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Afrika Bambaataa at LED Bar

Afrika Bambaataa at LED Bar

Afrika Bambaataa at LED Bar, Vancouver, Feb 27 2014. Zoë Christmas photo.

Review – Afrika Bambaataa at LED Bar, Vancouver, Feb 27 2014

– review and photos by Zoë  Christmas

On Thursday night, L.E.D. Bar on Granville Street hosted a DJ night, headed by hip-hop legend Afrika Bambaataa.

The Bronxs Bambaataa became prominent in early hip hop not only for his pioneering DJ career and hit singles Planet Rock and Renegades of Funk with the Soulsonic Force, but also for forming the Universal Zulu Nation an international hip-hop awareness culture. These days, Bambaataa sticks to DJ sets while he completes a three-year post at Cornell University Librarys Hip Hop Collection.

As it happened, the event at L.E.D. had a lot to do with the archiving of hip-hop music and its early influences. Starting the night was DJ Flipout, who mixed classic and rare funk 45s from the seventies and eighties, from James Brown to Cheryl Lynn to the Jackson Sisters. At around midnight, Bambaataa took over the turn tables, starting with Good Times by Chic, followed by Express Yourself by Charles Wright & the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band and Think by Lynn Collins. Though he didnt speak once through the mic, Bambaataa had a hype man who kept the crowd grooving.

For about two hours Bambaataa kept the dance floor active, playing live mixes of rap hits from the likes of Kurtis Blow, House of Pain, Run DMC, Eminem and DMX, and even played a mix of his own Planet Rock. He also paid tribute to unlikely rap influences such as Prince, Nirvana and Queen. (I was floored when he briefly sampled my current favourite rare eighties club hit, Weekend by Class Action!)

Bambaataas unique and rare DJ set complemented L.E.D. Bars intimate (read: minuscule) space. The sound and lights were perfect, and Bambaataas smug silence fell in line with his overall elusiveness.

Afrika Bambaataa at LED Bar

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