Thursday, May 31, 2007



glisten: son of tofu hut

Son of Tofu Hut is a collaboration with The King Open School of Cambridge, Massachusetts. King Open is a mix of races, ethnicities, social class and nationalities; a melting pot of opinions and perspectives. I've been sending discs of music to King Open to have them played to a class of seventh and eighth graders; the kids give them a listen once or twice and then write a brief critique of what they've heard. I'll be compiling their responses to present you with music, links (when available) and lightly edited (spelling and obvious typing errors are corrected, grammar and slang is not) teenagers' responses.

Afroman - Hush

John sez: Afroman's debut LP is generally somewhere between slept on and reviled, but it's something that I find myself coming back to every now and again. This oddly engaging and sweetly endearing take on the traditional spiritual is leavened with stoner humor, chicken squawks, Afroman's lengthy reminiscinces on his childhood visits to Mobile and a persistent elastic bassline.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that the students pretty much all loved this one; who woulda thunk it? Certainly Afroman can only take so much of the credit; there's no denying that 'Hush' has withstood the test of time. Here's a few bonus tracks (that the kid's didn't get to hear) to give you a clearer ear with this song: a much more straight ahead mid-40's rendition by gospel legends Golden Gate Quartet and a funkier, dirtier cut by Hugh Masekela.
It's a helluva trifecta!

The Golden Gate Quartet - Hush

Hugh Masekela - Hush

Student 1: This song sounds like those songs you would hear when watching a LA gang movie and something good just happened and you would get out your movie seat and if you knew this song you would sing it. This song is like a dedication to the community. You would start having to help the community even if you didn't want to and then you ended up liking doing work alot. This man sounds like he was in a church choir. If I was growing up in a bad place, this song would really cheer me up.

Student 2: This song sounds like gospel music. They are singing about jesus. It has an R&B type of beat, like jazz but after u hear it for a while you can catch the beat. I like this song but in one part, the singer adds too much feeling.

Student 3: I like it because it's old school and I think it's really fresh. I need this song on my ipod for sure. I like the meaning of the song, how it's kind of new with a hip hop beat and then it sounds really old school. This song is good. I just really like how the song starts with the guys saying who they are.



AMAZONG Afroman's 'The Good Times'

Student 4: This is something I can relate to a lot because I listen to a lot of songs like this at home. They are very calming and they make you want to get up and get your freak on. It's very cool. Just the name afroman is cool.

Student 5: I can't figure out what kind of music this is. It sounds like early hip hop and acapella and Gospel. I like this song because it makes me feel like I am at some kind of concert in New Orleans. I like the humming at the end as well. It also sounds kind of like a slavery song. I wonder when this song was written. i would be very interested to know where this band is from.

Student 6: It is very nice music. They want people to be quiet because somebody is calling their name and it is jesus. It has many melodies to it and the fact that it is about jesus connects to what they are saying. My teacher Lynn was just dancing to it and I think that she has the warmth to this music. This is just like gospel rap. Gospel rap is cool. I give this an A plus!!!!



Listen to this drivetime morning radio interview and this "marijuana radio exclusive".

Student 7: It sounds like something that would go on a gospel radio station. It has a slowish beat. It's like a mix of jazz and gospel. It has a R&B kind of beat. I'm not that fond of it, because I don't really like this kind of music. I don't like gospel. It's always about Jesus, God/The Lord, but I guess that's kind of obvious since it's called gospel music... but it sounds too slow for me.

Student 8: This song has a lot of different beats to it. The words are a little confusing because it talks about one thing then goes to something different. The song sounds like hip hop but it also sounds like it is a rap song. It kind of changes between the two.

Student 9: I like this. It has a good simple beat and a religious hip pop song. It also sounds like the other song: Because I Got High. This song moves me. It shows that religious songs could be fun too. It tells a good message and I think he's telling the bad people to hush so he can hear Jesus calling him.


Student 10: Think of someone who knows you, yet you cannot see that person of guess who it is. Perhaps it is Jesus? Or are you you going crazy? But there is no one there and yet there is still someone calling you. That's what this song is about. As I listen to this right now, it reminds me about when someone dies or you miss someone and can't see them anymore you can see their reflection pop out of nowhere. Or.... you can hear them calling you. I remember feeling like this and my mother did too when my grandmother died. I can't explain why but this song reminds me of that feeling. This song is a yearning about someone dear and you can hear them.

If you'd like to leave any questions or comments for me or for any of the students who are helping contribute to the Tofu Hut, feel free to do so in the comments section, but PLEASE keep the criticism constructive.