UPR!SE is a blog dedicated to The Shrine's Patron Saint and inspiration, Fela Anikulpo Kuti.

The blog focuses on music, fashion, art, design, politics and culture. It is a celebration of trailblazing souls who rise up without compromise.


Monday, August 30, 2010


Hardcuore is the logo/company of Brazilian graphic artist Breno Pineschi, who has been working with art direction and graphic design since 2002. Breno and his team work in diverse fields, such as music, fashion, publishing, installations, motion graphics and visual identity among others. He has a major in graphic design and spent some time at New York’s School of Visual Arts. Hardcuore creates work that goes from underground graphic projects to installations for major companies, creating visuals for any possible media.

The firm also created work which was featured in Rio's successful bid for the Olympics.

I bumped into a kid at Lollapalooza with Breno's logo tattooed on his forearm and showed him the necklace. He freaked, asking me where he could buy one. (Kicking myself for not snapping a photo to document this serendipitous event...) Seems the necklaces have become a must have for musicians and DJs around the world. Stay tuned to find out how/where to purchase one...!

Check out the necklace below, as well as the stop motion animation he put together using Baile Funk.

Kele from Bloc Party and Dirt from The Bravery.

Limited series for Blue Man. Photo campaign (Brazil)

James Murphy from LCD SoundSystem and Anthony Rother.



Another great release from our friend Samy Ben Redjeb, founder and musical guru of Analog Africa from Frankfurt, Germany. Samy DJ'ed here in Chicago in 2008 with the crew from Afrodesia at Sonotheque for the World Music Festival. Samy had just released the 'Africa Scream' compilation and he brought with him a crate of rare 45s from Africa and South America that I've never had seen before and proceeded to pack the dance floor.

This time he's releasing a group of ultra-rare tracks of raw West African funk from the legendary label, Essiebons Records of Accra. Being the ultimate musicologist, Samy documented this hidden aspect of African music through numerous interviews with the surviving artists still around like Ebo Taylor, Nana Ampedu (founder of the mighty African Brothers Band), Issac Yeboah (lead singer of Vis-a-Vis, one of Ghana´s most impressive bands), Gyedu-Blay Ambolley (the personification of Ghanaian Afro-funk), saxophonist Ray Allen and Chester Adams (lead singer of the Uppers International).

So strap on your seatbelt for takeoff on a musical voyage on Afro-Beat Airways toward destinations previously unknown.

Friday, August 27, 2010


Hosted by Discopoet Khari B with DJ Marbll
followed by . . .
Featuring DJS Tone B Nimble & King Scratch (aka Joe Bryl)

Every Wednesday starting Weds. Sept. 1 - 6pm - 2am No Cover
The Shrine - 2109 S. Wabash - Chicago, Il. 60616 - 312.753.5700

Spoken Word joins the celebration of Afrobeat, Funk & House

CHICAGO (August 27, 2010) – Chicago has never had a shortage of open-mics since the days a little notorious spot called Spices closed its doors in ‘93 and launched her children out to all corners to create new houses of expression and words of inspiration. Those very same children have gone on to create movies, albums, books, and further generations of artists in and beyond the Chicagoland borders. Wednesday, September 1st marks the birth of yet another baby. The Shrine in conjunction with Discopoetry Arts & Edutainment present “FreeVerse ForeRun/UPR!SE: Revolutionary Sounds,” a beautiful, high powered blend of music, open-mic, and masterfully conducted good times.

Discopoet Khari B., infamously energetic poet and frontman for the Spoken Word Funk/Rock band, “the Rockstar Poetry Project” mans the bow of this ship, returning as a weekly host for the first time in four years. Adding an innovative dimension to the word, he is joined by DJ Marbll, recently returned from NY as a highly respected producer/drummer, with his unique ability to dig into a record crate and pull out just the right cut to accompany a poem. Together this super team intends to attract back audiences that have grown weary with so many open-mics, shape a new experience for both old and new crowds and create a fresh new platform to foster the creativity of Chicago’s imaginative artists all within the bold yet sensuously comfortable accommodations of the Shrine.

As the name alludes, FreeVerse ForeRun is but the beginning of the night. After achieving a mentally satisfying meal of word and music stay as creator Joe Bryl aka DJ King Scratch and the renowned Tone B. Nimble bring you an international flavored sounds rooted in Afrobeat from Fela to James Brown and some of the funkiest stuff around to move your soul, your mind and behinds! The aim is to offer an all-encompassing entertaining evening for an audience to express and enjoy themselves in a myriad of ways. From the eye-catching video presentations on the wall to the spirit-inducing drinks at the bar, this is THEE night to assist one thru their midweek hump.

