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Sh8peshifter Zakiya Harris: Sights & Sounds

Bethanie Hines

Sights & Sounds is your weekly guide to the Bay Area arts scene. Singer-songwriter Zakiya Harris makes music under the name Sh8peshifter, and she told KALW’s Jenee Darden about three fantastic arts events happening around the Bay this week.

 Grace Jones: Bloodlight And Bami is an electrifying journey through the public and private worlds of pop culture mega-icon Grace Jones. The documentary contrasts musical sequences with intimate personal footage, all the while brimming with Jones’s bold aesthetic. Director Sophie Fiennes goes beyond the traditional music biography, taking us home with Jones to Jamaica, into the studio with long-time collaborators Sly & Robbie, and behind-the-scenes at gigs around the world. The film reveals Jones as lover, daughter, mother and businesswoman. But the stage is the fixed point to which the film returns, with eye-popping performances of "Slave to the Rhythm," “Pull Up to the Bumper,” "Love Is the Drug," and more. Jones herself has said watching the film “will be like seeing me almost naked."

"The film really gives you an inside peek of her life. It follows her to Jamaica, it follows her to the studio making new music. I just think she's just such a fascinating and underrepresented and spoken of giant in the music world."

Welcome To The Lab is a monthly artist discussion and musical showcase of some of the Bay Area's most influential artists and curators that happens every First Friday in Oakland. The night will feature Ethiopian-American singer-songwriter Meklit, Bay Area indie hip--hop with Bicasso, and pianist, emcee, composer Kev Choice. Due to very limited space please RSVP.

"It's an open invitation to people to learn more about the facility ... to experience incredible, incredible local music in a beautiful atmosphere with beautiful people, and so all of the artists that are performing this Friday are incredible unsung heroes of the local music scene."

Beninese singer-songwriter and activist, Angélique Kidjo, reimagines the classic Talking Heads album Remain in Light with support from Bells Atlas. Growing up in Benin exposed Kidjo to a rich variety of music. She was heavily influenced by the traditional folk styles and love songs of the country — epic songs full of allusions to the history of the villages and the rituals and voodoo ceremonies of the older generation. 
Perhaps more importantly, she was listening to the new urban African music percolating up from South Africa, and to Western songs on the radio, ranging from  Aretha Franklin to Jimi Hendrix. But after Benin's communist party seized government control in 1977, Kidjo fled to Paris, where she heard the Talking Heads for the first time. She released her cover of their album Remain In Light last year, paying homage to the music of her homeland and the Talking Heads. She'll be performing with East Bay band Bells Atlas.

"It's just a wonderful kind of meshing of local music with global music. You won't be disappointed."

Zakiya Harris will be performing at Black Women Rock! on 5/12 at Yerba Buena Center For The Arts.