MOON MEDICIN

MOON MEDICIN

about

The nose knows.

We’ve been overdosing on pop perfume, a heady arrangement of melody and bounce - coddled by brightly colored choruses and whims of the Top Forty. But one flavor never made a stew. Sometimes we Earthlings are in need of a piece of meat caught between the wisdom teeth, just to suck it loose for a savory taste of the unpretty. When tripping the light fantastic gives way to a slew footed stomp – jut the butt and knees bent. Chicken wing and Cheshire grin, a twisted tree through a piano and the quilt- that-never-got-washed; plus a top hat with more than rabbits inside. Everybody was Kung Fu fighting. And ninjas is crazy. A groove of image, shape, space, sound, texture and aroma all made familiar though a rhythm quest of live performance. We've smelled the Funk of Forty Thousand Years, and, of course, the olfactory of “P” and “G”, but I am not talking about that. I am a referring to a remedy for saddity, an anecdote for the overly analytic. A balm for the phases, a lunar liniment, or, more accurately: MOON MEDICIN.


The nose knows.

A quintet of grown ass men, this Boi Band has put its stank on revelers as the headlining act of Art Basel Miami 2011, served pungent aurality at The Kitchen, hit ‘em in the head at UCLA’s Hammer Museum and thrilled at the world famous Apollo Theater. While MOON MEDICIN is undoubtedly performance art - representing thoroughly for Performa ’07 – it is also theatre and testimony and sculpture and painting and fashion and music, but mostly, it’s that eff you en kay. Odoriferous humanity and the dream child of visual artist and keyboardist Sanford Biggers, this combination of players – percussionist Swiss Chris, Martin Luther on lead guitar and lead vocals, the singing turntablist Jahi Sundance, and Mark Hines, the bassist with live video tendencies – convene to concoct a fuel elixir for inter-dimensional travel and perceptual shifts. With a carefully curated selection of covers and original compositions by Biggers, Sundance and Martin, MOON MEDICIN is often joined by an evolving cast of creatives such as the sublime Imani Izuri and Sumie Kaneko. The funk is ephemeral and plastic. I’ll be sniffing around Lincoln Center come 2014 to catch a whiff - smelling salts for pre-consciousness.



Kenya (Robinson)

January 2014

Lincoln Center, NYC (2014)

Georgia Tech Ferst Center for the Arts, Atlanta (2014)

March 28, 2014

Apollo Theater, NYC (2013)

UCLA Hammer, Los Angeles (2012)

Moon Medicin is an aural and optical experiment conducted by interdisciplinary artist Sanford Biggers. His live work, by turns troubling and inspiring, weaves found images of punk, funk, film noir, sci-fi, traditional Samoan dance, and Buddhism with original video content and improvised turntableism and veejaying. The result is an evocative concert that is as much jam session as it is a performative film screening.

Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft (2012)

2012 Bourbon Bash

Art Basel Miami Beach, Miami (2011)

Art Basel Miami Beach collaborated with the Bass Museum of Art for the first time on the Art Public sector, transforming Collins Park with a record number of public art works. Featuring sculptures and performances by renowned artists and emerging talents, the sector opens to the public with a specially curated program of performances by Theaster Gates and the Black Monks of Mississippi, Sanford Biggers and Moon Medicin, as well as Ronald Duarte. Sanford Biggers and Moon Medicin’s evocative and experimental performance combined images of punk, funk, film noir, sci-fi with traditional Samoan dance, Buddhism and original video content. Fashion Designer Karrelle Levy of KRELware provided costuming and some insight into the collaborative creative process.

Rubin Museum of Art, NYC

Koto, DJ, piano and vocals, led by interdisciplinary artist Sanford Biggers, provide an improvised aural landscape for Biggers' often troubling as well as inspiring video work. Images of punk, film noir, minstrels, traditional Samoan dance, and Buddhism collide in this evocative concert/experimental film screening.


With Sanford Biggers, Mark Himes, Sumie Kaneko, DJ Jahi Sundance, and Imani Uzuri.

The Kitchen, NYC (2009)

Visual artist and musician Sanford Biggers‘ work examines the complex collisions between culture and commodity in contemporary society. For these evenings, Biggers presents a unique mash-up of improvised music, live video mixing, and text, with a small ensemble of dancers whose choreographed movements cast geometric light patterns throughout the space. Drawing from ancient African and Buddhist spiritual traditions, Dadaist theory, YouTube music culture, and John Biggers’ afro- futurist paintings, Biggers explores the specific cultural concerns of the contemporary political climate, using the socio-spiritual meanings of coded symbols and geometries to transform the mundane into the remarkable.


