Ganessa James Music
Gratitude. That word sums up all the amazing energies that have been arising. Choreographer Maria Bauman and I leaned into our vulnerability co-creating the dance/music performace piece 'Passages'. We set up a challenge to look at transitions of all kinds, and focused on the transitions in relationships. I had the chance to shake my usual shape and do improvised dance, while Maria gave herself to improvised singing. We shared this delicate work to a full house at Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance. So grateful to BAAD, to Maria, to dancers Courtney Cook and Sanchell Brown who helped bring Passages to life. And to everyon who joined us in the space, in person and in spirit.
And INTRINSIC! Littlefield was chock full of generous energy for Climbing Poetree's CD release. Over 30 artists and many more supportive collaborators made that night happen. I'm talkin string section, horn section, dancers, some of the fiercest singers, and of course, Alixa and Naima, their inimitable energy, and their heart-medicine music. If you haven't already copped the album, check it out for yourself: INTRINSIC
As for this month, I'm really excited to join the line-up for the Queer Country Quarterly at Branded Saloon on April 15th. We'll be celebrating Humble Tripe's record release. You'll also hear music from myself, Nadia Bourne, and Karen and the Sorrows! Then on the 19th, you'll find me on bass in Mishti's rock-blues set at Rockwood Music Hall. It's a fantastic night of music, come join us if you can!
Next month, Toshi Reagon brings BIGLovely to the west coast. We'll be at UCLA on May 3rd and in the bay at Freight and Salvage on May 6th. I can't wait to get out there and see beloved west coast faces. It's Spring, y'all. Come out and play!
This journey of taking messages and turning them to sound continues. In a lot of ways it's been a troubling winter season, though sprinkled with a lot of amazing musical moments. Personally, I'm glad that spring is rolling around and very excited about what's to come.
Last month, the ensembles for GOODFolk and Chaney Sims' Heartstrings respectively blazed up Joe's Pub. I pushed my own edges on bass and guitar in those shows. This month, I'm excited to stretch even further (literally). On March 18th at BAAD, I'll be doing an evening of collaboration with choreographer Maria Bauman: Passages. We're exploring themes of transition, and we each are going to explore a bit of the other's "dance space". So you'll see me doing some movement, and you'll get to hear Maria sing - as we bring our artistic gaze to the one thing humans can't escape: change. Please join us for this really unique offering!
Other gifts: March 14th at Branded Saloon we're celebrating Elias Krell's CD release. Sets of music by Elias, Trashy, and by yours truly. And on March 31st, I'm honored to join the crew that will bring Climbing Poetree's INTRINSIC CD to life in celebration of their CD release at Littlefield. The record was an epic undertaking and we're all super proud of Climbing Poetree for putting forth this gift of music - in addition to their unrelenting activist work. Hope to see you out there this month!
What a proud showing of resistance to start off this year. January saw some of the largest gatherings of people in protest - ever. At the Women's March on Washington, the crowds were enormous. That day we felt the collective energy of hundreds of thousands of people present to express dissent. We heard people from all walks of life speaking truth to power. I was on that stage playing bass in the house band under the masterful direction of Toshi Reagon and Rachel Eckroth, musical directors, for some fierce artists lending their music and presence to the cause - from Janelle Monae to Maxwell to Alicia Keys. I am grateful to all the organizers, artists, and protesters for making a proufound statement on that epic day. And not only was the DC march huge - people turned out in cities all over the world, to show with their presence that there will be resistance to authoritarian/nationalist efforts to strip any oppressed group of their rights. It's just beginning.
We'll need spaces to gather and recharge during this time. Let music be your medicine. This month I'll be playing bass with Toshi Reagon's GOODFolk LOVEFest at Joe's Pub on February 17th. We'll be playing songs that explore the angst of love. And on February 21st, I'll be playing guitar with Grammy-nominated singer Chaney Sims in a very special evening of music with some fantastic musicians. There's heart medicine in this, so come join us.
