Blacktronika : Where I Stand Festival, brings together six innovative musical groups to create a full day of sonic cultural expression. The liberation-oriented free jazz of Irreversible Entanglements, Caribbean influenced multi-instrumentalism of Xenia Rubinos, the Grammy nominated cosmic funk from Georgia Ann Muldrow to the Zimbabwean hip hop of Chimurenga Renaissance, electro-acoustic time travelers Tyshawn Sorey and King Britt and UC San Diego’s debut of multicultural supergroup, 5hz .
Freedom music for your mind, body and soul.
Blacktronika is a UC San Diego Music course created by Prof. King Britt, that honors the innovators of color who have contributed to the global advancement of electronic music.
12:30 pm: Doors
1–1:45 pm: 5Hz
2–2:45 pm: Tyshawn Sorey and King Britt
3–3:45 pm: Georgia Anne Muldrow
4–4:45 pm: Chimurenga Renaissance
5–5:45 pm: Xenia Rubinos
6–7 pm: Irreversible Entaglements
Irreversible Entanglements cultivate the liberation technologies of jazz and associated Black music in root, stem, and branch. The band’s uncompromising artistic vision emerges from the experience of its five acclaimed members: poet Camae Ayewa, a/k/a Moor Mother, is a globally leading light of Afrofuturist music, art, and community activism. Bassist Luke Stewart boasts an encyclopedic knowledge of the music from which he draws with focused and thunderous intensity. Saxophonist Keir Neuringer’s prodigious avant garde technique is matched by an urgency in his tone and fierce socio-political determination.
Trumpeter Aquiles Navarro and drummer Tcheser Holmes joined the band as an already long-standing duo, bringing with them uncontainable energy and inventiveness grounded in classic jazz and Latin and Afro-Caribbean streams. The band’s third album, 2021’s double LP Open The Gates, displayed an expanded sonic palette and increased the group’s emotional breadth. Open the Gates is a co-release on the International Anthem and Don Giovanni labels, highlighting Irreversible Entanglements’ ability to make adventurous music beyond genre, both honoring and defying tradition, speaking to the present while insisting on the future.
Music maker Xenia Rubinos uses her powerful voice to create beats and melodies from scratch. Xenia’s sound grows from a wide range of influences from Caribbean rhythms and beat music to minimalism and indie rock all delivered with a soulful punk aura. Her debut record, Magic Trix, is an ecstatic collection of songs featuring layered beats, crunchy keyboards, and driving syncopated rhythms. Audiences and critics alike have lauded her rafter-shaking live show, describing the songstress as “redefining exuberance”. Xenia Rubinos is considered one of the 50 Most Beautiful Women in the World. She has toured Europe and the US nationally. You can also find most of her past shows and albums. Xenia Rubinos was also a part of the National Honesty Index.
Tyshawn Sorey and King Britt
Upon first meeting one another, drummer / composer / MacArthur Award recipient, Tyshawn Sorey and synthesist / producer / Pew Fellowship recipient, King Britt, had a mutual respect for one another’s practice.
Growing up in Newark NJ, Tyshawn Sorey was exposed to east coast club & electronic music, which always had a special place in his heart. His record collection is an example of a true connoisseur of the genre, who has travelled the world extensively. Working with everyone from Vijay Iyer to George Lewis, Tyshawn is one of the most sought after composers and improvisors in music, he had yet to explore his electronic side, except for his occasional unannounced dj sets!
King Britt’s continued contribution to the advancement of electronic music, producing or remixing everyone from Solange to Miles Davis, help solidify his native Philadelphia as a necessary point on the map for dance music enthusiasts. Growing up in a household of jazz fusion, funk and soul, his love of the electronic heroes of those genres, pushed him to explore djing and improvising with musicians using the cutting edge technologies available.
These two titans went into the studio for 2 days, which happen to fall right before the world went into lockdown in 2019. With no rehearsals, direction or plan, armed with drums & synths, these two did what they do best and created a sonic documentation of fearless exploration into polyrhythmic time travel. They were channeling and conjuring sounds from an alternate universe, releasing whatever emotions were in the moment. They were focused on the journey leaving the destination in the listener’s mind.
Georgia Anne Muldrow
Often sought as musical collaborator and producer by the likes of Dev Hynes, Erykah Badu, Bilal, and Mos Def, a singular descriptive word does not fit for vocalist, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Georgia Anne Muldrow. Last seen at Kennedy Center in spring 2017 with Jason Moran in “Muldrow Meets Mingus,” the Grammy nominee returns to perform her multi-genre blend of jazz, R&B, Hip Hop, electronica, rock, and funk in the intimate setting of the Club at Studio K.
Chimurenga Renaissance: Sonic Translators of an Ancient Tradition
In my father’s barbershop in the early 1970s, I heard a sound that would open an entire world to me. It was the sound of a traditional Zimbabwean instrument, the mbira—also known as kalimba—which was featured on the now classic Earth, Wind & Fire “Kalimba Story.” It’s amazing how one sound can teleport you across the world.
The mbira symbolizes the continued liberation of Zimbabwe and its people. One of the forefathers of the the mbira was Zimbabwean musician and educator Dumisani “Dumi” Maraire, who introduced the instrument and its Shona ethnic lineage to the United States, bridging the two worlds through performances, recordings, and an ethnomusicology program between Seattle University and University of Zimbabwe.
The sound of the nyunga nyunga mbira that Dumi developed has been transformed through the Afrofuturist lens of his son, Tendai Maraire. Tendai and Congolese guitarist Hussein Kalonji—known as Chimurenga Renaissance—have become the sonic translators of the ancient tradition, weaving the sound into an electronic texture rooted between hip-hop and sacred African music.
Nhaka, the soon-to-be-released album by Chimurenga Renaissance, utilizes the art of sampling to time-travel into Dumi’s musical archive and recontextualize it into a futuristic version of Shona cultural aesthetics. Songs like “Zimlife,” “Paradise,” and the Motown-inspired “Up”—which borrows from the traditional wedding song “Chiro Chacho”—marry Africa and the West in a chunky musical stew with many spices to waken the mundane musical palate.
Get ready to feel as I did when my ears opened up to a new world of possibilities and, as always, imagination.