These performances feature Biggers (keyboards, laptop), Mark Hinds (video), Imani Uzuri (vocals), Martin Luther (guitar and vocals), and Andrew Palermo and Taye Diggs’ dre.dance (dance) alongside several other guest performers.

Harvard University, MA (2009)

Sanford Biggers was commissioned to create a temporary public artwork as the Marshall S. Cogan Visiting Artist in the Public Art Program. His new work, on view November 6 - December 2, 2009, was a fusion of meditative, historical, and contemporary concerns. Fascinated by the coded geometries by which we communicate, Biggers found the architectural landmark Memorial Hall—with its stained glass windows and hints of Masonic geometry—to be a compelling site for Constellation (Stranger Fruit). The installation drew on sources of inspiration ranging from Japanese cherry blossom festivals to Afrofuturist aesthetics. It also tapped into local African-American history, evoking the stars that directed escaped slaves along the Underground Railroad to Boston and other northern destinations in 19th century America. A prominently placed quilt recalled the coded messages in textile patterns believed to have assisted slaves in navigating the path to freedom. The work included a performance on site—with vocalist Imani Uzuri, members of Harvard’s a cappella group KeyChange, and instrumentalist Sumie Kaneko—offering an imaginative mash up of Sufi poetry, Sun Ra, and black spirituals.


Through conceptual works that fuse diverse cultural sensibilities and symbols, Biggers explores the similarities underlying ostensibly disparate cultural expressions. Incorporating icons and rites ranging from mandalas and slave quilts to hip hop and YouTube music culture, the artist’s works connect African spiritualism, Buddhist rituals, and African-American urban culture. At the same time, Biggers investigates history, race relations, and the socio-political environment. His works suggest that we transcend divisive social realities through the interconnectedness inherent in our shared affinity for the symbolic and the spiritual.

the box, NYC (2007)

The Somethin’ Suite was a multimedia performance featuring: Saul Williams, Esthero, Martin Luther, DJ Jahi Sundance, Shae Fiol, CX KiDTRONiK, Imani Uzuri, Freedome Bradley and Sanford Biggers. Commissioned by Performa 07, New York, NY.

Bios of recent performers

Sanford Biggers a.k.a. San Dolo

An LA native working in NYC, Sanford Biggers creates artworks that integrate film, video, installation, sculpture, drawing, original music and performance. He intentionally complicates issues such as hip hop, Buddhism, politics, identity and art history in order to offer new perspectives and associations for established symbols. Through a multi-disciplinary formal process and a syncretic creative approach he makes works that are as aesthetically pleasing as they are conceptual.


The significance of Biggers’ work within contemporary society has been celebrated through solo exhibitions both nationally and internationally, most recently at the Brooklyn Museum, Sculpture Center and Mass MoCA. He has participated in prestigious residencies and fellowships including: Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart, Germany; Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw, Poland; Headlands Center for the Arts, Sausalito, California; ARCUS Project Foundation, Ibaraki, Japan; and the Art in General/ Trafo Gallery Eastern European Exchange in Budapest, Hungary. He has been a fellow of the Creative Time Global Residency, the Socrates Sculpture Park Residency, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council World Views AIR Program, the Eyebeam Atelier Teaching Residency, the Studio Museum AIR Program, the P.S. 1 International Studio Program, and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture residency.


Sanford Biggers’ installations, videos, and performances have appeared in venues worldwide including Tate Britain and Tate Modern in London, the Whitney Museum and Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, and the Yerba Bue a Center for the Arts in San Francisco, as well as institutions in China, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Poland and Russia. The artist’s works have been included in notable exhibitions such as: Prospect 1 New Orleans Biennial, Illuminations at the Tate Modern, Performa 07 in NY, the Whitney Biennial, and Freestyle at the Studio Museum in Harlem. His works are included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, Walker Art Center, Whitney Museum, Brooklyn Museum and Bronx Museum.


Biggers has won awards including: the American Academy in Berlin Prize, Greenfield Prize, New York City Art Teachers Association Artist-of-the-Year, Creative Time Travel Grant, Creative Capital Project Grant, New York Percent for the Arts Commission, Art Matters Grant, New York Foundation for the Arts Award, the Lambent Fellowship in the Arts, the Pennies From Heaven/ New York Community Trust Award, Tanne Foundation Award, and Rema Hort Mann Foundation Award Grant.


Biggers is Assistant Professor at Columbia University's Visual Arts program and a board member of Sculpture Center, Soho House and the CUE Foundation. He has also taught at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Sculpture and Expanded Media program and was a visiting scholar at Harvard University's VES Department in 2009.