Also: in March, I'll be doing an evening in collaboration with choreographer Maria Bauman at Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance. This is going to be an evening that blends what we both do, and I'm very excited about it - save the date and stay tuned for more details: March 18th. That month will also find me at Branded Saloon, playing a set of my tunes in Elias Krell's CD-release party, AND at the end of the month I'll be hanging on bass with Climbing Poetree for their CD-release at Littlefield. I'm so proud of my artist family. So... Come get something good. Take care of yourselves and each other. Hope, love, and music.
Top of the year. This year we get to show up in solidarity and in community to help secure the rights and dignity of all folks. Everyone has a part to play, whether you're donating money to awesome organizations like the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, ALP or Astraea, to name a few. Or maybe you're out in the streets, protesting to voice your dissent, exercising your right to free speech. With the coming inauguration of a president with no governmental experience and very little accountability, it'll be up to us to be watchful for what the new administration tries to push through. To loudly voice opposition to and continually find ways to resist any platform that puts into question the safety and rights of any group.
In that spirit: On January 21st, I'm honored to be joining Toshi Reagon in making music at the Women's March on Washington. And on the 25th and 26th, you'll find me at Joe's Pub, joyfully holding down the bass in BIGLovely for Toshi's birthday shows. You wanna catch one of these shows if you can. There is medicine in gathering and in music. See you out there - love!
Oh hello, fall! It's been a beautiful musical start to the season with Word Rock Sword and not one but TWO editions of Uptown Swing! Essentially floating on a cloud of gratitude for all the amazingly talented folks in this circle. Special gratitude to Toshi Reagon for making a beautiful and safe space of music. And to my collaborator Micia Mosely who's got gifts for the community in abundance with the Black Teacher Project, and with her art.
So for the rest of the month: October 17th you'll find me at Rockwood with Mishti, we're gonna rock blues it out. And on October 28th, I'm excited to join Rachel Friedman at Joe's Pub performing songs off her amazing record My Marching Band. Allison Miller on drums, Tiffany James and Jeff Jeudy rounding out this fine musical combo. AND it's Rachel's birthday celebration! So come celebrate with us and gift yourself a beautiful night of music.
Sending lots of light and love out to you, treasured fam.
For Your Ears:
It's been a beautiful summer of unexpected musical gifts. I got to collaborate with some of my favorite human beings! Ashley Phillips, Naima Penniman, Juliette Jones, Shelley Nicole, Toshi Reagon, Tiffany James - gifted, right?
This month I'm excited to be making music with Onliest at Dixon Place Lounge on September 9, and at our debut at the amazing Sisterspace Festival on the 11th! And since September is our birthday month, we're taking our collaboration with Micia Mosely and turning the September edition of Uptown Swing into a birthday party - that's the 28th, come hang with us! Tiffany and I have been tinkering with our musical blend for, oh a few decades? But recently we've begun to focus on something kinda interesting: the way our differences are a unique strength for us. We sure hope you can check out what we're up to!
What else, is it really September without Word Rock Sword? This year the concert is on September 24th at Le Poisson Rouge - and you really wanna be there! Joan As Policewoman, Be Steadwell Allison Miller and so many more amazing performers are gonna be in the place to light up the stage and your heart. Get your tickets!
Lastly, I'll take a moment to highlight a struggle that's really important to me. I firmly stand against the tactics and methods being used in the efforts to force the Dakota Access Pipeline through Native lands in the Dakotas - putting water sources and sacred sites at risk. If you haven't heard about it, please check out the haps online. If you're team #NoDAPL like I am, and interested in what you can do to support our brothers and sisters at the front lines, please read THIS.
Appreciate you and all that you do.
This month, I'm joining Naima Pennimann of Climbing Poetree in Rock Against the TPP. We hit Seattle on August 19th and Portland on August 20th. There are a slew of great artists and activists lending their voices to raise awareness about this problematic trade deal which could potentially affect us all. Find out more at rockagainstthetpp.org.
Later on in the month I'll be hanging with comedian and educator Micia Moseley, Onliest, and special guests Aima the dreamer (west coast!) and Chaney Sims over at Mess Hall in Harlem. There's an open mic too, so bring your gifts! Thats August 31st.
