November 14, 2012

Life Without You by Baraka Blue

In this chapter of the Lost Memoirs, Majnun confesses that an all-consuming love has rendered rational thought mute and torn him into a world in which the beloved is all. Although unable to reunite with the beloved, the universe has become an expanse of innumerable mirrors, which at every moment reflect her face from new angles. Woven together indistinguishably are the ecstasy of contemplating the beloved and the pain of separation from her lips. The tension of love builds until ultimately the lover finds his own self-awareness to be but a veil.
Life Without You (Feat. Anas Canon) by Baraka Blue

This house of mirrors
got me deep in the zone
you know how I feel
Nina Simone
dig inside your chest
and unearth apocryphal poems
evil is what we do that makes you leave us alone
cuz life is gifted
every time we breath is a loan
you just want beef?
come on sink your teeth in the bone
and such the marrow out
now tell me what is it you care about?
Mosesing my ego
I'm still trying to get the Pharaoh out
and if they ask about my whereabouts
I'm writing in the sands of foreign lands
like West African marabouts
to remember my original tongue
but now I'm stuck in this Babylon
under digital suns
born into the tent
and like the rivers we run
but the air is too polluted
for my physical lungs
so I inhale through my heart
and beat the rhythm it drums
and turn with every cell in my body
to the Infinite One 

It’s so hard
living life without you
Habibi, uhibuka fi’llah
(Beloved, I love you in God) . . .



Produced, Recorded and Mixed by Anas Canon for Remarkable Current.
Music Written by Anas Canon.
All Music by Anas Canon and Fred Nilsson.
Lyrics by Baraka Blue and Anas Canon.

October 16, 2012

NEW: "Sounds of Making Love" by TheKAJ

There's an art to making love.  Pay close attention to the sounds.  Know the inside of her body better than she does . . . be in tune with it.  Caress her secret spaces. Pay close attention to her language . . . the body will speak to you.  This is a love song.  A making love song.  Become one with the rhythm while your bodies create the beat . . . 
Sounds of Making Love

"Thought The KAJ‘s first Booth feature, single "Somebody Move" was grown and sexy? You ain’t heard nothing yet. Newly-released album title track "Sounds of Making Love" is so steamy that it’s likely to spark an amorous encounter with whoever happens to be in the room—so listen with caution.
Best enjoyed with the lights low, this cut finds Joel Van Dijk and DJ Anas Canon layering soft, jazz-inflected guitar riffs over mellow yet driving percussion, as emcee Kumasi Simmons helps a special girl get comfortable. Singer/songwriters M. Spivey & Bridget Barkan top the record off with some seductively cooed hook and backing vocals. Craving more smoothness? Then be sure to cop the Los Angeles trio’s "The Sounds of Making Love" EP: "

CLICK TO DOWNLOAD 4-track EP - "The Sounds of Making Love"

September 27, 2012

IN THE NEWS: Music As Public Diplomacy

Remarkable Current's Hip Hop Ambassadors program highlighted as an "innovator in public diplomacy" in the new issue of
Public Diplomacy Magazine!  

PD Magazine is a publication of the Association of Public Diplomacy Scholars (APDS) at the University of Southern California, with support from the USC Center on Public Diplomacy at the Annenberg School, USC College’s School of International Relations, the Annenberg School for Communication and USC Annenberg Press. The publication's unique mission is to provide a common forum for the views of both scholars and practitioners from around the globe, in order to explore key concepts in the study and practice of public diplomacy. 

CLICK HERE for the online article "Remarkable Current: Music as Public Diplomacy" By Maytha Alhassen or read the full article below.

Dizzy Gillespie leads the first State Department tour.
Dizzy at a reception with Princess Shams Pahlavi, elder sister of the Shah of Iran, and her husband.
Abadan, Iran, 1956
Dr. Curtis Sandberg, Senior Vice President for the Meridian International Center, asked the question in a recent article: “Does jazz have a healing role in a world divided by conflicting ideologies?” This question could have been posed to a member of the audience at a Dizzy Gillespie concert in Zagreb in 1956. In fact, an attendee, one of many in the region who were given the opportunity to hear Gillespie perform as part of a Jazz Ambassador tour of the region, remarked, “What this country needs is fewer ambassadors and more jam sessions!”

The comment remains poignant today. Tunisian youth activist Achref Aouadi recently asserted, “Remarkable Current has more of an impact on Tunisia than Secretary Hillary Clinton.” What is Remarkable Current, and how could it have more of an impact on U.S.-Tunisian relations on a grassroots level in post-uprising Tunisia than seasoned, internationally recognized politicians?