Mark Hines

Prior to developing guerilla production network, THE MARKSMEN, Mark Hines was Vice President of Creative Technology at 360HipHop.com where he was instrumental in the conceptualization and development of the website. Upon BET.com's acquisition of 360HipHop.com, Hines was appointed Vice President of Strategy where he was directly responsible for initiating a diverse range of innovative projects including the conception and implementation of music strategies, interactive programming and creative technology. From 1994 to 1999, Hines worked at JP Morgan where he specialized in the development of unique technology applications that provided the bank with its competitive edge. While at JP Morgan, Hines maintained a music production company, Poisoned Ivy Entertainment, which did work for several major labels including Warner Brothers, MCA, Columbia and Def Jam, for which he received a Gold record for the Belly soundtrack. Hines' formal discipline is Computer Science which he studied from '90-'94 at Princeton University where he received his BA Degree.

Martin Luther

Waiting 4 You! just like the song says on his forthcoming release 'Love Is The Hero.' But wait, Is this the right Martin Luther (McCoy) you may ask?


The one who starred in Across the Universe, the one west coast representative of the Legendary Roots Crew, the soul singer who has shared stages with Dead Prez, Cody ChesnuTT, Jill Scott, Dave Matthews and countless others..? You are correct and yes, Martin is the one. Often referred to as Martian Luther, as the brother sings with an extra terrestrial beauty, Martin is ready to release his follow up to his genre blending 2005 Rebel Soul Music release.


Love Is The Hero is a heart felt body of work that Martin has been cooking since 2008. The seasoning is right and the music is ready to be served. Martin took his band to Atlanta to record this album. He has continued to write new material and has also been busy in the studio with Zion I, Too Short, Heirogylphics Crew, Bun B, Ras Kas, Kev Choice and many others for various projects.


On Love Is The Hero, you will hear Martin's voice daringly create grooves of innercity inspiration as he secretly imparts an uplifting groovement on songs 'Waiting 4 You' and 'Somebody Superstar' just as loudly as he seductively croons about lost love on 'Everything Is U'. Martin truly has a gift of communication and never strays away from a broad variety of subjects and diverse musical styles. On L I T H, you can feel the polish in his use of mostly live instrumentation. "I focused on song writing and solid song structure on this record much more than I have in the past. I don't mind attention from the masses, I just want it for my artistry more than for my vanity."


If you love hard hitting soulful rocking music then be sure and be of the first to receive 'Love Is The Hero' when it officially drops, Summer 2013.

Jahi Sundance

In the DJ game now for nearly fifteen years, Jahi Sundance is one of those unique figures that can take the crowd on an unforgettable musical journey. With the slightest flick of his wrist the foundation is forged for one wild night that people are sure to remember. Always at the cutting edge Jahi Sundance can play everything from hip-hop, house, jazz, 80’s, rock, reggae to punk, however, he is most known for creating unique and positive soundscapes. Jahi Sundance has created some of the most inventive DJ sets on the scene today; landing him DJ spots at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. He is currently working on an album with a group he co-founded called, BlackGold, as well as djing for jazz giants Christian McBride and Robert Glasper, respectively. Recently, Jahi has produced songs for Chris Brown, Danity Kane, and World Cup 2010. He is also a professor at Scratch DJ academy, started by Jam Master Jay, located in NYC/Miami/LA; as well as holding down the official DJ spot for Boxing Kitten fashion line.


Full Time Professor @ SCRATCH – The world’s #1 DJ school – www.scratch.com

Creative Director – “Pocketbook (rmx)” video: artist: Me’shell Ndegeocello: mtv2

Swiss Chris

Drummer/ Percussionist/ Reversed Production Specialist/ Music Director/ Producer/ Educator/ Human Rights Activist


Clients as a Drummer/ Music Director: Lyricist Lounge, EOW (End of the Weak) Okay Africa, John Legend, Gloria Gaynor, Kanye West, Snoop Dogg, Sir Elton John, Estelle, Corinne Bailey Ray, Bajah + Dry Eye Crew, Wyclef Jean, Chuck D. from Public Enemy, DJ Johnny Juice, DMC from Run DMC, Albe Back, Ladell Mclin, Burnt Sugar.


Clients as a Educator: Berklee College of Music, Brooklyn College, Sam Ash, Guitar Center. Drum TV


Human Rights Activist: Freedom Campaign. S.W.I.S.S. (Saving With Instruments, Samples and Soundz), Education Africa, Earthdriver


Specialties: To Inspire to Aspire and to Aspire to Inspire, real time Reversed Production live using acoustic and electronic drums

Sumie Kaneko

Shamisen & Koto Player, Singer Songwriter and Bandleader Sumie (Sumi-é) Kaneko has been recognized as a pioneer by her uniquely chromatic use of the instruments.


