On Valentine’s Day, Syracuse-based hip-hop band Sophistafunk released Real Vibration, their newest collection of material, featuring seven high-quality cuts as well as their seven corresponding instrumentals. The trio, made up of keyboardist/bassist Adam Gold, drummer Emanuel Washington, and MC Jack Brown, have made a name for themselves in a live music scene that appreciates–though often doesn’t heavily feature–hip-hop by taking an eclectic approach to their music. Explains Brown, “Our style blends funk, soul, and jam music with East Coast hip-hop flows, which are known for wordplay, rhyme schemes, and lyricism. The music is about similar themes as Bob Marley, Stevie Wonder, Talib Kweli, and Rage Against the Machine, among others, and hopefully it inpires more people to get down with the message of peace and unity.”The group has kept busy over the past few years touring with funk and jam bands like The Motet, Orgone, EOTO and Dumpstaphunk, among others, helping cement themselves as a sort of “hip-hop band for the jam fan.” As Brown explains, “You know, back in the day on the northeast scene, you always had hip hop artists collaborating with the jam bands and funky musicians of the era. I think it’s because the positive, conscious message of underground hip hop has always resonated with the psychedelic music community. For example, there were groups like Granola Funk Express that spawned on the festival circuit and carried the torch for both movements. [Adam Gold] was a teenager going to the Wetlands in NYC around this time. Through the years over there you’d have The Roots playing downstairs, or Soulive, and so many others laying the foundation for what we now consider ‘jam,’ ‘live EDM,’ and ‘neo-soul’. Remember, the so-called ‘genres’ that people buy on the internet are not born independently. This was all happening at the same time, often in the same rooms, on the live music scene, which was – and still is – a living, breathing organism.”Real Vibration perfectly embodies Brown’s assessment of Sophistafunk’s unique sound, featuring seven tracks worth of blunt-ride beats and Internet-age paranoia and resistance. Funky protest track “Translucent” offers itself as a “musical solution to mass pollution,” with Brown delivering biting bars that evoke the style of heady underground MCs like Atmosphere‘s Slug. “This Life” sees Brown shine some light on the outfit’s musical DNA–part funk and jam, part beats and bars–as he proclaims “I love live music” over a 90s-style back beat.The socially conscious “No More War” dips into the chaotic paranoia of our social media society, as sparse funk interspersed with digital fills mirrors the chaos of today’s world, before well-placed horns bolster the song’s “we gotta love each other” refrain.“Make Em Clap” continues on the album’s conscious themes, as Brown proclaims, “I’m not a rapper, I’m an activist”–though lines like “esoteric eloquence/Still I stay relevant” show that there’s room for him to be a bit of both.“Duke of Errl” tells the saga of “dabs,” sampling sound bytes of TV news PSA’s warning parents about the perils of marijuana concentrates. Toking-up is far from an unusual topic in hip-hop, but few artists have hit the relatively new wax trend head-on like Sophistafunk does on this track. They approach the topic with equal parts enjoyment for its pros and restrained caution for its cons, with extra pep added by layered horn fills courtesy of Andy Frasco & The U.N.‘s Ernie Chang. Brown even earns extra “heady points” shouting out The Lot (“You can find me on Shakedown Street”).The album rounds out with title track “Real Vibration,” a slow jam laden with enthrallingly spacey synths. It serves as an appropriate coda for the LP: laid-back vibes, mindful rhymes, and THC-infused good times. Take a dab and press play. This is one session you definitely want to get down on.
By Julieta Pelcastre / Diálogo January 23, 2020 In Nicaragua, the Catholic Church is one of the most critical voices of President Daniel Ortega’s actions, denouncing reprisals, murders, and human rights violations in the country.The Church’s remarks are a “major annoyance” to Ortega, who sees its members as his enemies for denouncing the truth, said to Diálogo Marcos Carmona, president of Nicaragua’s Permanent Commission on Human Rights.“Throughout 2019, the Nicaraguan president intensified harassment and violence against Catholic churches that sided with people who took to the streets to express their disagreement with the Sandinista regime’s authoritarian actions,” Carmona said.A group of masked people loyal to Daniel Ortega meet outside a Catholic church in Diriamba, Nicaragua, to intimidate mass attendees, July 9, 2019. (Photo: Carlos Herrera / AFP)Nicaraguan bishops served as mediators in meetings between the state and civil society to find a peaceful resolution to the sociopolitical crisis the nation has been going through for two years. Talks were suspended in the spring of 2018, after security forces’ repression against the population escalated and public protests were criminalized.Ortega blamed the Catholic clergy of being “pro-coup” for supporting injured protesters during the 2018 protests, according to Nicaraguan state media El 19 Digital. The government onslaught against the religious institution includes priests, nuns, and parishioners. Edwin Román, a priest at the Saint Michael Church in Masaya, told the press that the wave of violence the Church experiences surpasses the attacks it faced in the 1980s, during the civil war.Ramón Alcides Peña, a pastor at the church in the municipality of Jícaro, was detained for 12 hours on December 7, charged with disrupting public order. The priest said on social media that he was celebrating mass as usual.In November, followers of the Sandinista regime entered the Metropolitan Cathedral in Managua and attacked a priest and a nun. The same month, in Masaya, they attacked parishioners of the San Bautista parish, while police surrounded the Saint Michael the Archangel Church to prevent displays of solidarity with the priest Román and a group of mothers who went on a hunger strike for nine days to call for the release of their children, detained for demanding the end of the regime.Ortega himself threatened the opposition. “The people will feel within their rights, with the obligation, to seek arms to take power through revolutionary means,” he said in November before the Political Councils’ assembly of the Bolivarian Alternative for Latin America and the Caribbean (ALBA, in Spanish).“I feel that it’s a real possibility. The more the doors for a peaceful road close, the wider they open for an armed one,” said Rafael Solís Cerda to French radio RFI. Solís was a guerrilla fighter with Ortega and a judge at Nicaragua’s Supreme Court for 19 years, until his resignation in February 2019.