Coming in September: Onliest Rocks SisterSpace Festival on the 11th and Word Rock Sword lands at Le Poisson Rouge on the 24th - so stay tuned!
Hotter Than July 2016
The Summer's gone Epic.
In this last week of July, I had the pleasure of sharing my music along with Ashley Phillips at our tenderly inspired event 'Open Hearts' Club in Brooklyn. I'm tellin you the room was full of love - and we're definitely gonna do it again soon. But wait - also this final week of July, I'm sitting in on guitar with the incredible Juliette Jones, violinist and musician extraordinaire, in a sweet set at City Winery opening for Lizz Wright. I'm so excited about this, I can't tell you. It will be an incredible night of music so you definitely gotta get your tickets before they sell out.
In August, I'll be hanging on bass with Shelley Nicole's blaKbushe at C'mon Everybody once again - and this time we're raising funds for a beloved of ours fighting cancer. Come be in the room with us, it's awesome music for an awesome reason.
Last but not least in August: I'm thrilled to be joining Naima Penniman of Climbing Poetree as she rocks Rock Against the TPP in a line-up that includes Talib Kweili in Seattle and Portland. We'll be kicking some music off the new Climbing Poetree record INTRINSIC - available Spring 2017! Again, amazing music for an amazing reason. TPP? Trans-Pacific Partnership international trade agreement being negotiated by multiple governments, details kept secret from the public. Sound like a problem? It is. Find out more online and if you're in any of the cities on the Rock Against the TPP tour, go show your love!
In solidarity, love and music!
Family, I'm writing with heavy heart about the disproportionate level of violence black, brown, and other non-conforming bodies withstand in this world - most depressingly at the hands of the state. I know that art has some role in creating safe space or solace for those who have difficulty locating it elsewhere. So among other avenues of work, I continue to offer (and find relief in) music.
There are few bigger musical spaces of love to wade in than Toshi Reagon's BIGLovely. So if you're at or near Bard College the first weekend of the month please come be in the room with us on Saturday evening. I promise you'll leave with something you need.
Over the next few weeks, I'll get to work with some of my favorite folks, who keep me grounded and held in the expansiveness of their gifts: Shelley Nicole, Micia Mosely, Maria Bauman, Ashley Phillips, just to name a few. So please stay tuned for more music. And please be well as you humanly can be. Don't forget to reach out to the folks you hold dear. Together we make this living meaningful.
It's shaping up to be a huge month of music! First off, on June 11th I'm sitting in with Dan Zanes' Leadbelly Project at Celebrate Brooklyn. It'll be my first time playing the Bandshell and I'm so excited to be doing it with Dan and his fantastic crew. After that, I'm rolling down to Miami with some of my favorite musicians, as Toshi Reagon brings BIGLovely to town for the 'Out in the Tropics' Festival. When I return, the music keeps goin: I'm sitting in on bass with my long time brother in music Demax and his band Terrestrial Reset. We'll be playin some of his beautiful music at C'mon Everybody in Brooklyn in celebration of his birthday.
I'm so proud to know so many talented artists. Takin this moment to shout out Maria Bauman, an incredible choreographer and dancer, artist/activist. Her company MBDance will be performing an evening of work at NYU entitled 'Grace is High and Low' - and you sure don't wanna miss it. Get your tickets HERE.
All the gratitude for all that's beautiful in the world. See you out there!
May's starting to bring the sunshine, and inspiration for so much that is good. Feels like it's time to shake it up and start something new! I'm excited about the new songs that keep comin on through and conjuring up more collaborations. This past month, the pilot for BRIC's 'All Together Now' aired, with the amazing Dan Zanes and myself acting as co-hosts. You can check that out here: All Together Now! I also had the pleasure of sitting in on bass for a recording for a project Dan is workin' on, such a cool experience, creating more positive vibes with new friends.
This month, you can catch me on TV playing bass in the house band for the final episode of the Meredith Vieira show (airs on May 23rd on NBC). It was a mind-blowing experience working with those super-star Meredith Vieira Players under the expert direction of Everett Bradley, something I'll never forget! Catch that if you can, and for something live, I'll be holding down bass with Mishti at Rockwood on May 18th. Come have a drink and vibe with the rock-bluesy sounds!
