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Is your life’s record skipping?…Get Out of the Rut & Into a Groove

C.E. Course [1]: One Nation Under a Groove - Sat. 8/29 10-11:30 EDT

This Post’s Program:

  • Info on a presentation on using music as a means to talk about racial and social justice

  • Brief history of funk

  • Uniting soul and psychedelia

  • African roots of today’s music, including jazz and Afro-Cuban sounds

  • Introducing percussionist Bryan Carrott

  • Kid vids: Whenever possible I include stuff for kids (of all ages)

  • There's a playlist of all the songs at the end - "Groove-on-the-Go"

Take Five: Pressed for time? Check out this children’s 5-min. version of this hope-filled song & dance…there’s also a link to it below…

“This is a chance

This is a chance

To dance your way

Out of your constrictions”

(my add: Your “constipations” – both Left & Right)

--These lyrics & the next 2 sets are from One Nation Under a Groove by Parliament Funkadelic

Sat. 8/29 10-11:30 EDT

“Ready or not here we come

Gettin' down on

The one which we believe in

One nation under a groove”

About this Event (for men & women)

Illuman Illinois presents a 90 minute Zoom webinar discussion with Henry Beecher Hicks III, President & CEO of the National Museum of African American Music (NMAAM). Illuman’s male spirituality community is eager to engage in a deeper dialogue about the issues of race and social justice, and are realistic about how difficult this topic is for even the most sincere participants, and Henry has a demonstrated ability to get to the hard issues in a most engaging and thoughtful manner. The starting point for our Webinar is Henry’s recent talk at TedX Nashville entitled “One Nation Under A Groove”, which looked at the history of African American music as the anthems of survival, hope and justice throughout the American centuries, shouting that Black Lives Matter long before the movement had been given that particular name.

“With the groove our only guide

We shall all be moved”

“One nation and we're on the move

Nothin' can stop us now”

“Gettin' down just for the funk”

“Feet don't fail me now

Givin' you more of what you're funkin' for

Feet don't fail me now

Do you promise to funk?

The whole funk, nothin' but the funk”

--National Museum of African American Music - Nashville

Additional Preparation/Prefunkeration

In case you flunked out and missed this musical movement/vibe…I’m givin’ ya another chance to...


--25-minute live version featuring George Clinton and the band

--1-hr. 2005 documentary – a history of the band’s psycho-spiritual/musical evolution

--features children singing and dancing a hope-filled vibe. Very encouraging!!!

[1] Credit: .5 to 3.0 C.E. (Consciousness Education) – credit based on how much you let in and how much you allow it to change you. Honor system!

The rest of this tale is not for credit but simply for your headucation [sic].

How I Got Notified About Henry Hicks, III & Saturday’s Presentation

After participating in Illuman of Ohio’s recent workshop “Reckoning with our Past – Transforming Racial Pain in America” (you can read about it in my recent post: “RACISM – There’s only one race – the human race”), I got an email from Illuman of Illinois about their event “One Nation Under a Groove.” These transforming programs are part of my current inner work of understanding the roots of racism – not just in our systems (government, corporate and religious organizations) but, more importantly, in my own head and heart.

NOTE: See links at the end of this post for information about Illuman and about other organizations that are helping address the longstanding issues of systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation and the war economy.

Racism in the Music World

--“Though jazz is a genre shared and revered by people of all backgrounds, there’s no equivocating: The music is the sonic embodiment of the Black experience in America. As Louis Armstrong once said, ‘What we play is life.’

While people rise up all over the world in protest of George Floyd’s killing and the ubiquity of white supremacy, jazz remains a key expression of Black freedom, pain, beauty and community in a world that rarely offers generosity or justice to Black people. And yet, the realities of the jazz industry—particularly its institutionalization and attempts at commercialization—don’t always represent the form’s genesis.” Continues at the above link.

Puttin' the “delic” in “Funkadelic”

Furthur-ing [sic] Your C.E.

"The Bus came by and I got on. That's when it all began."

The Other One – Grateful Dead (see link below)

Soul Psychedelics

In 1977 Eileen and I were looking for a wedding band and we might have listened to the ones recommended by the staff at the hall were would be using (Jericho Manor, now Terrace in Mineola), but nothing moved us - so…here’s how the rest of this adventure unfolded…

My Grandmother Julia “Nanny” Burns worked in a Brooklyn public school cafeteria. She was extremely outgoing – everyone liked her. She was also “colorblind.” Rather than a handicap, it was an asset. See, she didn’t see folks as the color of their skin – she saw deeper, with almost childlike simplicity. Everyone was a potential friend with whom she could share a story (she was fully Irish) or a dessert – or both.

