Category Archives: Music

My Mom and Rashod Ollison: A Love Story

My Mom and Rashod : A Love Story About the Healing Power of Excellent Music Journalism 

My mother, Phyllis Michele Amato Congilosi, which she will quickly tell you is her maiden name, aka Our Lady of Perpetual Drama, aka The Woman Who Talks to All Strangers, aka The Woman Who Speaks in Exclamation Points, a seventy-eight year old, nine time cancer survivor, has not been doing well.

Each week seems to bring more worrisome moves toward decline.  More often than not, a phone call from her, or one not answered by her, brings bad news.

Two years ago, one of my mom’s titanium knee joints–what my 12 year old son calls her RoboLegs– locked up during a midnight trip to the bathroom.  She fell hard and was so seriously injured she couldn’t yell loud enough to be heard.

My son and I were still living with her then; I found her at 5:30 a.m. when I woke to start my day.   I summoned the EMT service to get her off the floor, but she loudly refused transport to the ER.

For two days I tended to her at home, while she continued to snarl at me whenever I mentioned the hospital.   She grew weak and pallid and feverish.

On the third day I forced her to go to the hospital after I had a horrifically vivid dream of her death.   I got stern and steely, not my usual stance with her, but one I’ve had to adopt on occasion.

Not long after her intake at Princess Anne Hospital she had emergency surgery to remove her gall bladder, which had been injured in the fall.

My disturbing dream turned out to be fortuitous; her gall bladder was—oh, how I cringe to write this—gangrenous and necrotic.  Yes, infected and dying, it had exploded.

Exploded.   Another day and she could have died.

Hooked up to a morphine drip in her recovery room she looked more like a sweet, kindly grandmother than I’ve ever seen her.

A beatific smile lit up her face when my son entered the room and her arms went up for him to hug her, which he did.

Sweetie, she called him.  Dolly, she called me, using the nickname my late grandmother gave me.

Don’t get me wrong—she loves my son, and the two older grand-daughters my brother and his wife gave her.   But for years her normal demeanor has been more on the surly side than the sunny.

I’ve tried my best to understand: certainly anyone who lived with daily pain, repeated bouts of chemotherapy and radiation, and the nasty attendant side-effects, such as impaired balance and neuropathy, can’t be expected to be Sweet Pollyanna every day.

Still, it was nice to have my Mama back, the smiling giver of hugs and kisses, whom I remembered from childhood.

A few days later we learned that a biopsy done during her surgery came back positive for cancer, again. This time it was her gall bladder, which the surgeon had removed.

Yet, she wasn’t sure if they had been able to get all the cancerous cells; there was still a chance it could spread to another organ.   This meant yet more chemo, and possibly radiation.

I remember thinking: OK, God—I think she’s had enough training in this miraculous recovery program you appear to be running.  

She survived that bout like all the others.  Now her DNA is being studied by a local geneticist from England who also works with Angelina Jolie.


You can bet my mom enjoys the name-dropping this association affords her.

Meanwhile I deal with the on-going slippery slope of keeping up with a stubborn 78 year-old prone to tripping.   Her latest fall, while alone at home, caused her to spend 18 hours on the floor, her cell phone forgotten at church,  until I showed up the next day.

I’d said goodnight to her at around 8:00 p.m. the night before, then left her a message in the morning.  When repeated calls went unanswered, I made my way down the road, propelled by a growing unease.

I had a key, but she’d put the chain on the door.   A quick phone call brought a maintenance man who bore an unnerving resemblance to Darryl Dixon, the redneck survivalist, from The Walking Dead.


He promptly broke down her front door, with a surprisingly minimal amount of damage, as my mom wailed from the back of the apartment.

I couldn’t quite make out what she was yelling until I made it into her living room, “I DON’T NEED AN AMBULANCE! I NEED A SHOWER AND A CUP OF COFFEE!”

And in case I missed that bulletin, “I! DON’T! NEED! AN! AMBULANCE!”

After the EMTs left without my stubborn, angry mother, Daryl Dixon’s double just as quickly put the door back up.