In 2006, Remarkable Current, the American musician collective founded by Anas Canon, launched a cultural envoy and musical exchange program called “Hip Hop Ambassadors.”[1] This initiative is modeled after an earlier century’s “Jazz Ambassadors,” a program that emerged from the Cold War context of the mid-1950s to the 1970s and was run by the Department of State. Led by jazz greats Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, and Quincy Jones, these tours included concerts and “jam sessions” of intercultural dialogue and musical exchange.  In keeping with this mission, Remarkable Current (RC) intentionally recruits American musicians who are eminent in their fields and  ”exude a loving spirit and a disposition of universal inclusiveness.” Canon explains, ¨When walking on to the stage or visiting an orphanage, you don’t have to speak the local language to communicate that you are there to share yourself with them. People can feel when you are as excited to meet them as they are to meet you.”

Having toured Tunisia, Algeria, Indonesia, Tanzania, Turkey, Morocco and Egypt, Remarkable Current artists have created a unique formula for engagement, building on the successes of their predecessors, the Jazz Ambassadors.  Jazz envoys were highly influenced by the cultures they encountered.  In many cases they experimented with the traditional musical styles and scales of countries they visited on these tours and learning from largely informal “spontaneous exchanges” with locals. In contrast, RC’s Hip Hop Ambassadors appear to be more intentional with their mission to build cross-cultural relationships through the medium of music and people-to-people interfaces. In every country they tour, the Hip Hop Ambassadors aim to work with local musicians, speak with press and facilitate workshops with youth around questions of American culture, foreign policy, and music.
Musicians Bats Ukz & Wav Taroek from Jakarta, Indonesia
For example, in Indonesia, RC auditioned local talent to join the band on its 2010 countrywide tour, filling the positions of bass and guitar. In Tunisia they fruitfully worked with their US Embassy sponsors to arrange studio time interspersed among Hip Hop Ambassador tour rehearsal sets, sound checks, and workshops to collaborate with Tunisian hip hop artists such as El Général and Empire, and record tracks about the Tunisian revolution. The first song RC recorded, “A Young Man’s Spark (Bouazizi)”,[2] was inspired by the 26 year-old Tunisian street cart vendor whose self-immolation has been popularly mythologized as the catalyst to the Arab revolutions.  Amen Ben Koussa of the rap group Empire testifies, “There was a positive message through the song and that’s what motivated us and connected all of us. ‘Bouazizi’ a martyr, as a symbol of peace, as a call for justice, gave us the power and feelings that bridged the gap between us and that’s what totally impacted our collaboration with Remarkable Current.”

The rap group Empire from Tunis, Tunisia
El Général, Anas Canon, Kumasi Simmons
The other song that Remarkable Current recorded while on tour in Tunisia, “Pick Up The Pieces,” was co-written by Anas Canon, Kumasi Simmons and El Général after an inspiring meeting the band had with this notorious rapper in his hometown of Sfax.  El Général received worldwide recognition after penning what has been deemed “the anthem of the Arab revolutions.”  “I was excited to meet this guy,” Canon said, “because he was into using his music to express an important socio-political message, which is one of the reasons that I still produce hip hop music today.”  Canon recognized the unique opportunity at hand. After hearing that local recording studios in Sfax were booked, he set up a make-shift studio in his hotel room for El Général, so that fans in the region and the US could be a part of this collaborative experience.Both collaborative songs have been played on Tunisia’s national radio station Radio Mosaique[3] and were made available online by RC for free digital download, as were their accompanying music videos. Creatively employing today’s technological innovations in its catalogue of programming is a bold example of how Remarkable Current distinguishes itself from its ancestors, the Jazz Ambassadors. The technology of the time did not allow for the Jazz Ambassadors to record spontaneously on the ground with the local artists during their tours. Advances in technology and Canon’s skill set as a producer enabled him to write, collaborate, record and share these experiences in the form of songs/videos with far-reaching impact.

Local artists were not the only in-country collaborators.  On the last day of RC’s Tunisian Revolution Tour, the American Corner library and community center hosted a workshop with the Hip Hop Ambassadors and local university students. “I have been waiting for this opportunity since I saw this on Facebook,” began Institut Superiour de Science Humaine de Tunis (ISSHT) student Amir Weslati during his enthused introduction to the roundtable. “I love hip hop music and rap. I cannot spend a day without listening to music.” During the workshop, he shared “Free Tunisia,” a rap written on his phone during one of the nights he and other community members volunteered to guard their community from Ben Ali’s militia. The song demanded the collective action, “Let’s get rid of Ben Ali’s ghost.” Multifarious views on the US role and response to international conflicts, and even an artist’s allegedly creative responsibility to “speak out” against “injustices” were complicated. Also complicated were monolithic, and for the most part mass mediated, impressions of African American culture.