FreeVerse ForeRun/UPR!SE: Revolutionary Sounds opens its doors at 6:00pm at the Shrine, 2109 S. Wabash in Chicago’s South Loop area. The open-mic begins promptly at 7:00 with sign-up closed at 8:00 or until list is full. The poetry rolls until 10:00pm whereupon patrons should be motivated and charged up enough to continue their evening with dancing until 2:00am with UPR!SE. This incomparable evening is guaranteed to send you home with a song in your heart and smile on your face.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


The cats from Vampisoul constantly get our attention with some of the best re-issues that they unearth from around the globe. Previously, they have released rare African gems from Segun Bucknor, Fred Fisher Atalobhor, Victor Olaiya, Fela-Ransome Kuti, Orlando Julius and Tony Allen plus the 'Afrobeat Nirvana' and 'Highlife Time' compilations. With other releases that range from Afrosounds from Columbia, Peruvian Cumbia beats and Boogaloo, Spanish funk and soul, and a slew of Latin and Soul re-issues; Vampisoul rank highly in our view.

This time they've unearthed extremely rare recordings by legendary Spanish producer Antoliano Toldos from the Calandria label under their Enlace Funk moniker. Reminiscent of labels like CTI, Prestige and Verve; these Spanish jazz recordings capture the hard-driving, soulful and funky flavors that packed the dance floors in Madrid in the late sixties. Headed by Toldos and made up with session musicians who gigged around Madrid, these recordings were improvised usually with only one take; resulting in great Jazz dance that will still fill the floor.

Monday, August 16, 2010


Vlisco, the True Original
Since 1846 Vlisco has been designing and producing colourful fashion fabrics that form an essential part of the lively West and Central African culture. Vlisco has an innate sense of the expressive and creative strength of African consumers and, for generations, has succeeded in surprising and inspiring her passionate clientele with unique designs. As the sole authentic designer and manufacturer of such fabrics as ‘Wax Hollandais’, Vlisco is unparalleled when it comes to quality, professional skill and innovation.

The Vlisco strategy is aimed at enabling well-to-do African women to experience the brand in all her facets and to maintain the leading position, not only in the area of design, but also in terms of total brand orientation. Developments take place at neck-breaking speed in Africa and Vlisco aspires to inspire and gain the loyalty of younger generations as well. Innovation is therefore an essential element within the company. In keeping with this, a new collection is launched every quarter, featuring a specific theme in which international trends in a variety of areas are translated into distinctive Vlisco designs.

Furthermore, every quarter a new Vlisco fashion and accessories collection is launched in the four Vlisco Boutiques in Africa. The clothing lines serve largely as a source of inspiration for consumers, who often have their clothing made by a personal tailor. With a complete line of bags, shoes and jewellery, women can clothe themselves in Vlisco from head to toe.



The Budos Band have been on a tear all summer long, playing countless shows and festivals. The band has become a mighty beast in their live shows, playing chunky afro funk, mystic Mulatu flavoured jazz spaceouts and seemingly anything else they feel like throwing in.... They blew up the spot in Chicago at least three times this summer. They just dropped their third album for Daptone tiltled 3. Where they may lack creativity in naming their albums, the band consistently expands its already rich sonic pallet. Moods and grooves, but waaay deeper than yr. typical retro funk outfit.

Filmed a couple tracks for you aural (and visual) pleasure.


Every city in the States is seemingly getting on the Fela train; and now we have a new release from Kansas City's own Hearts of Darkness. Originally starting off as a local band doing covers of Fela material, Hearts of Darkness has expanded to a crew of 17 members and recorded their first self-titled cd of original material. Utilizing an explosive horn section, Hearts of Darkness connect the funky tight rhythms of American bands like the J.B.s with the pulsating textures of Afrobeat.

Monday, August 9, 2010

SHANNON HARRIS - Audio Urbanology: The Art of Audio Truism CD Release

Wednesday August 25 - 10pm - 2am - No Cover

DJS Tone B Nimble & King Scratch (aka Joe Bryl)
Host Genevieve Honorico

The Shrine and UPR!SE is proud to present the official release of Shannon Harris' 'Audio Urbanology: The Art of Audio Truism' latest CD. Six years in the making, this album celebrates and transforms Harris’ African roots and Latin/Asian/Middle Eastern influences into an alluring aural narrative. Weaving sultry vocals and live instrumentation together, this critically acclaimed project also features colorful, esoteric artwork that is sure to take you on a symphony orchestrated, fantasy filled trip around the globe. Presenting six dialects from four different continents, Harris’ second album truly sets a new standard for the definition of ‘world’ in music.