It took a call from Father Tim, her thirty-something priest and confessor, who through the power of Jesus the Christ, holds more sway than fifty-something me, to get her stubborn, purple-bruised seventy-something behind to the ER by ambulance.

The ER doctor, backed by my mother’s own physician ordered her to stay at home and rest for a week.  With Father Tim co-signing, daily mass would have to wait.

She was back in the pews in three days.

Since that incident I jump, just a little, when my phone rings.  A morning not long after her last hospital stay was no different.

Me: {Zzzzzzzz}

Phone: {Pharrell’s Happy starts out softly, gradually gets LOUD: the ringtone I keep meaning to change.}

Me: Hello….? Are you OK?

My Mom AKA the Woman Who Speaks in All Caps with Exclamation Points at Top Volume: HONEY!!


My mother has developed a super-fan-girl crush on award-winning journalist,  and memoirist, Rashod Ollison, who writes for The Virginian Pilot.  Once she found out he and I were Facebook friends, I began to receive weekly Rashod Praise Calls after she’d read his column.  

Reading Rashod never fails to put her into a good mood; for this I’m thankful.   Soon after he began writing about music and culture for the Virginian-Pilot he became one of my favorite writers.   

Me: Mom….I did not know you were on a first name basis with Mr. Ollison.  Yes, we are connected on Facebook.  Um, no, I am not going to tell him you read everything he writes and share it with your church friends…and Jewel the hairdresser.

Maybe you should write to him. Lord knows he needs somebody else to write in besides the extras from Deliverance and the Sons of the Confederacy…and wanna be rock critics pissed they didn’t get his gig. Ha! Stop laughing…you know I’m right…





ANYWAY—HONEY, YOU HAVE GOT TO HEAR THIS……{loud rustling of paper} (She begins to read from Rashod D. Ollison’s latest Virginian Pilot article, in a hushed and honeyed, cultured tone, stopping repeatedly to marvel at the muscular grace of his prose, the impeccable quality of his word choices.)

Me: Mom, I will read it online. OK. OK. OK. I will let him know.  Mom, it is not like I have tea with the man weekly.  I will tell him.




Me: I think so…yes he robbed Marvin Gaye from the rest of us.  Mom, Are you ok? You had fits when I listened to Sexual Healing in high school.

Mom, I’m sorry, but…do you think you can bring the volume down just a little? I need to get up and get going, but are you really OK?

No, I am not being disrespectful.  You did have an irrational hatred of John and Yoko, too.  What!?  No, Yoko did NOT break up The Beatles.  I swear you believe whatever is on the news.  She wasn’t screaming—that was avant garde.

That was a really loud laugh, Mom.   Right in my ear.

MOM: I’m SORRY honey (trying to catch her breath from laughing).

Me:  What is that noise? No it’s not MY phone.  THAT sound…I swear your phone has been possessed since you first got it.  Maybe you should… (laughter)

MOM: What?  Oh, OK smartass. Maybe I will have Father Tim pray over my phone!  He needs to pray over YOU! Is Rashod a church-go-er? No!  I wasn’t telling you to ask him.   OK, I need to go re-read that article. YOU KNOW DIANA ROSS REALLY IS THE SYMBOL OF GLAMOUR—THE ICON…HE GOT THAT RIGHT!  WHAT IS HE GOING TO WRITE ABOUT NEXT?  WHEN IS HIS BOOK COMING OUT? OK! OK! I LOVE YOU HONEY! KISS BRAHMA FOR ME! DO YOUR BEST AND GOD WILL DO THE REST!

Me: I love you too, Mom.  Bye. {Closing my eyes.} I will. I will call you later, Mom. I will. Bye-Bye.  Bye. Mom, you have to stop talking after you say Bye.

About Rashod

Rashod1Rashod Ollison is an award-winning music and culture critic and native of Little Rock, Arkansas. He has been a staff critic at The Dallas Morning News, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Journal News in Westchester, N.Y., The Baltimore Sun and The Virginian-Pilot.