Kaneko was born and raise up in Chiba, Japan. She started playing Koto when she was at five, next year she was already broadcasted by NHK. In 1995, Sumie won in Takasaki International Competition in Koto performance.In the meantime, she started listening to Jazz and singing pops. At Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, where she started playing Shamisen, she immediately found a global possibility of the instruments, two years later she received Joei award (given to exceptionally talented students).


Meanwhile, Sumie was always looking for another approach to the music, and decided to study Jazz vocal performance at Berklee College of Music. At Berklee, she was focusing on assimilating of Jazz and Japanese traditional music and finding fusion art. Her project received high achievement from the most dominant forces in the music world of today, such as Jamey Haddad, David Fiuczynski, Alain Mallet, Joe Lovano. Sumie has collaborated with other world musical instrumentalists such as Gamlan, Tabla, Taiko, Shakuhachi, Erhu, Gu Xheng, Celtic harp etc.


As one of major success, Sumie directed music on three productions of a winner of Pulitzer Prize Paula Vogel's "The Long Christmas Ride Home" in Providence RI (World Premier), New Haven CT and Washington DC. In this production Sumie collaborated with the puppeteer Basil Twist.


In 2008 traditional duo project Infinity started with Yoko Reikano Kimura. They toured in Japan, Boston, Jamaica, Bolivia, Peru and Brazil organized by Japan Foundation.


In February 2011, Sumie started extended alternative band J-Trad And More with Michel Reis, Shu Odamura, Evan Gregor, Pablo Eluchans fusing her Japanese roots with the colors of jazz and freedoms of rock. In this band she produces an original sound with beyond of traditional instrumentation: Vocal, Shamisen, Koto, Guitar, Piano, Sitar, Acoustic Bass and Drums. The first album "J-Trad And More" has been released in 2012 summer.


Sumie is currently based in NYC. She tours regularly with her own band. Her motto is "Literary Borderless Music" so she performs everywhere. From Carnegie Hall to jail, The Cathedral Church of St. John Devine to gay bars, Harvard University to hospice.


Imani Uzuri

Recently featured as TRACE Magazine's 'Beautiful', ecletic, dynamic IMANI UZURI is often compared to artists like Grace Jones and Nina Simone, as one who defies category, as well as being similiarly inspired by artists like Bjork, Sufi Qawwali master Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Rock icon Betty Davis. She has performed at numerous international venues/festivals including LINCOLN CENTER, CENTRAL PARK SUMMER STAGE, PERFORMA07, London's BARBICAN CENTER, THE BLUE NOTE, JOE'S PUB, Japan's WORLD FESTIVAL OF SACRED MUSIC, SOBs, THE UNITED NATIONS, BLACK LILY FILM AND MUSIC FESTIVAL, LE LIEU UNIQUE, BAM, NYC CULTUREFEST, THE APOLLO THEATER, THE WHITNEY MUSEUM, Atlanta's NATIONAL BLACK ART'S FESTIVAL, BOWERY BALLROOM, and Morocco's FESTIVAL D'ESSAOUIRA, this bohemian spirit "... never fails to mesmerize audiences with her narcotic blend..." (Time Out New York). UZURI'S stunning debut album features 18 sweeping and captivating songs. UZURI has collaborated and recorded with the likes of music legend HERBIE HANCOCK, JOHN LEGEND, English drum-n-bass pioneers 4- HERO, TALIB KWELI, KING BRITT, TONY NWACHUKWU, BILL LASWELL, LOVESLAP, CHEIK TIDIANE SECK, MARQUE GILMORE, DAVID GILMORE, VIJAY IYER, MARVIN SEWELL and dub kings SLY and ROBBIE. Television appeareances include DAVID LETTERMAN performing with PETER GABRIEL and the AFRO-CELT SOUND SYSTEM. UZURI is currently developing/performing a provocative musical theater piece of the same title as her album and based on its music, while incorporating coming-of-age memories from her youth in rural North Carolina, multi-media video montage and anecdotes from her nomadic travels around the world. It has successfully been showcased at Joe's Pub, THE CULTURE PROJECT'S WOMEN CENTER STAGE FESTIVAL, THE HIP HOP THEATER FESTIVIAL, THE KITCHEN, NEW JERSEY PERFORMING ARTS CENTER (NJPAC) and Philadelphia's PAINTED BRIDE. Work-in-progress performances of this piece at THE APOLLO spring 2008.