So, the funk mothership lands and all you see is a beam of light, and a hear a bassline and horns that make your booty shake. And bad ass, shining star Bootsy Collins comes through the entire crowd, walks on water and hugs you. I say hot damn. I’ve been shaking tail to Bootsy, Parliament Funkadelic and James Brown since I was a kid — the bassline and horn sections of that music live in my heart.
For the love of music.
For the love of lifting people up.
For the love of building community.
For the love of being the authentic version of who you are.
For the love of the greats who have past:
James Brown, Godfather of Soul, Prince, Phelps Catfish Collins, Milan Williams, Maurice White, Mavis Staples, Sharon Jones and many others, Bootsy Collins keeps funk alive through performances but also in collaboration with his stunning wife, Pepperminte Patti, and his terrific team by giving back to communities with the Bootsy Collins Foundation and their Kyle Willis Oral Care Program. Meeting him and his wife Pepperminte Patti earlier this year and last night was truly a delight. Speaking of Deee-Light, that’s Bootsy on that track and in the video of Groove is in the Heart, a song that lives on many a mixtape from the 90’s. Another favorite.
Last night, Bootsy landed the “Funkship-One” for its 1st Area-51 Classified Mission on the Condition of Love, Spreading’ Hope Like Dope! in DTLA at Grand Performances, a wonderful free concert and education series in a beautiful venue in the heart of Los Angeles. All Summer long Grand Performances brings super cool artists to this city. The Bootsy crew is going on the road with the funk mothership and landing their mission in cities all over the US, next stop Cincinnati on July 28th with The O’Jays, Common, Keith Sweat, and Jill Scott.
With all the flash, sparkle, glitz and glitter, the core of Bootsy is all about heart, about being yourself, about making something out of nothing, about every person having the ability to be the best version of themselves.
“Funk is exactly what we’ve been talking about. Funk is the absence of any and everything you can think of, but the very essence of all that is. And saying that, I’m saying funk is anything that we create in our minds that we want to do, what we want to be, but we don’t have the resources. We don’t have the money to get these things. But it takes the belief, it takes her mama’s prayers, it takes a community, it takes all of that to help build a mug’s confidence in himself.
Because we’ve been torn down so much, it’s like we don’t even believe in ourselves no more. So it takes all of that. And that’s what funk is. Funk is that driving force that you know is there when ain’t nobody else there, and you can create the things you need. Give you a perfect example. I played guitar when I first got started because of my brother, Catfish. I wanted to be just like him.
So the opportunity came where he needed a bass player. And I said I’m the man, I can do it. It’s like you don’t even have a bass. I said, well, if you give me four strings, if you can get four strings, I will have a bass. And I made a bass out of that guitar.
And that same bass that I played with him that night was the same bass that I played all the way up until we got with James Brown. That’s funk, making something out of nothing”. — Bootsy Collins*
Wise words from a lovely man from Ohio.
The evening was dedicated to the late Parliament Funkadelic and Talking Heads keyboardist, Bernie Worrell. His band The Volt per Octaves (or The Volt/Octs) played with Bootsy in his honor, a lovely tribute. The Volt per Octaves is a direct reference to the genius of Dr. Robert A. Moog, inventor of the Moog synthesizer.
Bootsy’s House Party also featured DJ Lance Rock, DJ Mona Lisa, Money Mark, and amazing group of musicians and performers from the Urban Voices Project who brings the healing power of music directly to individuals disenfranchised by homelessness, mental health issues, and unemployment. Community singing and music education combine to provide practical opportunities for individuals to transcend their current circumstances and participate in a creative program of positive change. Composed of artists and performers from the Skid Row neighborhood in Downtown Los Angeles, this project is presented by The Colburn School and John Wesley Health Centers (JWCH Institute) to bring music, health & well-being, and community to one of the largest homeless neighborhoods in the United States.
The Urban Voices Project: A Skid Row Choir serves as a “bridge” to the Wesley’s health and wellness services for our homeless. Through music education, musical workshops, and a performing ensemble, the Urban Voices Project continues to share music and its healing power with many individuals and audiences inside and outside the neighborhood of Skid Row.
It was a funktastic night.
Music is our universal language, our connector, our hope.
Funk is a groove that anyone, anywhere, anytime can get down to, rise up with and build community around. And we always need more of that.
Big funky love to you Bootsy, Patti and your amazing team and band. Thank you to Clamorhouse, KC Mancebo, Oscar Arce, and the team at Grand Performances for a wonderful night.
One Nation Under a Groove.
*Quote from NPR Interview by Michel Martin, Bootsy Collins On His Special Blend of Funk — https://www.npr.org/2012/05/28/153701482/bootsy-collins-on-his-special-blend-of-funk
Written by Head Maven & CEO, Heather Newman, Creative Maven
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