New CD Features the Sounds of the Bronx
An in-depth look at the CD and the artists involved
Produced By: BRONXNET
By Jon Minners
The Bronx is a borough made up of different people, cultures and sounds and the vast diversity has been highlighted in a special musical CD produced by the popular local cable station for the borough; BRONXNET.
BRONXNET has released a CD inspired by guests that have performed on the station’s most popular talk show, BronxTalk. Entitled BronxTalk presents Bronx Music Volume 1, the CD features rock, pop, salsa, jazz and Hip Hop and is featured on the station’s website at http://www.Bronxnet.org and has already sold out in its first run at Bay Plaza’s Barnes & Noble Bookstore.
“Here is a chance for the Bronx to sing, rap, spin, dance and play so people from all over the world can experience the wonderful music of the Bronx,” said Gary Axelbank, producer and host of BronxTalk. “Our programs are the gateway to the Bronx and that includes giving exposure to the people who make Bronx music. Now, everyone can appreciate who we are and the sweet sounds we make.”
The CD marks the first time the cable station has embarked on such a venture, but according to Michael Knobbe, executive director of BRONXNET, it will not be the last. “BRONXNET has been a media resource for the borough for close to a dozen years,” he said. “We have had a number of musical guests; Bronx artists who have performed for us on our shows. It only made sense to put together a compilation of music featuring those artists. There is a tremendous talent pool in The Bronx that has not even been touched yet. We hope to bring this music to people of the borough and the rest of the world.”
Knobbe states that the project has become a labor of love for everyone involved and something that should have been done a long time ago. “Bronx is the birthplace of Hip Hop. Salsa has been reborn in the Bronx. There are a number of young artists and established acts that come from the borough,” he said. “They are all on this CD and despite there being so many different sounds, there is a sort of dialogue going on here, a sort of conversation about different cultures and people. We can learn from one another through each other’s music. This is certainly something that The Bronx can be proud of, but can be universally appreciated.”
Bands felt the same way, donating tracks to the CD to celebrate the diversity of the borough. Hip Hop pioneer DJ Cool Clyde, the first DJ to scratch on record, was proud of being included on the CD along with Lightin’ Lance, The Bronx Bullies, Afrika Bambaataa, Professor X and Candace Blake for the track Sound of the Bronx. Clyde continues to check on the progress of the CD, feeling it is important to get it out to the public.
“All these styles of music coming together under one umbrella; I think it’s a great thing,” he said. “The CD also highlights Hip Hop as something positive, rather than glorifying incidents like what happened awhile back between 50 Cent and The Game. This Hip Hop escapes the violence and together with the other forms of music provides a message to the people of The Bronx – In order to get to where you are going, you need to know where you came from.”
Other acts included on the CD include the Caribbean Jazz Project with Dave Valentin, the legendary Willie Colon, The Legendary Morrisania Revue, The Heist, Lou Volpe, Afroditee, Amura, Co$t, Orlando Marin and His Orchestra, Hai Rezolution, Rale Micic Quintent, Time Zone, Butch Barbella’s Streets of the Bronx Band and Crashbox.
“This is like one of the two greatest things that can happen to a Bronx artist other than losing your virginity,” jokes Crashbox lead singer Sal Scoca, keeping true to his rock roots. “The CD keeps it real and presents true artists and pure music from The Bronx. We are proud to be among such great talent.”
The CD was released at a special ceremony held at Lehman College at BRONXNET’s studios. One of the first people to get a listen to the musical mosaic of The Bronx was Borough President Adolfo Carrion. “New York City is home to the largest and most diverse population in the country,” he said. “Many Bronxites proudly play prominent roles in the arts and in the livelihood of our city and our borough. This CD, made up of a variant ensemble with distinct, expressive musical sounds from Hip Hop to Jazz and Salsa, together, exemplifies the immense talent and creativity our city and our borough has to offer. Great craftsmanship from a moiety of some our most talented ...you can't get better than that.”
As for future editions, BronxTalk producer, Jane Folloro, believes that is obvious. “There is a reason why the CD says volume one,” she notes. “There is so much more music out there in The Bronx and it is growing each day. It is important to showcase this talent. Without music you don’t have your soul and this is the soul of The Bronx.”
States Axelbank in agreement, “This is our music. Bronx music. It's doo-wop. It's hip-hop. It's salsa. It's jazz. It's rock. It's black. It's white. It's brown. It's proud. It's humble. It's bold. Best of all, it's made by us, the people of The Bronx.”