Next month, I'm excited to join Toshi Reagon's BIGLovely down in Miami for the Out In the Tropics festival! The magic of music awaits...
So Onliest got out to the west coast in March, and it was FANTASTIC! We played our hearts out, met some amazing Cal State students (the future's in good hands) and we met some ridiculously talented musicians down in Long Beach. We caught some much needed sunshine, and we drove up to the Bay, where we had the chance to check out a show with Skip the Needle and Shelley Nicole's blaKbushe. We ended up on stage for a few tunes with Shelley, and we connected with so many beautiful kindred spirits. In short, I'm still walking on sunshine, even tho the east coast hasn't quite gotten the memo yet about spring!
As for what's next... I'm playing some music with my good friends Mishti and Rachel Friedman at Bowery Electric on April 18th. Come check out the show and let these two amazing songwriters draw you in with their own special blend of storytelling and musical genius. Also cooking: I'm co-hosting this really cool new series on BRIC TV called 'All Together Now'. Along with Dan Zanes, host and musical director, we explore the musical possibilities of some very talented but very different music groups. When it all comes together, it's pretty magical. The first episode airs this month - so stay tuned for more details here!
The musical journey continues.... xo!
There's been so much incredible music and inspiration over these past few weeks. I got to play some of my favorite basslines in this year's Love Fest at Joe's - some D'Angelo, some Brainstorm (thank you Deon Estus!!), Earth Wind and Fire just to name a few - masterfully delivered by a cast of amazing singers. I've been out to see a ton of dope musicians share their gifts. I've also been in the shed with my guitar, playing a lot of acoustic, these days. And on Valentine's Day, a new song came down, a meditation on love: Safe And Sound. I posted it right away on facebook, and honestly, I was blown away that so many folks stopped to listen. I'm honored to have written something that spoke to so many folks. I'll keep returning to the space of what feels most vulnerable and true, and I hope to return with more songs that speak those truths. Take a listen to Safe And Sound: HERE.
This month, Onliest heads out to the west coast to make some music at Cal State Fullerton. Tiffany and I are so excited to bring these #twinsounds out west! Also this month, I'm honored to be back at ALP. This'll be my second year playing some music for the annual POZitively Resilient event - a dope gathering and celebration of community.
If you're in NYC, I hope you get a chance to check out the Women's Jazz Fest at the Schomburg. There's music all month long! These shows are always off the chain, lots of beautiful music family will up there gracing the stage - and I will be in the audience gettin FREE. See you out there!
It's been a whirlwind musical start to the year! I played 4 shows on 2 coasts with Toshi Reagon's BIGLovely, a late night set at Rockwood with one my faves, Mishti, and an incredibly dynamic set with Toshi Reagon and Allison Miller's new project Holler & Bam in the Winter Jazz fest (check their blazin tunes on soundcloud!). I got to catch a good bit of live music too, which is something that always gets me inspired. At the moment it has me tinkering with arrangements of some of my songs which you'll soon be able to check out.
So, February. Black History Month. Birthday month to some really beloved Aquarian friends of mine. To some folk, it's the month when we celebrate the loveliness of love. Whether you're a fan of Valentine's day or not, we invite you to come down and get musically loved up on in another edition of Good Folk Love Sessions at Joe's Pub on February 12th. This year we're bringin you 'Soulful Love', playing some of my favorite tunes - with some amazing singers that'll have you on cloud nine! Get your tickets: HERE, and we'll see you out there for this soulful situation!
Happy 2016, family! I'm so excited about what this year will bring. Already, January is kicking off with a slew of amazing performances. January 11th, I'm holding down bass for bluesy-rocker Mishti at Rockwood. It's been a while since I've been on the Rockwood stage, and I love that I'll be doin it with friends and fam. Then on the 16th, I'm holding bass for Holler and Bam, Toshi Reagon and Allison Miller's joint project. That's happening at Subculture as part of the Winter Jazz Fest. And at the end of the month, Toshi Reagon's BIGLovely heads off to California to play two shows in the Off Center Festival, followed by the annual birthday shows at Joe's Pub in NYC.
