3rd season, is a 20-month commitment by mid-career professionals from all parts of the performing arts presenting field who are interested not just in improving their capabilities as leaders but in growing and influencing the knowledge and practices of the field of performing arts presenting. The program is organized by annual cohorts of Fellows all of whom have demonstrated a commitment to a collaborative process that will enhance the knowledge, skills, and overall capacity needed to effect change in their current work and for the future.
December 13, 2016 – Brownswood Recordings announces worldwide release of Dexter Story-produced Daymé Arocena album ‘Cubafonia.’ The new album drops on March 10, 2017 and is led by the Cuban/New Orleans Second Line-inspired single “Mambo Na Ma.”
With Cuba poised to become more connected to the rest of the world, the Cuban people’s pride in a unique musical heritage has never felt more vital. Arising from that lineage, Daymé Arocena has returned to deliver an ambitious second long player; rooting her compositions in Cuba’s classic rhythms, Daymé encompasses the rich, diverse musical make-up of her home whilst looking outward too – to the world she has spent the last two years traveling.
It’s her most polished, fully realized project since meeting her mentor (and record label head), Gilles Peterson, in 2012. Benefiting from Gilles’ expansive vision as a DJ, broadcaster and promoter, Daymé has been nurtured to this point by the Havana Cultura project – a platform for contemporary Cuban creativity driven by Havana Club rum.
First, there was 2014’s Havana Cultura Mix album, which introduced her to working with electronic producers for the first time. She then accompanied Gilles in his journey through rumba culture for the expansive Havana Club Rumba Sessions project, which produced a feature-length documentary along with an album – using her distinctive vocals – of rumba reimaginings and sample pack. As a solo artist, she released her debut album Nueva Era to critical and popular acclaim in 2015, with an EP of cover versions, titled One Takes, released in early 2016.
The reception to her music has spurred a whirlwind of opportunities: she shared an off-the-cuff live moment with Roy Ayers and Brazilian superstar Ed Motta to leave Worldwide Festival in tears of joy, jumped on stage with Miguel Atwood-Ferguson at his triumphant Suite for Ma Dukes show at the Barbican, and rung the opening bell of the New York Stock Exchange with a delegation from Women of the World. She has played shows from LA to Tokyo, charming audiences with her mesmerizing vocal range and earthy sense of humour. She name-checks Kendrick Lamar and Anderson .Paak as artists she would love to work with.
Dexter Story’s “Wejene Aola” 7″ release makes Vinyl Factory’s top 10 list for 2016.
4. Dexter Story ft. Kamasi Washington
An Ethio-funk bomb from Dexter Story, whose cover Tilahun Gessesse’s 1970 ‘Wejene Aola‘ is a homage to the oppressed Oromo people of southern Ethiopia and a testament to just how contemporary the country’s verdant ‘70s music scene still sounds. Taken from the brilliant Wondem album, Story is joined by spiritual jazz messenger Kamasi Washington, who blows a riot all over the new arrangement, his rasping, honking sax proving he can funk with the best of them. The b-side features the only track not to make the vinyl pressing of the LP, the dream-like ‘Eastern Prayer’, a spiritual antidote to the hedonism of ‘Wejene Aola’ carried by the meditational chants of vocalist Nia Andrews. A unique 7” from a label whose consistent reissue output is now being matched by some stellar new music.
Dexter Story guest lectures on Ethiopian music to a course of sophomores from the jazz and classical departments at USC’s Thornton School of Music on Monday, November 7.
Commentary: I am very lucky to have spoken on the history and technique of Ethiopian music in Professor Adam Gilbert’s ‘Music and Ideas’ course at USC. The students were interactive and seemed inspired. I covered the modes, rhythms, historical origins and other discussion points. Professor Gilbert is a Ph.d in Early Music with the school and I appreciate his invitation.
Dexter Story completes the recording and mixing of Daymé Arocena’s new Brownswood Recordings album (Title TBD) in La Habana, Cuba and Los Angeles, CA. Story was brought on to produce the emerging Cuban songstress’ new upcoming record by international DJ, radio host and label owner Gilles Peterson. Songs were written by Daymé Arocena with arrangements by Daymé Arocena and Angel “Gaston” Joya Parellada.
