Music, dance celebrate African American culture

African culture filled Historic Market Square for the 29th annual Kuumba Festival on Friday, June 22. The public celebrated the free festival with entertainment on the stage from noon to 10 p.m.

African American Appalachian Arts brought the festival to fruition. The nonprofit grassroots organization helps plan this annual festival and concentrates on bringing positive social, economic and community development through cultural arts programming.

This year’s theme, “Kuumba Forever,” honored the legacy of former Executive Director Nkechi Ajanaku who died last summer.

“I think people need to see this and experience new things,” Chelsey Goons, a UT student, said. “It really shows how much there is out there in the world to see and encourages young people to embrace their true culture.”

The “Love is the Answer” Youth Art Showcase encouraged child development through the arts.

Felecia Outsey, the creator of “Love is the Answer,” said, “[The showcase] started with me wanting to be able to have something in place for kids who could not afford to go to take dance lessons, and I was once one of those kids.”

“The initiative is an open-mic performance community showcase that is hosted every month, but what we do is use that time to teach love to children and people in our community.”

MC Zakiyyah “Sista Zock Solid” Modeste and DJ K Swift hosted the event through both sunny weather and a deluge. The Kuumba Watoto Children’s Dance and Drum Extravaganza proved a popular feature as performers livened up the scene despite the rain.

The festival ended with a live concert from local singer and poet Daje Morris and the Ogya World Music Band.

 

Images of the Kuumba Watoto Children’s Dance and Drum group by Sage Davis

Edited by Lexie Little

 

Indie artists perform at Smart & Becker

Two Nashville-native artists, Augustus Carroll and Austin Feinstein, performed with local artist Daje Morris in an intimate concert at the Smart & Becker Wednesday night.

As Carroll and Feinstein planned to perform in Knoxville, Morris reached out to the touring duo and helped to book their appearance.

Feinstein opened the show with his first song, “Side by Side.”

“It is sort of my anthem to dealing with the darkness that is in my life,” he said of his first song. “Saying that no matter who comes to me with any problems or whatever darkness that is in my life, it is not going to hold me down.”

The southern-folk artist explained that he did not become passionate about performing and writing music until last year. His inspiration for writing seriously resulted from a break-up last year. Feinstein first learned to play guitar at age 11, but he now focuses more on his music and writing.

“I’m still learning the ropes,” Feinstein said.

After Feinstein finished his set with “Oh Heaven,” Morris performed songs and poems. She began with “Come,” a song infused with both singing and spoken-word poetry. Morris finds inspiration through her memories and other poems.

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Daje Morris performs original music and poetry at the Smart & Becker. June 13, 2018. Sage Davis/TNJN

“Poetry and music is a way for me to process noise and that how I can stay grounded,” Morris explained. She said memories sometimes infiltrate her thoughts and distract her from living. “Music and poetry is a way for me to clear that.”

While Morris receives her inspiration through tragic memories and other poets, Carroll gains his inspiration through everyday occurrences.

“It could be just a thought I have throughout the day or just one occurring thing,” he said.

Carroll began his set with “Ghost” along with a cover of Leon Bridge’s song, “River” to which the crowd sang along.

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Augustus Carroll performs solo during his tour with Austin Feinstein in Knoxville, June 13, 2018. Sage Davis/TNJN

Feinstein and Carroll continue their tour in three more cities. They will perform next in Asheville, North Carolina. Morris will perform at the Kuumba Festival next Friday, June 22.

 

Images by Sage Davis

Edited by Lexie Little

Indie artists perform at Smart & Becker

Two Nashville-native artists, Augustus Carroll and Austin Feinstein, performed with local artist Daje Morris in an intimate concert at the Smart & Becker Wednesday night.

As Carroll and Feinstein planned to perform in Knoxville, Morris reached out to the touring duo and helped to book their appearance.

Feinstein opened the show with his first song, “Side by Side.”

“It is sort of my anthem to dealing with the darkness that is in my life,” he said of his first song. “Saying that no matter who comes to me with any problems or whatever darkness that is in my life, it is not going to hold me down.”

The southern-folk artist explained that he did not become passionate about performing and writing music until last year. His inspiration for writing seriously resulted from a break-up last year. Feinstein first learned to play guitar at age 11, but he now focuses more on his music and writing.

“I’m still learning the ropes,” Feinstein said.

After Feinstein finished his set with “Oh Heaven,” Morris performed songs and poems. She began with “Come,” a song infused with both singing and spoken-word poetry. Morris finds inspiration through her memories and other poems.

“Poetry and music is a way for me to process noise and that how I can stay grounded,” Morris explained. She said memories sometimes infiltrate her thoughts and distract her from living. “Music and poetry is a way for me to clear that.”

While Morris receives her inspiration through tragic memories and other poets, Carroll gains his inspiration through everyday occurrences.

“It could be just a thought I have throughout the day or just one occurring thing,” he said.

Carroll began his set with “Ghost” along with a cover of Leon Bridge’s song, “River” to which the crowd sang along.

Feinstein and Carroll continue their tour in three more cities. They will perform next in Asheville, North Carolina. Morris will perform at the Kuumba Festival next Friday, June 22.

 

Image TNJN archives

Edited by Lexie Little

 

Student talent, art reveals passions

UPerk, the coffee shop located at the UKirk House, showcased a wide range of student artwork April 24. As students toured the full room, UT student Alayna Cameron took the stage with a ukulele in hand.

Cameron’s setlist included a personal touch. She played songs of Tennessee natives as attendees toured the gallery.

UkeUperk

Students Caleb Pittenger, Caroline Rowcliffe, Maggie Stroud and Emma Vieser presented some of their favorite pieces as Cameron played. Their artwork represented different mediums – from wood to photography.

