Frontlines Friday: It feels like Spring in the Bronx. Here’s music to listen to today.
It is almost 60 degrees in the Bronx. In the second week of February.
Happy (spring) Friday!
It’s 1:41 pm as I write this newsletter, and it is almost 60 degrees in the Bronx. In the second week of February.
Climate change is real. Our winters here no longer look or feel like our winters growing up; there’s more rain, less snow, and more days over 40 degrees.
But like a true New Yorker, I enjoy any and all warmer days. The city is always anxious, always on the move, especially in the winter, but a lightness takes over the city, over each of us, when the weather gets warmer, and the sun stays out just a little longer. Surviving under capitalism—and the rise of fascism—feels slightly easier when you can play and walk outside, in green spaces, surrounded by your community.
The happier we are, the noisier we become. Our cars, streets, and apartments get louder, each of us blasting our respective music and sounds with no regard to how it blends with the noises around us. It is one of the many reasons I love my neighborhood in the spring and summer. Right now, I hear the sounds of motorcycles on the street below my window and an English show I cannot name from the open windows to the right of my office.
For my Friday, I am blasting “Virgo’s Groove” for the 15th or 20th time in the last two days alone. My friends and I will be at Club Renaissance in July, and after her (or Bad Bunny’s, depending on my mood) snub for Album of the Year at this year’s Grammys, I have played the album daily.
Like so many of us after Bey released “Cuff It - Wetter Remix,” I have fallen down the DJs remixing Renaissance TikTok rabbit hole, most notably DJ Hunny Bee, a Los Angeles-based DJ.
I have followed her work for about a year or so. Last year she mixed El Alfa’s “Gogo Dance” and Bad Bunny’s “El Apagon'“; MC Fioti’s “Bum Bum Tam Tam” and Chael Produciendo, El Alfa, CJ’s “La Mamá de la Mamá”; Beyoncé’s “Run the World” and RuPaul’s “Supermodel (You Better Work).”
If you’re looking for something fun and sexy to listen to, check out her Villain Era playlists.
I have also enjoyed listening to Samara Joy, the Bronx-born and raised jazz musician who won Grammys for Best New Artist and Best Jazz Vocal Album last Sunday. She was born in Castle Hill and is from a family of musicians, from her father’s work with Andraé Crouch to his parents, who performed with The Savettes.
Joy attended Fordham High School for the Arts and SUNY Purchase College, and in 2019, she won an international jazz competition. Two years later, in July 2021, she released her first album, “Samara Joy.” Last year she released “Linger Awhile,” and earlier this week, the single “Sweet Pumpkin” with guitarist Pasquale Grasso.
Her voice is stunning, deep, sultry, and soothing—the comparisons to Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald are on point.
Watching her win Best New Artist was such a joy. She was surprised, honored, and grateful, shouting out the Bronx and her family and thanking her team and fans during her acceptance speech. “To be here just being myself, by just being who I was born as, I’m so thankful.”
She is the second Jazz artist to win Best New Artist.
Some Other Things I Recommend
Sade Green’s “In “Church Girl,” Beyoncé Reminds Black Women That Our Bodily Autonomy Is Divine”
Jonathan Custodio’s “Homeless Youth With Housing Vouchers Illegally Rejected by Bronx Landlord, Suit Alleges”
Thanks to everyone who read this week’s newsletter. Keep sharing and telling others to sign up for Bronx Frontlines. Let’s keep our community growing. :)
Have a restful weekend.