Something Rhythmic Gypsy's Way Comes
When it comes to a balance between keepin' the groove-seekers dancing and the concerns like climate change and human rights at the forefront, Mr. Something Something have earned my respect a million shakes of the shekere over. Tonight at Gypsy Co-op, along with openers Ainike, who jam on West African-based grooves, the Somethings throw down for the last time this calendar year. Juno award-winning sax-man-about-town Rich Underhill, a regular Ainike member, tonight sits in with the Somethings as well, so expect the Queen West spot to be packed full of rhythm heads coming together for a night of steamy Afro grooves. Fans of the popular monthly Foot Prints parties, which feature similar rootsy musical styles (but with more of a DJ focus), hear this: Beat the cold, move yo' feet!
(Keep reading after the jump for reflections on the Somethings' journeys and triumphs in 2006. Believe me, each one is worth checking out, and the last one's some serious praise from an unexpected new fan.)
Johan ("you-one") Hultqvist, vocalist and shekere engine for the local Afrobeat innovators and sustainability devotees, has an upbeat charm that's at once infectious, positive and unapologetic.
On his own MySpace page, Hultqvist connects some quirky details about himself, things like: "i have no savings, but i do have a ridiculously large collection of vintage shirts and ties. i have no fat inheritance coming my way, but i get freckles in the summer. i had my heart broken by a girl once. the smell of skunk reminds me of coffeecake."
I asked Hultqvist for his take on the highlights of his group's year, which saw them gain much-deserved publicity (in no small part for their 2005 disc "the edge") while seeing more of the road than some truckers. Here's what he wrote for you lucky blogTO readers:
"My Mr. Something Something highlights of 2006 were (in no particular order):
1. Headlining the beautiful Ness Creek Festival in Saskatchewan, getting 3000 people to sing along with us.
2. Visiting Tofino for the first time. The feeling I got when I walked into the only combined surf shop and record store in town and realized that they were playing our album.
3. The Edge of the World Festival on Haida Gwaii (The Queen Charlotte Islands). I wanted to marry a girl, build a cabin, get a good dog, and never leave this land and milk and honey.
4. The water memories: we showered in a waterfall in NB, we swam in rapids along Lake Superior, we tubed down peaceful rivers in Grand Forks, BC and Wolfville, NS, and some of us ran naked into the salty waves of the Pacific as the sun was setting over Chesterman's Beach in Tofino, BC.
5. The road signs. In northwestern BC there is a sign that says "Stoner 6". 6 kilometres later there is nothing; Stoner, BC is fittingly enough just a collective hallucination. For those who want more stability I recommend Swift Current, SK. Their town slogan is "Swift Current - Where life makes sense".
6. Organizing the first Harvest Fest and Sustainability Day on an organic farm called Plan B outside Hamilton. Hearing the rooster crow in between songs, eating delicious organic food, exploring the fields, shooting some hoops, seeing someone walk away from the clothing swap looking great in your old shirt, listening to music sitting on a bale of hay, learning that happiness and sustainability go hand in hand, basking in the splendid September sun next to babies and grandparents, watching people form a circle by holding hands, dancing barefoot in the grass, getting your feet dirty for maybe the last time of the year.
7. Having our very talented dancer & choreographer friend Jennifer Dallas join us for ten weeks of cross-country touring to further energize the live show with her powerful and expressive movement.
8. Having the pleasure of welcoming Juno Award Winner Richard Underhill and his fellow Shuffle Demon Perry White into the extended Mr. Something Something family, and having amazing guest vocalists like Eliana Cuevas and Coco Love Alcorn sit in with us.
9. Shooting a video and recording two live shows for CBC Radio in front of amazing hometown crowds. Getting a distribution deal for Canada with Vancouver-based Festival Distribution, and in Japan through Bomba Records.
10. The old native man in a ten gallon hat who came up to me after a show in Wells, BC (Population 200) and said "I used to think that the only good thing that came from the east was the sun. I guess I was wrong.""
And in case you're still, for some bizarre reason, on the fence:
"If you were with us at Supermarket on Friday for 'On the Map' you know what these guys are capable of. Everybody in the room was dancing, me included, terrifyingly enough. This is why: Mr. Something Something, a song called The Wanting. ...taken from a CD, which is really fantastic, called The Edge. If you've never seen them before, trust me when I tell you that they put on a fantastic live show."
- Matt Galloway, host of CBC Radio's Here & Now (Source)
Mr. Something Something with guest Richard Underhill and Ainike (also feat. Underhill), Gypsy Co-op, tonight, 10PM. $10 at the door.
Image of from Mr. Something Something's Myspace page.
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