RC rapper Kumasi Simmons reflected on the exchange during the workshop, arguing that it, and others like it, “are bigger than a concert.” This is an educational moment for Tunisian college students trying to design incorporation into their state’s democratic transition and for band-mates from the US, who learned from the people they encountered and grew from those exchanges. Throughout the workshop, RC artists were surprised to hear Tunisian college students’ well-versed backgrounds on African American history. At times they exhibited their veneration for Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X by quoting them. The students even explained how they appropriated American civil rights movement sit-in tactics to protest certain decisions made by the transitional government.

Abasi & Quanti Bomani

Beyond valuable interpersonal exchanges, the tours have been a dramatic personal growth experience for the young Hip Hop Ambassadors, who tour under the mentorship of older, more experienced artists in the collective.  Twenty-one year-old Hip Hop Ambassador Quanti Bomani’s reactions to touring Tunisia and Algeria in the summer of 2011 exemplifies this sentiment: “As a young artist, Remarkable Current amplified the power of the voice I have as a musician. My passion for the arts lay in the fact that true appreciation for music still exists. My horizons were broadened and love for the universal language reassured, while first-hand I got to witness the power a small group of musicians can have on a country that rarely sees visitors or one in the midst of a revolution. When the music begins to play, the smiles and entranced movements of the spectators instill a hope within my soul. Co-existence lies within the arts.”

In keeping focused on youth outreach in the era of social networking, Hip Hop Ambassadors continue to collaborate with artists they have met on the road and have made lifelong friendships with concert-goers, workshop attendees, and embassy staff, which are now easily sustained through Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. The success of RC’s Hip Hop Ambassadors program can be attributed to its emphasis on people-to-people exchanges at a grassroots level, speaking the global youth language of hip hop.  Canon explains that, “what jazz was for earlier generations, hip hop is for today’s generation.” Canon clearly understands what former Jazz Ambassador Louis Armstrong knew, “A note is a note in any language.” If cultural diplomacy can be characterized as an “exchange of ideas, information, values, systems, traditions, beliefs, and other aspects of culture, with the intention of fostering mutual understanding,” as political scientist Dr. Milton C. Cummings defines it, then Remarkable Current’s Hip Hop Ambassadors are an innovative update to the 1950s and 60s Jazz Ambassador program and to the entire field of cultural diplomacy. The initiative’s vision, one that centralizes the use of today’s music, continues the tradition of the soft power of cultural outreach and using music to build bridges of understanding.

Maytha Alhassen is a Provost Ph.D. Fellow in American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. Alhassen regularly appears on the Al Jazeera English program “The Stream” as a co-host and digital producer and is a co-editor of the forthcoming book on the Arab revolutions “Demanding Dignity: Young Voices from the Front Lines of the Arab Revolutions” this Fall 2012.

*(co-producers of the photographic exhibit “Jam Session: America’s Jazz Ambassadors Embrace the World”) (
“A Young Man’s Spark” Free Download Here:
“Pick Up The Pieces” Free Download Here:

[1] “Remarkable Current, ‘Hip Hip Ambassadors of the 21st Century,’” Accessed Web May 5, 2012,

[2] “A Young Man’s Spark (Bouazizi) – Anas Canon & Guests,”, September 17, 2011. Accessed Web May 5, 2012,
[3] “Mosaique FM,” Accessed Web May 5, 2012,


September 19, 2012

NEW TRACK: "Purple Eyelids" by Baraka Blue

The next chapter from "Majnun's Lost Memoirs"

• syn·es·the·sia / noun / \ˌsi-nəs-ˈthē-zh(ē-)ə\
1. A condition in which one type of stimulation evokes the sensation of another, as when the hearing of a sound produces the visualization of a color.
2. A sensation felt in one part of the body as a result of stimulus applied to another, as in referred pain.
3. The description of one kind of sense impression by using words that normally describe another.

Human beings are points of consciousness: each person's perspective is formed by their unique experiences, knowledge, and innate dispositions.  Each soul perceives reality according to its perspective. When perception is altered, reality is altered. This was clear to the ancients, which is why all spiritual paths aim, above all else, to transform the subjective seat of consciousness of the individual.

