Saturday, March 28, 2009


I've written about this cat before, but he continues to inspire me. Raphael Saadiq is a true artist with a wide range of influences that culminate in a hearkening back to Motown and the smooth vocals of Eddie Kendriks, The Temptations lead tenor during their prime (1965-71). Each performed track is a little different than when I have heard it the previous time, and distinctly different from the cut versions on the album, "The Way I See It." The Q and A at the end of this performance for Google is particularly telling of this man's gifts and vision for music and art.

Particularly useful during the season of Lent, where the Church prepares to both mourn and celebrate simultaneously, was a line to introduce one of this artist's best songs of the performance. Saadiq introduces "Big Easy" at the 20:00 mark and says of this upbeat testimony to Hurricane Katrina victims, that the thing about folks in New Orleans is that when they mourn, they celebrate. Say what you will about New Orleans and Bourbon street, but we culturally begin Lent there with Fat Tuesday/Mardi Gras/Shrove Tuesday. It is a feast before a fast to mimic Jesus' fast in the desert to prepare for his death and celebration. Listen to this song and ask God, "Tell me what's goin' wrong?" But, don't leave it there, after naming what's wrong in the world, ask God, "What's comin' that's alright!" Lent is not solely about Lament, but a call to "Get Ready," as Eddie Kendricks wailed about 40 years ago.
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