Lawrenceburg, IN—The Management Team of Special Olympics Indiana – Ripley Ohio Dearborn Counties announces with deep regret and concern the cancellation of our 9th Annual Fire Truck Pull in partnership with the Lawrenceburg Fire Department. After much thought and discussion, the team decided to not host the 2020 fundraiser due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, all Special Olympics’ in-person practices, competitions, events, and social activities at all levels of the organization have been canceled through June 30th. In these unprecedented times, the team realizes there is no guarantee that all restrictions will be lifted in time for the fundraising event scheduled for August 15th. “The decision was not easy”, stated Greg Townsend, Program Coordinator of Special Olympics Indiana-Ripley Ohio Dearborn Counties. “Especially since the proceeds generated by the Fire Truck Pull are used to fund our fall and winter activities, if Special Olympics Indiana and Special Olympics International should decide to lift the suspension due to the pandemic”, added Townsend. According to the CDC, people with intellectual disabilities (ID) or developmental disorders are at increased risk of contracting COVID-19. In addition, people with ID experience higher rates of chronic health conditions that also put them at higher risk of serious illness and poorer outcomes from COVID-19. Special Olympics competitions and events are opportunities for entire communities to come together in support of Special Olympics’ vision. But, unfortunately, that joining together poses significant risks for everyone involved. The Fire Truck Pull, presented by the City of Lawrenceburg, would not be possible without the many volunteers, the Lawrenceburg Fire Department, and sponsors that contribute to putting on such an event each year. The Management Team and the Fire Truck Pull Committee looks forward to the 2021 Fire Truck Pull and hopes to see the return of all Pull Teams and sponsors.
Kevin Kisner succeeded where he failed 12 months ago by winning the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play final courtesy of a 3 and 2 victory over Matt Kuchar.Kisner, who will rise from his current position of 50th in the world rankings thanks to his first World Golf Championships title, reached the final at Austin Country Club in 2018, only to be thumped 7 and 6 by Bubba Watson. He sealed victory in style, converting a 20-foot birdie putt at the 16th after an eagle attempt from Kuchar had come up agonizingly short.A birdie to win it! 🏆Congratulations, @K_Kisner.He finished 6-1-0 @DellMatchPlay.It’s his first World Golf Championship title.#LiveUnderPar pic.twitter.com/HULr7bz2T7— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) March 31, 2019Ryder Cup star Molinari eased past Bjerregaard in the consolation match, triumphing 4 and 2. The tone for that contest was set by Watson winning each of the first five holes, but Kisner was never behind this time around as he overcame Kuchar in a somewhat underwhelming decider.Both Kisner and Kuchar weren’t at their best Sunday afternoon in Texas, perhaps unsurprisingly given they were each playing their fourth round in two days and seventh of the week. The two were also taken the full 18 in their morning semifinal matches as Kisner was able to edge out Francesco Molinari and Kuchar got the better of Lucas Bjerregaard. Related News WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Kevin Kisner and Matt Kuchar reach final “Phew. … It was a big week, a long weekend — grueling, not only from the mental side but the physical side,” Kisner said after his round. “A lot of golf and a lot of stressful holes and stressful putts that I was able to prevail.”In the final match, Kisner birdied the opening hole of the final to move one up and was two up through seven holes as his Kuchar struggled badly on the greens.A three-putt from Kisner on the par-4 9th hole enabled Kuchar to reduce his deficit, but the 2013 champion then found water on the par-3 11th to slip back to two down.When Kuchar made a sloppy bogey on 15, Kisner was three up with three to play and on the brink of the biggest victory of his career. WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Tiger Woods reacts to final-hole loss