Welcome to the month of June. Where the month is devoted to Dads, June Grads, the Summer Soltice, Juneteenth Day on June 19th, Flag Day, Pride Month and most of all: Black Music Month!
This year, I’m looking at my Facebook Newsfeeds and others, and I’m looking this footage story about Sir Mix-A-Lot and the Seattle Symphony. No really, I did. And I’ll bet many of you probably done the same thing. Probably between work in all. Or finals, or just off the stage with your class of 2014. Check this: Shout out to the Seattle Symphony. Now I’m looking at this footage with combined genres and I must tell you, that was crazy! Off the chain. Off the hook. All of that. Now according to the wires, the Seattle Symphony has been doing this for 3 years with it’s Sonic Evolution in creating a path between the symphony and the well known popular artists of the city. This year they continued that tradition in form of the songs “Posse on Broadway” and “Baby Got Back”. Made famous by Sir Mix-A-Lot whom is a native of the Seattle Community. Many of us in our 30’s and 40’s know the music of Sir Mix-A-Lot very well. There are those who don’t whom probably just got realized. Anyway, if anyone has not seen it, check this:
Now I know after seeing that there are those who probably might go in like “Wow” or “I’ve never seen or heard rap music with symphony before” or “Oh God, that was a travesty! Seeing those women on that stage shaking their butts like that. Especially that girl in the black dress. What are we teaching our children?! Shame on them!” Oh boy, we know those comments. Now I know also that there are those who have been vocal against it, or vocal against the idea of mixing symphony music with the commonality of Hip Hop, Funk, Rap and many others. Personally this is nothing new. And mostly, we all know that “booty shaking” music is not new either. Really youngsters, it’s not. But on the flip side, the combining of two elements of music like symphony and rap is mostly common, but also good. And it should be good for the arts to incorporate ideas for those who can’t afford to go to a symphony or an orchestra concert of interest. And by the way, the chick in the black dress waited 20 years to get her groove on the same stage as the Seattle born rap artist. By doing the math: she’s in her late 30’s.
Now since the Seattle Symphony has shown us a way to bridge it’s own music roots together, I’ll bet many other cities are probably going to take a look at this and gain some ideas. Even if you’re in Milwaukee. Oh, I know that the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra might to a mix of one of the city’s well known artists from the R&B or Hip Hop Scene. I can see a collaboration with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and let’s say………Coo Coo Cal or the Charles Walker Band. That could work. Or if Tank has a chance or Eric Benet have a chance, could they do a symphony collaboration with Milwaukee’s Own Symphony? Anything’s possible!
Sir Mix-A-Lot just made the list of black artists who collaborated music with classical sound. But there were others:
Tina Turner – River Deep Mountain High
Puff Daddy – Come with me from the Godzilla Soundtrack (1998)
Various Black Artists in the Hip Hop/R&B/Jazz Communities have done collaborations with Miri Ben Ali (aka the Hip Hop Violinist) with the artists of Kanye West, Alicia Keys, Wyclef Jean, Patti LaBelle, Wynton Marsalis, and the host of others.
Aretha Franklin, at one point stood in for the late Luciano Pavarotti for the song “Nessun Dorma” back in 1998 during the Grammy Awards.
And many more have done it.
So I don’t see this idea going away soon. Who knows, maybe some other symphony group might get a nod from a well known artists of urban music might join in the fun.