I hope you can get out and join us for some of this live awesomeness. Also, if you're following along on the interwebs, I'm posting tunes and videos so you can share in the evolution of this music. Some of these tunes are teenagers, like Believer and Lost in Me - I can hardly believe it, but years later, they are STILL teaching me things about how they want to be played! And then there are much newer songs like Waterside, which help me think about who and how I want to be in community and in my music. You can check out Facebook, Youtube and Soundcloud for new stuff.
Sending out BIG love to you, family!
I'm still cloud-walking from amazing sets last month with Chaney Sims, Onliest and blaKbushe! The rooms were full of fam. And at one point, I think I had about 50 songs in my head, ready to play at the drop of a hat - on guitar AND bass. I just love that! So I'm bringing my high-stepping into December, kicking off the month by joining blaKbushe for a show at the legendary Bitter End in NYC. We've got a pocketful of funk, I'm tellin you - you gotta see it to believe. Come down and hang out with us and leave with a li'l extra pep in your step. And as for the rest of the month, I'll be doin some more writing and a bit of recording - which I'll be sharing on the Soundcloud with ya.
Speaking of which, family, I wanna thank you for rocking with me this year. I am so grateful for your time and presence when you come out to shows, and when you check out my music online. It's a huge honor. As the year winds to a close, I wish everyone happy and healthy holidays, in whatever way you celebrate!
Takin a quick peek into 2016: In January, I'll be joining BIGLovely on bass for the Off Center Festival in Costa Mesa, and again at Joe's Pub for Toshi Reagon's annual birthday shows at the end of the month. I'll be joining Mishti's bluesy badness at Rockwood, and you might just catch me onstage with one of the acts at Winter Jazz Fest (tbd). What else for next year? I've got some acoustic shows planned, you'll see Onliest out and about as well, and some new collaborations I'm cooking up for your ears.
And there is Much More Music to come!
November rolls in with a bunch of music up her sleeve. I've had the chance to sit in on rehearsals and studio sessions for my beautiful and talented artist homies Climbing Poetree, AND I got to join Rachel Friedman's gorgeous set at Shapeshifter Lounge in Brooklyn (I tell ya, at one point we were singing four part harmony. FOUR!). And of course, I've been cradling my guitar in preparation for my solo set November 18th at Branded, also featuring the fantastic songstress and storyteller Chaney Sims. It's my first time playin solo in a while, and I'm excited. I've got some new tunes to share with you, and some that have been around for a while too. I'll be sitting in on Chaney's set, and of course you can expect some special guests. I hope you can come down and join us!
And then on November 20th, Onliest is back at C'mon Everybody in Brooklyn opening for Shelley Nicole's blaKbushe and also featuring a set by special guest Akie Bermiss! This a night of music that has something for everybody, don't miss it!
Last but not least, I cooked up this newly recorded version of one of the first songs I wrote (many moons ago) an acoustic love song - a li'l something for your ears: **Lost In Me**. Have a listen, let me know what you think on the facebook or the twitter. Much more music ahead... ;)
Happy Fall, Family! We rang it in joyfully at the Word Rock Sword concert, which was music-magic-medicine fierceness. I celebrated my birthday too, (another reason why I love the fall). As part of the celebration, I went to check out Toshi Reagon's Parable of the Sower at UPenn in Philadelphia - more music-medicine! I'm entirely inspired, playing a lot and writing too, so be sure to check out the Soundcloud for new sounds and ruminations.
This month, blaKbushe is back at C'mon Everybody on October 16th. I'll be playin in the 'bushe and for the opener as well: Mishti! It'll be a great night of performances with a li'l something for everyone. And when November rolls around, you can catch me playing with Rachel Friedman's beautiful combo at Shapeshifter Lab (November 2nd), and doing a set of my own in the Songbird Series at Branded Saloon on November 14th, opening for the fantastic Chaney Sims.
See you out there, in love and music!
For Your Ears:
Title track from my EP Believer