At the end of the evening, some of the artists walked away with fewer pieces than they brought, selling several pieces of art. Maggie Stroud, one of the contributing artists, elaborated on one of her favorite works.

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“This was just a simple line drawing I did, but it’s very much based on my hometown of San Antonio, Texas and the aesthetic that is so unique to Tejano culture,” Stroud said. “In the springtime, we celebrate Fiesta, and everywhere you look there are dancers with ‘halo’ flower crowns and traditional Mexican dresses. It’s so gorgeous and it reminds me of home.”

Stroud is not new to the art scene. Although she majors in English Literature, art has always had a place in her heart. Her upbringing keeps her interested in creating.

“I’ve always been drawing obsessively. My family is very creative, and my mom is an artist herself, so I grew up watching her,” she said. “But, I think more than anything, it was my love of stories. Illustration is just visual storytelling, and even before I could read, that was something I understood.”

Caleb Pittenger told his stories through spoken word. He recited poetry recently featured in UT’s Phoenix magazine.

CalebUPerk

Through different creative mediums, students displayed their passions and character.

 

Written by Lauren Claxton

Photos by Lauren Claxton

 

Opinion: All Time Low rocks The Mill and Mine

Let me take you back to 2012 when Psy’s “Gangnam Style” took over the charts, “The Avengers” movie fought its way up box office ranks and Barack Obama won re-election. At the same time, a middle school version of myself listened to a band called All Time Low. I’d heard of the band before, but this marked the time I dug deeper into the music.

After years of listening to their music, keeping up with the lives of band members and watching music videos on repeat, I scored the opportunity to attend my first All Time Low show. Better than that: I met the band Monday, April 9.

That night, the band performed at Knoxville’s The Mill and Mine alongside opening acts Dreamers and Gnash. The venue filled with longtime fans and newcomers – all there to celebrate a shared love of great music.

The Meet and Greet allowed 84 lucky fans to take a photo and talk with band members Alex Gaskarth, Jack Barakat, Zack Merrick and Rian Dawson before the show.

“Do not say something stupid,” I said to myself as I stood in line. I anxiously awaited my turn, and as I rounded the corner, I could not help but to break into a ridiculous grin.

I hugged each of the guys and told them I had listened to their music from middle school until now. They asked if I attended school in Knoxville, and I promptly cheered “Go Volunteers!”

I gladly volunteered my time to listen to their music.

All Time Low’s music, often categrorized as “pop punk,” can be compared to bands like Fall Out Boy, 5 Seconds of Summer and blink-182. Like other bands, their music evolved a great deal but continues to please fans old and new. Enduring music makes for a great band, and the opening acts sounded like they will also please crowds for years to come.

Dreamers and Gnash, both great openers, warmed up the crowd with a mix of new and old music. Both thanked All Time Low for bringing them on Part II of “The Young Renegades Tour.” Gnash’s performance his hit song “i hate u, i love you,” which peaked in the top 10 on the Billboard charts in 2016, lived up to the hype as a crowd favorite.

I never imagined I would meet a band whose music I had loved since before I turned 13-years-old, let alone stand front row for the concert. From my front row position, I immersed myself in nostalgia as the band performed hits from at least five of seven studio albums including “Somewhere in Neverland,” “Lost in Stereo” and “Dirty Laundry.”

This concert marked the first time All Time Low has played in Knoxville in the band’s 15-year history. The guys released their most recent album, “Last Young Renegade,” in mid-2017. The release came after a move from Hopeless Records to Fueled By Ramen early last year, as Alex Gaskarth mentioned in an interview with Alternative Press.

My middle school dreams came to fruition with good friends and good music. As a group, we laughed at their jokes, fittingly cried during “Therapy” and begged the band to throw guitar picks our way. The band left Knoxville after the show, continuing on with the rest of the tour. But, they left me quoting the song “Good Times.”

“I’ll hate the goodbye, but I won’t forget the good times.”

I hit an all time high.

Thanks for stopping by, All Time Low. I hope we meet again.

 

Featured Photo: Ainsley Kelso

Edited by Lexie Little

Women’s, Men’s chorales give final performances

Tuesday, April 3 the Women’s and Men’s Chorales gathered at Cox Auditorium for their spring concert. The night’s focus however, shifted to leaders including Dr. Angela Batey, associate professor Andrew Skoog, graduate student conductors and alumni.

In front of a large crowd, graduate students conducted the majority of the pieces, many of which featured a different language. However, the a cappella groups reVOLution and VOLume stuck to contemporary hits such as “Skyscraper” by Demi Lovato.

The Women’s Chorale closed the show with the “Tennessee Waltz arranged specifically for the choir by UT choral conducting alumus Seth O’ Kegley.

Just before the final song, graduate student conductor Hannah Berkley led the women in singing a Hungarian piece entitled “Túrōt Ëszik A Cigány” composed by the late Zoltan Kodály. Berkley spoke to some of the challenges of the song.

“With ten songs and six different conductors, you don’t get a lot of rehearsal time,” she said. “The Women’s Choir has fifty minute rehearsals, so each conductor gets six minutes. You are up and then you’re down.”

Berkley added that neither she nor anyone in the choir knew Hungarian, posing an added challenge to master the pronunciation.

Berkley emphasized the tight-knit relations between the choirs. To be effective performers, they must mesh as ensembles. Listening to one another remains key to achieving a uniform sound.

The Chamber Singers and the Concert Choir will be back for the fall semester. In the meantime, Berkley and the other Chamber Singers gear up for their Ireland tour this summer.

To check on all events related to the Tennessee School of Music, visit http://www.music.utk.edu.

Written by Lauren Claxton

Featured image by Kaitlin Marlowe

Edited by Lexie Little