Recording and Mix Studios:
Estudios Abdala – La Habana, Cuba (Engineer: Peña)
Red Gate Recorders – Los Angeles, CA (Engineer: Chris Harbach)
Stagg Street Studio – Van Nuys, CA (Engineer: Josh Franks)
Dexter Story drops a new 7″ vinyl single on Soundway Records entitled “Wejene Aola” featuring Kamasi Washington. The song was originally sung by Ethiopian legend Tilahun Gessesse and released on cassette in the 1970’s. Story’s version is in tribute to the resilient Oromo ethnic group and includes “Eastern Prayer” featuring Nia Andrews on the b-side.
Dexter Story (with team partners Tafarai Bayne, Rocio Contreras, Glauz Diego and Cristina Pacheco) co-produces the 5th annual South LA Power Fest 2016 on Saturday, September 3rd. Presented by Community Coalition, the free one-day festival features performances by Bilal, MixedByAli (of TDE), Patrick Paige (of the Internet), Jungle Fire, Ras G, El-Haru Kuroi, Mr. Choc, Rae Khalil, DJ Wordamouph and hostess Jimetta Rose. This year’s theme is voter engagement and awareness.
Join us for the 5th Annual Power Fest on September 3, 2016. Power Fest is the premier political music festival in South LA that attracts thousands of families in a day of celebration, empowerment, and education.
Come enjoy a great music, art installations, good food, health resources, and special activities for kids! Your not going to want to miss out.
This year’s Power Fest will promote the importance of voting in this November election, and educate the community on key state and local ballot initiatives.
RSVP at our website: http://SouthLAPowerfest.com/
Dexter Story discusses his newest release Wondem on Soundway Records and his passion for Ethiopian music and culture with dublab.com’s Mark McNeil for 89.3 KPCC. The article was publishes August 3, 2016.
Dexter Story performs on new Carlos Niño album Flutes, Echoes, It’s All Happening! on Leaving Records and first single “It’s Happening!” Slated for release on April 22, the album features Madlib, Kamasi Washington, Flying Lotus collaborator Miguel Atwood-Ferguson and new age legend Iasos. The announcement was made via Pitchfork.com on March 14.Los Angeles producer, composer, and arranger Carlos Niño has announced his new album, Flutes, Echoes, It’s All Happening!. It’s out April 22 via Leaving. Niño, who hosted the Spaceways Radio Show on L.A.’s KPFK for two decades, is a fixture of the city’s independent music scene. His full-length features Madlib, Kamasi Washington, Iasos, and Miguel Atwood-Ferguson (Flying Lotus, Lana Del Rey, Big Boi), among others. The announcement is accompanied by the single “It’s All Happening!,” which features Madlib, Jamire Williams and Dexter Story, with strings by Atwood-Ferguson. Listen above and find the tracklist below.
Flutes, Echoes, It’s All Happening!:
01 Jupiter Sings [ft. Iasos]
02 Metamaravilla [ft. Luis Pérez Ixoneztli with strings by Miguel Atwood-Ferguson]
03 It’s All Happening! [ft. Madlib with strings by Miguel Atwood-Ferguson]
04 Calimayan [ft. Nate Morgan and Yaakov Levy]
05 Alice’s Chord (Live) [ft. Yaakov Levy and Dexter Story]
06 Joyous Gratitude (Live) [ft. The Cosmic Band and Kamasi Washington]
07 Delightfulllll / Waterfall [ft. Iasos]
08 4 Directions Collage [with strings by Miguel Atwood-Ferguson]
09 Aetheriaztlan [ft. Turn On The Sunlight and Aztlan Unearthed]
Photo by Grace Oh
Cover Art by Jesse Moretti
Dexter Story with partners Radio Afrique and Azla Vegan launch video of Girma Yifrashewa performing “The Shepherd with the Flute” live in South Pasadena, CA on March 25.
GIRMA YIFRASHEWA – “The Shepherd with the Flute”
Recorded March 25, 2015, live at The Carriage House in South Pasadena, CA.
Presented by Radio Afrique, Azla Vegan & Dexter Story.
Video by Mike Park & Maya Santos.