Nanny was always going to events of co-workers – any color – anywhere she could have fun. One night I was asked to pick her up after a wedding of the daughter of one of her black co-workers. So three hippies – me, Eileen and our friend Charlie – trucked on over to Brooklyn in my green & white taxi (VW Bus). Well, upon arriving, we found out that the party was still goin’ on and not about to stop. The bride’s mom greeted us, invited us in – no wedding garments needed…we had on our freakin’ duds – and had the waiter set places for us. Cool! As we were eating we started listening to the band and noticed how many people were up and dancing….and that soon included us. Well, we had so much fun dancing and enjoying how the lead singer interacted with the folks, that, after the party, we got his card and signed him up.

As you can see, this story had a happy and hippie ending…and there’s more…one year later my brother Mike and his wife Linda used them – much to the chagrin of some of the older relatives, who had to endure another night of soul psychedelia.

If ya got a few more than 5…

…other music with African roots

--Afro-Cuban sound

--Tito visits the Street

--Tito’s timbales on display at the Smithsonian (Source)

--starting around 1:15, check out his “flute/piccolo” player doing some scatting: using voices imitating instruments and vice versa

--also check out the street art on his drum kit

Yeah, there is another version…and I got play it before one more Take Five…

--If you’re not keepin’ time/banging on something or up dancin’, have someone check your pulse…

--seems like half his band is in the percussion section…Tito would be proud…

--fusion of scat singing and jazz

Good Vibrations from Bryan Carrott

--I first met Bryan at a church I attended. He played in the house band with my son John – Bryan on percussion, including vibraphone and drums, and John on keyboard.

--Bryan has shared his talents with many groups – check out YouTube for samples

--Bio: Bryan Carrott is an American jazz musician playing vibraphone and marimba. He has recorded with Butch Morris, Henry Threadgill, Dave Douglas, David 'Fathead' Newman, Ralph Peterson, Steven Kroon, Greg Osby, Tom Harrell, John Lurie and the Lounge Lizards, Jay-Z and others. He is an assistant professor and coordinator of percussion instruction at Five Towns College.

--Bryan taught one of my son’s piano students when he enrolled at Five Towns.

Some Musicians Still Vibrate After They’re Dead

The Other One: The Long Strange Trip of Bob Weir (Cartoon version of song’s origin)

--small band (2 guys, 2 instruments, no electric) opens us to a BIG UNIVERSE

Instruments of Rebellion

Drums Banned

In Mr. Hicks, III’s TEDx talk, he mentioned a slave uprising in the America’s in the late 1700’s. The drums were thereafter outlawed after their owners realized that the slaves had been using their drums to communicate with one another.

--“In sub-Saharan Africa, rhythms, spiritual dimensions and the order of the universe are not generally separated into compartments in the mind of most people. Traditional African societies acknowledge that the drum has a spirit and character that is clearly observable. It is believed by many African communities that voices of great ancestors are hidden inside the wood of trees so they could be accessed whenever men and women need them. African history has been maintained through an oral tradition.” There’s more at the above link.

--“It is absolutely necessary to the safety of this Province, that all due care be taken to restrain Negroes from using or keeping of drums, which may call together or give sign or notice to one another of their wicked designs and purposes.”

“— Slave Code of South Carolina, Article 36 (1740).” There’s more at the above link.

Slave Rebellions – on land and sea

--includes those in the South and NYC and from 1663 to the Civil War

-- “Street bands playing Rock’n’Roll in Berlin, Marvin Gaye in a local bar in Thailand, Nas blaring on the streets of Johannesburg, House Music in the mega-clubs of Shanghai — wherever one goes in the world today, no effort is needed to find African-American music and its derivatives.” More at the above link.

Harps Banned

--As they traveled the countryside, Irish harpists would sing their songs about British oppression. “In the 16th century the music of the harp was seen as such a threat that the British Crown attempted to crush the Irish Spirit by ordering all harps to be burnt and all harpists executed. It was almost 200 years before the music of the harp was freely enjoyed in Ireland once again.” More at the above link.

Songs Banned

AM radio stations in Boston & New York banned it because they feared it would incite young people to violence. There’s a link to the song in the article and I added two more below.

--“Jimmy Page has described hearing ‘Rumble’ as a pivotal moment. Iggy Pop credits it as the reason he became a musician.” More on banning at the above link.

--even more fuzz and feedback than the original

About Illuman

Please see my "Men's Journey" page for further info.

Ending the Systemic Evils of Racism, Poverty, Ecological Devastation & War Economy

Building a movement to overcome systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation and the war economy. To find your state/local group enter your ZIP Code in the "Find My Committee" box on the home page.

For several months I've been participating in both New York and Long Island chapters and they are helping me connect with people who, unlike me and my family, have been directly impacted by unjust social policies - many of them have been in this place for a long time - way before the pandemic increased their vulnerability.

I recently participated in their weekend training in nonviolence. See my blog post for more.

I frequently blog about the influential power of music. Here’s a recent sampling:

Funkin’ with ya’,



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