'Audio Urbanology' draws upon the production styles of Quincy Jones, Sergio Mendes, Nitin Sawhney, Stevie Wonder, Hugh Masekela, Curtis Mayfield, Fela Kuti, Tinariwen, A R Rahman, and Sun Ra to name a few. “Destiny Arises” features exotic french poetry by Alia Ammar who appeared on Lil Louis’ multiplatinum dance single, “French Kiss”. The albums main Bassist/Guitarist Junius Paul, has shared the stage with Wynton Marsalis, Donald Byrd, Fred Anderson, Chico DeBarge, Eric Roberson, and KRS-One to name a few. "Leroy B-Boy" debuts Afro-beat trumpets by Corey Wilkes whose performance credits are with Roy Hargrove, Ledisi, Soulive, Meshell Ndegeocello and is also featured on numerous tracks on Hidden Beach’s Unwrapped Vol 4. Vocalist Avery R. Young also appearing on “Leroy B-Boy” and “A Woman Feeds the World” has toured with Roy Ayers, Mos Def, Les Nubians, and Jill Scott. “Spirits of the Black Experience” and “Viva A Vida Como Se Nao Hauvesse Amanha” features piano and organ by Justin Dillard, who has jammed with jazz legends like McCoy Tyner, Branford Marsalis, Ornette Coleman, and Herbie Hancock. Reflecting a World Wide Web of artistry with over 28 musicians and 2 visual illustrators, Shannon Harris' 'Audio Urbanology' seeks to introduce to the universe; organic grooves with a meaningful edge. Available on CD, limited MP3, limited edition vinyl singles and 24 bit FLAC files.

UPR!SE: Revolutionary Sounds From Fela to the Funk is a weekly Wednesday residency at The Shrine featuring DJs Tone B Nimble and King Scratch (a.k.a. Joe Bryl) and hosted by Genevieve Honorico. UPR!SE showcases the various branches that connect the rich and ever-changing history of African rhythms to the American (both North and South) music scene, encompassing everything from jazz, soul, r&b, funk, Latin, Brazilian, rock and reggae. These musical styles and vibrations continue to resonate, evolve and mutate; drawing on one another to create an ongoing tapestry of rhythmic variation and pollination.

For biography, tracks and various other details: CLICK HERE

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Stoned Cherrie, established in 2000, is an African lifestyle brand that is expressive of urban culture in South Africa. Their vision is to become a premier African brand pioneering a Cultural Revolution in Africa. The brand was started in an effort to represent afro-urban culture by creating a platform for self expression. They have built brand equity over the last six years by representing this culture in a way that is truthful and that takes fashion out of the realm of pretense, emulation and frivolity.

Monday, August 2, 2010


Although not a recent release; this Lee Perry production somehow bypassed our normally diligent eyes. Recorded on a re-used 4 track tape at Perry's infamous Black Ark studio in 1977, "African Roots" stands as the first blending of African and Reggae music. One of the well-told tales on its inception and part of its folklore is that Zairian musicians Seke Molenga and Kalo Kawongolo were abandoned by their promoter in Kingston. Begging for food on the streets, they finally found their way to Perry's studio (quite possibly following the odor of heavy weed) where Perry took this as a sign from Jah and proceeded to record a session with them.

Backing musicians included Mickey Boo Richards (drums), Boris Gardiner (bass), Earl 'Chinna' Smith ( guitar), Vin Gordon (trombone), David Madden (trumpet), Winston Wright (organ), Glen DeCosta (saxophone), and the Jolly Brothers (backing vocals). Seke and Kalo provided lead vocals plus played drums, guitars, horns and percussion while Scratch acted as producer and percussionist. The songs were sung in Lingala and English and blended Perry's reggae sound and Zairean soukous.

Originally eight songs were recorded and a rough mix of an album (entitled Monama) was sent to Island records. Island ultimately shelved the album, and those tapes remain in the vaults until 2006. In 1979, six tracks were released on the French Sonafric label as Seke Molenga And Kalo Kawongolo; the Dutch label RUNN released a collection with the same six tracks called From The Heart Of The Congo in 1991. The current cd release includes a bonus track 'African Freedom' by Brotherhood.

So, track down this little known gem of African/Reggae fusion.