Thursday, August 09, 2012

Fri Aug 31: Evolutions and Revolutions - Umoja live in LA

Friday August 31, the Umoja Hi-Fi DJ collective unites for historic gathering featuring jazz, reggae, soul, hip-hop and more.

Most DJs hang up the decks after a few years entertaining drunken club crowds. The late nights, lugging heavy vinyl bags and laptop meltdowns take their toll. Still others stick with their turntables and 45s for the pure love of records, the artists’ messages and the soulful enrichment of communal music gatherings. Umoja Hi-Fi is one such DJ collective. In 2012 Umoja Hi-Fi, known as “the unity sound,” will celebrate 20 years as an evolving, multi-city, multi-genre music unit. 

Friday August 31 the nine-member crew comes together at NOLAs in Los Angeles for Umoja Hi-Fi Presents: Evolutions and Revolutions, a night of live music and DJs that showcases the group’s versatility and longevity. Founded in 1992 by friends Darren “Daz” Blackburn and Tomas Palermo, the squad includes DJs Culture D, Jun, Cokni O’Dire, Stevie G, Destroyer, Monalisa and B-Love. Based throughout cities from Dallas and San Francisco, to Bali and LA, the members all remain musically active, including DJing clubs, podcasting, radio and production.

The August 31 gathering showcases solo and tag-team DJ sets of hip-hop, rare funk, soul and reggae music, as well as house, electronic and dance classics. The night also features a live performance by Josh Koslow, Emil PoreĆ© and the Umoja Quintet, a hard bop jazz ensemble that performed at Umoja Hi-Fi’s original early-90s event, the Jazz N Ragga Lounge at the former Cosmo Bar near the Sound Factory studio in Hollywood. That original club night established the crew’s sonic blueprint – playing multiple music styles, always with a dash of reggae and jazz plus an emcee to keep the crowd involved. Since then, Umoja Hi-Fi has produced dozens of club nights, among them Chocolate Bar, B-Side, Goa Dub, Crucial and Uprock.

20 years on the crew has evolved, adding new members Destroyer, Monalisa and B-Love, while their passion for music continues as members perform at DJ nights in SF, LA, Dallas, Chicago, New York and Europe. “It really is a unity thing when we play,” says Tomas. “The audience is a part of it, and we feed off their vibes.” 
Umoja Hi-Fi Presents: Evolutions and Revolutions
Friday August 31 at NOLAs, downtown Los Angeles, 7 p.m. till 2:00 a.m.
Featuring DJs Daz, Tomas, King Cokni O’Dire, Jun, Culture D, Destroyer, Monalisa and B-Love. Live performance by the Umoja Quintet featuring Josh Koslow.

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