“This short piece is composed in such a way as to reflect the serene, simple rural life in Ethiopia. It also reflects my personal wishes for love, hope and understanding in our world. The theme is taken from a very popular and beloved composition “The Shepherd Flutist,” by the late Professor Ashenafi Kebede (1938-1998). The piano piece is dedicated to Prof. Ashenafi Kebede who has made an immense contribution to the growth of Ethiopian music.” – Girma Yifrashewa
Born in Addis Ababa in 1967, Girma Yifrashewa’s life in music began with the Kirar, a harp-like traditional Ethiopian string instrument, at a tender age. He was introduced to piano at the age of 16 when he joined the Yared School of Music in Addis Ababa, and continued his studies at the Sofia State Conservatory of Music in Bulgaria with the support of the Ethiopian government. Despite losing his scholarship after only three years due to the fall of the Communist regime in 1989, Yifrashewa emigrated to Italy where, while under the care of Caritas, his talent and desire to return to his studies in Bulgaria was discovered by the Christian Brothers. Through their support he was able to return to the Sofia Conservatory in 1991, where he graduated with a Masters in Piano under Professor Atanas Kurtev.
Yifrashewa returned to Ethiopia in 1995, teaching piano at the Yared School of Music until 2001. He received scholarships for short-term specialization courses from the British and German Governments, at the Royal Academy of Music in London (1997) and at the Hochschule fur Music Und Theater in Leipzig (1999). Currently Yifrashewa works to promote Ethiopian and Classical Music throughout the continent and beyond.
Dexter Story lectures on Ethiopian music and culture in UCLA Professor Jesse Ruskin’s ‘Music From Around The World’ undergraduate ethnomusicology course on Wednesday, January 13. Kibrom Birhane assisted me on vocals and massinqo.
One of the highlights of 2016 for me thus far was lecturing on Ethiopian music and culture in Dr. Jesse Ruskin’s “Music From Around The World” course at UCLA. I had never spoken publicly on Ethiopia outside of the music club or band stage and was honored by the invitation. Professor Ruskin started with a broad overview of the music of East Africa including a recap of his prior lectures, examples of regional migration patterns, musicians, traditional instruments, and then handed it off to me. I covered the origins of music from the Axumite kingdom and the beginnings of the Solomonic dynasty through the Christianization of Ethiopia and through the Swinging Addis modern music period of the 1960’s and 1970’s to the present techno-indigenous artistry of 2016. As an example of the liturgical language of the tewahedo orthodox church, I invited my friend Kibrom to sing in Ge’ez. His voice was incredibly beautiful. I shared with the students about my early encounters with Ethiopian culture during my undergraduate years at U.C. Berkeley, about the making of my new record #Wondem and about my recent 2-week explorational trip to Ethiopia. My presentation also included sheet music examples of the modes and rhythms as well as audio material. I look forward to doing it again soon and would like to thank Dr. Jesse Ruskin and the Department of Ethnomusicology at UCLA for allowing me to participate in the course. A final note: The irony of this lecture opportunity is that it happened as I am awaiting word about my application to the UCLA African Studies M.A. program.
Dr. Jesse D. Ruskin Bio:
Ruskin’s writing has appeared in the Journal of the Society for Ethnomusicology, Black Music Research Journal, Ethnomusicology Review, and most recently the Los Angeles Times. Forthcoming work will appear in the Yearbook for Traditional Music, the Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World, and A Festschrift in Honor of Professor Emeritus J. H. Kwabena Nketia. He was Editor-in-Chief of the online academic journal Pacific Review of Ethnomusicology from 2006-2008.
LinkedIn Profile: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/jesse-ruskin/8a/294/83a/
Academia.edu Profile: https://ucla.academia.edu/JesseRuskin
Specialty: Musical creativity and cultural entrepreneurship among Yorùbá musicians in Nigeria and the United States; audiovisual archiving; biographical methods in ethnomusicology; Cambodian American popular music.
Ph.D., Ethnomusicology, UCLA 2013; M.A., Ethnomusicology, UCLA 2006; B.A., Sociology/Music, Tufts University 1996
Dexter Story releases East Africa-influenced #Wondem album on Soundway Records worldwide on Friday, October 23. The album is produced by Life Force Trio cohorts Dexter Story and Carlos Niño, and features guests Miguel-Atwood Ferguson, Mark de Clive-Lowe, Nia Andrews, Damon Aaron, Godfrey at Large, Yared Teshale and others.
Buy your copy here.
“Lalibela” from ‘Wondem’ featured on Bandcamp Weekly show hosted by Andrew Jervis. Featured guest: Son Little. Click here to listen.
Pre-Order ‘Wondem’ here.