He is a 2000 graduate of The University of Arkansas, where he earned a B.A. in creative writing and journalism with a minor in African-American studies. Ollison’s literary debut, Soul Serenade: Rhythm, Blues & Coming of Age Through Vinyl, is a memoir published in Jan. 2016 by Beacon Press.

For lectures and interviews, contact Rashod at

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Buy “Soul Serenade”–Tell them Phyllis sent you.

Enjoy Rashod’s Soul Serenade soundtrack on Spotify .



Saturday Short Take: Chaka Khan Covers Jimi Hendrix’s LITTLE WING

Chaka Khan Covers Jimi Hendrix’s LITTLE WING


Chaka Khan, recently nominated for the 2016 Rock Hall of Fame,  has collaborated with the greats of Rock and Soul from Stevie Wonder (Tell Me Somethin Good) to Prince (I Feel for You), to Steve Winwood (remember her soaring on his Higher Love?) to Quincy Jones (Back on The Block).

Her recently unearthed version of Jimi Hendrix’s Little Wing includes guitarist Eric Gales and funk producer/musician Ira Schickman.

Chaka Khan has been one of my personal Sheroes since I was 12 years old, horrifying my Mama by belting out ‘Tell Me Something Good”, “You Got The Love” ,  and “Sweet Thing” behind my locked bedroom door.


In addition to possessing talent and beauty , she seemed powerful–larger than life,  and blessed with what I often felt cursed with: too much of the muchness, that inexplicable thing I was accused of that made grown men bother me, boys scared of me, and my mother struggle to keep me under wraps.

Of course, at that age I didn’t know about her on-going struggles with addiction and self-doubt.

I didn’t think I was special because I thought everyone could do it.–Chaka Khan to The Daily Mail UK, 16 August 2014

Later, as a young woman, when a friend who worked with one of her producers shared that part of Chaka’s story with me, I understood, empathized, and prayed for her peace.

Later as still as she emerged from years of drug-abuse and ill health to re-blossom personally and revitalize her long career, I admired her resilience and radiance.

If Chaka doesn’t make it into the Rock Hall of Fame something is seriously wrong in the balance of the Universe.

Vote for Chaka Khan here: VOTE FOR CHAKA!




Khadijah Z. Ali-Coleman aka Khadijah Moon: Multifaceted and Deliciously Creative

Khadijah Z. Ali-Coleman aka Khadijah Moon: Deliciously Creative

Poet/playwright/producer/creative mid-wife/ budding film-maker, Khadijah Z. Ali-Coleman is also known as Khadijah Moon, singer.  Multifaceted and seemingly in perpetual motion, Khadijah inspires by example and dazzles in performance.

I’m pleased to feature two of her poems today.  Through language that is often both sensual and harrowing, Ms. Ali-Coleman’s poetry reflects the beautiful struggle of being a Black woman poet/artist in our increasingly fraught time,  while simultaneously fashioning a lifeline.  Her words are indeed often “like a lasso of unbreakable strength” as she describes her indispensable consciousness in “Out of the Barrel” .

Next week, we’ll catch up with the prolific DC-born artistic renaissance woman for an interview and a chance to hear her new smash single, “hunger”.

Khadijah Moon Press Photo

What they will say on Twitter when the police shoot me in the back

She was known to be militant

Organized people in parks to sing

And dance

Possibly riot

Although no violence was reported

There might have been.

Who is to really say?

