FUNKADESI: A YEAR IN REVIEW (Dec 6 2013 – Dec 6 2014)

FUNKADESI: A YEAR IN REVIEW                     (Dec 6 2013-Dec 6 2014)

Folks, what a great year it’s been!  As we celebrate our 18th year anniversary TONITE , we thought it would be fun to reflect on highlights since last year.  We have to start with the wonderful Martyrs’ celebration this time last year,

Funkadesi 17th together cakewhich included a surprise proposal by our very own Carlos to Michelle!!!

carlos proposal

In January, we were received wonderfully by the Tulsa Children’s Museum as we did an all-ages show there. Tulsa

In February, we were thrilled to be named Artist-In-Residence by Lake Forest College, doing 3 days of workshops, classroom visits, and performances.

lake forest why notA highlight: the 2-part workshop entitled Drumming for Social Justice: Forming a Multicultural Drum Circle.  The first night, we had eight people show up.  The next night, we had 50!!!

Later in February, we performed (for the first time in YEARS) at the Chicago Music Awards, where we were honored to receive the award for Most Outstanding Group. We were thrilled to also be there for our very own guitarist Abdul Hakeem getting a LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD!!!

Chicago Music Awards 2014

Abdul Award Worthy

Fast forward a bit, and we get to do more of the innovative programming we’ve been preparing to do.  In June, Camp Masala (a wonderful group of parents that have adopted or are going to adopt children of South Asian origin) wrote a grant to have us come out to St. Paul, MN, and do a performance and workshops on culture and identity, centering on the notion of “Cultural Fusion.” — and we were blown away by the response to us all talking about our own identities, and what fusion means to us, musically and culturally.  Some folks were moved to tears, and when we left that banquet lunch after the workshops, we got a standing ovation!  The post-weekend huddle at the airport shows you how much we were glowing after such a unique and delightful experience!

Camp Masala lunch

camp masala prep huddleAfter that, we were all thrilled that Carlos followed through on the betrothal 😉  — a grand celebration it was!  (As you can see, even the groom can’t stay away from jamming with the band!)

carlos michelle wedding Carlos at his own wedding










We had a marvelous summer with festivals and such (including a photo-shoot for an upcoming “Men of Funkadesi” calendar),  :-0

Men of Funkadesi calendar

Our Fall was largely filled with out-of-town, Performing Arts Center concerts.  What made them all the sweeter was coupling them with daytime, school-oriented performances & workshops!!! Chico, CA, Fayetteville, AK, Lubbock, TX, Spencer, WI, Detroit Lakes, MN — all integrated performances & workshops with the community!  After the wonderful Lubbock performance, where our CD signing lasted 90 minutes, we thought it important to pay tribute to Tim Cole by visiting his statue.  (Cole was an African-American college student wrongfully convicted of rape, who died in prison.)

Lubbock Funkadesi Tim Cole statueWe are all deeply moved by the historic and ongoing miscarriages of justice, and our common conviction to combine compassion with an INSISTENCE of MUTUAL RESPECT, and FULL HUMANITY is only made stronger.  Ashe Tim Cole.  May we honor you and other victims of injustice through remembering, and peacefully and consistently crying out for justice for all.

Taking on a 1400 mile road trip, our dear Funkadesi friend and photographer Mark Ness joined us as our driver for our last tour through the midwest.  Mark Ness on da road

The trip culminated in a “van jam” live on the radio — KFAI Minnesota Public Radio. You can check out a clip on our Facebook page — it went kind of viral!

And so, here we are, 1 year later, hopefully wiser, and most importantly, committed to each other, and excited for what’s next.  Our heartfelt thanks to all those who have continued to love & 18 years blow out the candlessupport us all these years!nice stage shot hands up