As odd as that statement seems on its own, it was a profound observation made by Sophistafunk’s Jack Brown on how today’s technology has become an issue in the breakdown of societal intimacy. We no longer take the time to say “Hello” or “How are you?” and just seem to let the tool we choose speak for us. He did a awesome poem regarding the way we have been sucked into the whirlwind of technology from birth with no choice and do not get to experience life without a connection to the web. He spoke of the impact on our youth, and did it in a way only a true hip hop artist could. Jack Brown has incredible insight. This seemed to be the theme, is a more complex way with every artist and their performance. Each had a story to tell and each was specific to their lives as well.
Jamie Cunningham read a story he wrote of 3 things one should do daily to maintain a healthy outlook and be as filled with joy as possible, regardless of the situations thrown at you. I was gripped by his performance of the song he wrote to honor a statement written by Jim Valvano (below). I have a connection to it in my personal life and had to just chill and listen to him for the entire set. He did a wonderful job expressing how the 3 things are so critical to our well being.
In Jamie’s words:
I wrote “Think Cry Laugh” for my friend’s movie he made as a film student at Boston University. The film is based on the famous Jimmy Valvano speech, particularly the part where he describes the three things one should do every day to have a fulfilled life.
“Today is the day it starts all over
Today we’re doing it right
Today is the day we forget the darkness
And look towards the light
And if you still can’t see the beauty
That life is but a dream
You gotta Think Cry Laugh till you believe”
The quote from the speech that inspired this moving song:
“To me, there are three things Everyone should do everyday. Number one is laugh. Number two is think – spend some time in thought. Number three, you should have your emotions move you to tears. If you laugh, think, and cry, that’s a heck of a day.” – Jim Valvano
The sweetest part of the show was the performances by 15 year old Sydney Irving. This budding artist has a voice to die for. She plays guitar with the precision and a crisp sound of a true professional. Videos are out there somewhere of this and I suggest viewing them. Her entire set of work that night was so impressive, I wish I could have had time to sit and do an interview with her and delve into her passion. She is definitely passionate about music. I see her going very far in her music career.
Ryan Heath was a guitar playing/crooning monster. He is very talented and has some funny stories about local artists that had everyone laughing. He told stories about local musicians and the interactions he has had with them over the years, which followed the theme of looking at social interactions in today’s world where everything seems in hyper speed. He spoke of local drummer Rob Zaccaria and his relationship with him and his family leading into how the entire Syracuse community is so loving and embraced him after his return from 6 years in Korea as an English Teacher. HUGE KUDOS FOR TEACHING OTHERS OVERSEAS!!!! The stories that were tossed about regarding the Syracuse Music Community (family) were hilarious and everyone was rolling. I won’t mention any names, but the man of the hour was a bit hobbit like. He may also be step daddy to Jack lol (yes I did). That little banter had everyone on the floor laughing. Especially when Dusty walked in.
My eye was drawn to the percussionist from Sophistafunk, Emanuel Washington, and his style and charm. He was not only one ass kickin’ drummer and guitar player, he was super friendly. I was outside during the break and we spoke for a moment. I had no idea he was from Sophistafunk, as I am very new to the music scene, and was talking about his group. He then told me he was with Sophistafunk and I was star struck. He was so cool and delightful to talk to and even helped me in my ignorance of the music scene and group names. I am learning from everyone I meet. I have been looking at their work in hopes to photograph them some day and became a fan of theirs. Their work is super fun and creative, coming with my highest recommendation for your listening pleasure.
I saved Nadine Prince for last, as she is the host of these events and did a wonderful job putting some very talented and brilliantly insightful artists together for this particular night. Not only is she an artist extraordinaire, but she has a story telling ability which I felt was captivating, funny, and well put together. Nadine spoke of the music scene in the Syracuse area as family, and told stories as a child growing up in that family would, with a perspective not seen by outsiders. I was truly entertained by all she did that night. I believe Nadine is a shooting star and will be in my lens sometime in the future, but at a much larger venue with thousands in attendance.
In summation, I had an absolutely delightful and enlightening time at Funk ‘N Waffles last night and highly recommend this venue and the KMase Productions’ Storytellers in the Round events that are coming up. The next one is Mother’s Day, May 12. Do not miss it. I am going to bring my family to it. I have gained a new found respect and hope for the future generation and these artists. If representing even a small portion of the population, we have a fighting chance to become humans again. Each and every one of them emanated kindness, love and understanding I believed obsolete today. I am 56 Years old and I must thank this group of artists for a new found hope. Much Love goes to them ALL and KMase Productions for the best night ever! Be sure to catch one of these events when you can!
Author and Photography: Dave Koegel