The officer felt threatened

By her almost ten year-old car

With missing hubcaps and door handles

And her big hair

And bigger feet

And crooked eye

That looked at him the wrong way

That spoke profanity in every language to him

In that one look


Maybe it was the degrees he didn’t know she had

Or the gun she didn’t own

That made him suspicious of her

Maybe she ran too slow when he told her she was under arrest

For nothing

Cause something had to be the reason

He shot her


The police just don’t shoot you for no reason

And even

if there was no reason

Other than he said she was resisting arrest

We must do our best

To maintain

That in some way, she was insane

#She was fired from more than one job

And she had amassed tickets by the dozens

#She was poor and unmarried with one child

Known to have many lovers

She was raised by a single mother who had children with three different men



She was on unemployment less than a year before her arrest

And this was not the first time before being on it again

#lowlife #shedeservesdit #wegot2dobetterifwewantbetter

I’m sure

She had bad credit score and a whole lot of debt

Particularly from graduate school and education

Better yet,

it seems like she had the potential to cause a lot of trouble

Riling up others and causing a sensation

She was killed after a traffic stop

Causing the officer irritation,

No violation, but—he had a first of the month quota to reach

So what, she was supposedly on her way

to pick up her child and later teach

#slowdown #itsyourfault #shekilledherself

See, We  are not sure,


As we said before,

She has a history

Of potential criminality

You heard her history

Imagine her mentality


Fortunately, she did not survive

Or she would have been arrested

And who knows what other crimes she would have been charged with

If the officers hadn’t been tested

#End of the report

#Press conference

#Public statement

#The end.

Demonizing the dead is the current new trend

There is no honor in being a paycheck to paycheck living

Black woman wordsmith

You are not of value

You are not worth protecting

There is no virtue in your gifts


And, What would the news media say about me

when the police shoot me in the back

most likely


Because I am a woman and I am black

–Khadijah Z. Ali-Coleman


Out the Barrel

Through all of the hate

Rotten and sour as clotted milk curd

I crawled upright, steadying myself

and clung there, at the top

Holding tight as King Kong in New York

My fists clinched fast around that peak


as piercing words & angry actions

wrap round my legs

like steel tentacles, heavy and void of feeling

Trying to drag me down yet

I don’t fall

My consciousness, like a lasso of unbreakable strength

Lifts me higher until my feet are no longer

bound by ground and my mind, unblemished and new

no longer

aware that confines once existed

by Khadijah Z. Ali-Coleman


Khadijah Moon, hunger–the new smash single!

Passionately human and deliciously creative, DC-born Khadijah Z. Ali-Coleman is The Creative Midwife, a creativity coach and modern renaissance woman.  She helps creatives give birth to their creative dreams. A playwright, poet, singer & emerging filmmaker, Moon is founder of Liberated Muse Arts Group, the brand she brought to life in 2008 as an online digital community for artists.  Since then, she has produced book anthologies, music & theatrical shows through Liberated Muse, including her production In Her Words which, since 2012,  has been commissioned for performances at the Smithsonian, United States Peace Corps, DC Public Library System and other venues. She is a recipient of a 2015 Individual Artist Award for Non-Classical Music Solo Performance by the Maryland State Arts Council. She lives in Maryland with her partner and their daughter.

Learn more at

Khadijah Z. Ali-Coleman

Passionately human and deliciously creative, Khadijah Z. Ali-Coleman is The Creative Midwife™. Let The Creative Midwife™ Help You Birth Your Creative Dreams Today!


The Healing Music of Habib Koite, Modern Griot

Habib Koite

Habib Koite’,  of Mali by way of Senegal, with his band Bamada, is one of my most beloved and favorite musicians.  In the past I’ve bought doubles of his CDs because I wear them out with constant play.

He’s one of those externally beautiful people whose angelic visage seems to communicate the positivity flowing beneath the surface.

Habib Koite 2015

He plays his guitar in a beautifully unique way; he tunes his instrument to the pentatonic scale and plays on open strings, which is how one plays on the kamale n’goni,  N’goni are traditional West African rhythm harps.

The n’goni have been in existence since 1352, in the court of Mansa Musa, the great ruler of Mali.   It is believed to have evolved into the banjo in North America after Mande people were exported there as slaves.

There are three main types, the djeli, the donso and the kamale.

The djeli n’goni were traditionally used by griots to accompany singing.  The donso (hunter’s harp)  are larger than the kamale n’goni and have six strings,

The smaller kamale n’goni (young man’s harp)  have four or eight strings and are tuned a fourth higher than other n’goni.

