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Young, Gifted, Black and Avant Garde

May 8, 2009

This is already snowballing into something bigger.

I woke up this morning to the usual coffee, smokes and words and an article I’d been meaning to get to for a while. Back in March, over at Esther Ivereem’s excellent Seeing Black site, black American experimental musician Morgan Craft asked the question where are the young Black America experimental musicians under 50?

While I was waiting for approval to join the discussion on their forum I said fuck it, and figured I’d just start a list.

It’s getting to be a pretty long fucking list.

Which is great news for a longer, more involved project I’m working on (hint: black, white, read all over an bigger than a breadbox) but bad news for someone who’s on deadline and needs to be writing. So in the interest of brevity, and me getting my ass to work on time, here’s the 1st ten. There a couple of gimme’s and a few you probably haven’t heard, or at least heard much of.  I’ll post another 10 later. The rest I think I’ll just keep in the pocket for now.

I was pretty liberal with what defines avant garde and experimental, and there’s some punk, some rock and a little hip hop and out there R&B.  We can follow the Rob Fields school and label them all as Black Rock or we can classify the groups as “other” or just wait ’til some young enterprising music journalist finds a way to lump them all together, (or at least until I’ve had enough coffee to start being creative for the morning).

But until then…

Onyx Ashanti

Walter Kitundu

The New Bloods

Tamar Kali

Broun Fellinis



Janelle Monae

DJ Spooky

The Oxbow

Of course there are tons of people to include, but one thing I noticed was a lack of female and LGBT artists. I know damned well there are a lot more woman and brown queerfolk making music and art these days. If you are one or know one, hit me at kwan dot booth at gmail dot com.

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