Importantly, they maintain that there is a pure and true divine perspective (that of the prophets, saints, sages, and wise (wo)men) that can be attained through transformation of your subjective lens. Below this ultimate perspective is a full spectrum characterized by varying degrees (states and stations) of light and darkness.

Despite modern scientism's inability to measure or quantify subjectivity, (and thus its denial of the existence of these realities) we can't honestly talk about knowledge without discussing and defining the locus of gnosis: the 'self that knows'. Just as the color, shape, and material of the lens over your eye will affect how you see the physical world; the paradigms and purity of the point of perception will affect all that you do, see, hear, and contemplate.

Therefore, this song is a meditation abundant with mantras and dhikrs about maintaining intentionality of perspective characterized by love, sincerity, and service to Creator and creation in all endeavors. It also honors the path and the process of transformation in that what we love becomes what we do and what we do becomes who we are.

Purple eyelids: everything love
You make it what you is
if you make it what you does;
You make it what you do
If you make it what you love
So it's purple eyelids: everything love.

From the album, Majnun's Lost Memoirs, track released 18 September 2012:

Produced by Anas Canon for Remarkable Current
All Lyrics by Baraka Blue
Music Written by Anas Canon
Music Performed by Anas Canon (drums, keyboards, bass & percussion) & Fred Nilsson (Guitars)
Guest Vocals by Bridget Barkan

August 21, 2012

CONCERT DATE:: TheKAJ performs in Los Angeles

South LA Summer Power Festival:
Turn Up Your Power!

Don't miss this FREE arts & music festival on Saturday, Aug. 25, featuring
The KAJ, Aloe Blacc, Maya Jupiter, Sunni Colon,
Las Cafeteras & more!


Enjoy the new EP from The KAJ for your summer jams!
New Single:  Somebody Move

June 22, 2012

NEW TRACK:: Somebody Move by The KAJ

NEW RELEASE from the Neo Doo Wop sensation The KAJ, as in casual or cashmere . . . 
"Somebody Move" . . . and nobody gets hurt!

Delectable, Pretty everything
I'm on the dance floor searching for a wedding ring
Sensual smile, Loving ur style
Full of class now, But bet you can Go wild?
You got a good job I'm seeing what u working with,
I’m not a killer, but Baby I promise ima murder it.
Make Ya’ feel like- You ran a two-mile quick,
I’ll wear that out like a new outfit - Come on!

Credits for "Somebody Move" by TheKAJ:
All Music Joel Van Dijk and Anas Canon.
Lyrics by Anas Canon and Kumasi Simmons.
Vocals by Kumasi Simmons, Anas Canon, Joel Van Dijk, Bridget Barkan and Michael A. Spivey.
Produced and arranged by Anas Canon and Joel Van Dijk.
Recorded, Mixed, and Mastered by Anas Canon for Remarkable Current.

May 25, 2012

NEW VIDEO "Glad Tidings" by Baraka Blue

Ahmed James Bond


"I'm not a rapper I'm a strap with pin filed down-
blaze a cap at ‘cha
With a pre-columbian map of the new world-
from Muslims down in Africa
Raising the dhikr rate per capita,
Turks, Moors and Moriscos
spit flows, turn pros from ametures-
undercovers better tip-toe!"

- excerpt from "Glad Tidings" by Baraka Blue

Deep in the heart of China Town a mystery unfolds. The dark forces have devised a plan to steal the Golden Chain in order to invert love and co-opt the reLOVEutionaries.  They plan to launch their attack amid the festivities and merriment of Chinese New Year.  But have no fear lovers, for Majnun, and the Imo the Tantrafarian oracle, have anticipated their latest attack and preserved the coveted Chain!  Now, before they are cornered by the dominions of darkness they must smuggle it out of China Town and into safe keeping without being suspected . . . Glad tidings to the strangers.

Glad Tidings [To The Strangers] is a song about embracing "outcastedness" in relation to the monoculture current.  It is about celebrating alternative modes of being . . . individually and communally, globally and locally, traditionally and presently.
If you are planting a good seed and the last day comes, keep planting. This is the END OF TIMES anthem!

Video Produced, Directed, Styled & Edited by Anas Canon for Remarkable Current
Song Produced by Anas Canon & Jeremy Abdul Malik
Vocals and Lyrics by Baraka Blue
Additional vocals by Spendthrift.
Music by Anas Canon, Spendthrift, Joe Rudd, and Jeremy Abdul Malik.
Song Produced, Recorded, and Mixed by Anas Canon for Remarkable Current
Special video guest appearance by Imo Abraham


©2012 Remarkable Current. All Right Reserved.