They are a more modern addition to the West African stringed instrument family, introduced in the 1960s and made popular in the 80s and 90s in the Wassalou style of music,

Kamale n’goni

In Habib Koite’s songs and  style of playing you can hear a blend of  the Malian Wassoulou and dannsa musical styles, as well as African-American blues, and Spanish flamenco.

In fact, in 1999 Habib and American bluesman Eric Bibb toured in support of the Putumayo compilation Mali to Memphis, which celebrated and paid tribute to the connections between Malian and American blues music.

Putomayo’s Mali to Memphis

The predominant style played by Habib is based on the danssa, a popular rhythm from his native city of Keyes. He calls his version danssa doso, a Bambara term he coined that combines the name of the popular rhythm with the word for hunter’s music (doso), one of Mali’s most powerful and ancient musical traditions. “I put these two words together to symbolize the music of all ethnic groups in Mali. I’m curious about all the music in the world, but I make music from Mali. In my country, we have so many beautiful rhythms and melodies. Many villages and communities have their own kind of music. Usually, Malian musicians play only their own ethnic music, but me, I go everywhere. My job is to take all these traditions and to make something with them, to use them in my music.”–

Music critics worldwide have dubbed Koite a modern griot; this isn’t far-fetched as he hails from “a noble line of Khassonké griots, , traditional troubadours who provide wit, wisdom and musical entertainment at social gatherings and special events.” (


I’ve heard fans describe him and his band as “West African Sufis” for the vibrant spiritual quality of their sound.

I don’t know if there is some factual basis to that opinion, but I do know how uplifted and soothed I feel when I listen to, sing, or dance to their music.

The song I’m featuring here, “Sirata” is one of my all-time favorites.

It was featured on “Mali to Memphis” as well as Koite’s 2001 CD “Ma Ya”.

It’s not a lullaby, but can lull you with its spiritual, somehow healing beauty. This song, has been known to drive grown men to tears.  Yes–for real!

My son, Ibrahim, now 12, and I saw Koite’ and Bamada perform at Wolf Trap in the late winter of 2005. Ibrahim was under two years old then; it was his first concert,  other than those of his Guinean dancer/drummer/ fire-eater father’s, which he attended as an infant.

Our seats were in the front row.  He was transfixed!

At first Ibrahim sat next to me, but when the entire audience got up to dance and stayed up for the rest of the concert, he attached himself to me.

He spent the rest of the night dancing and swaying with me, his legs wrapped around my waist or hip, his eyes trained on the stage.

At one point Habib Koite and Ibrahim locked eyes as Habib leaned down and played his guitar directly to him.

He nodded to me and smiled, then moved on.   It wouldn’t be hyperbole to say I felt we’d been blessed.

Days later Ibrahim asked for both a guitar and a balafon.

Ibrahim at 18 months old. The young balafoniste, just like his Uncle Ibrahima Diabate, Master Balafonist of Guinea, for whom he’s named.

How could I say no?

They call him Gitar Badji. 2006– A year later he was still at it. He is wearing a traditional Malian boubou sent to us by a friend who lived in Mali at the time.

Habib Koite latest album,  Soô (which translates to home) was released in 2014.    Soô takes a direct and loving look at Koite’s homeland of Mali, a country torn apart by violence and terrorism over the last few years.

Habib Koite, 2014

The title of the CD also symbolizes the dream of home for a man who makes his fortune away from friends and family for long stretches of time.

Ever the touring road warriors, Koite and the new lineup of his band, Bamada, are in the midst of a world tour.

I hope to take Ibrahim to one of their U.S. shows in 2016, in either Washington, DC or Raleigh, NC.

In May of 2015 they performed at the Africa Festival in Germany.  The 90 minute video below showcases their performance.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: The embedded videos below were removed because the Automatic Play option could not be disabled. Click the link below to enjoy the concert and the bonus interview in full.)


A bonus!: This interview with Habib Koite (in French) at Africa Festival 2015.

Enjoy!  Be well!

~Maura Alia Badji

Beautiful Release, a song by Jorges Mendez


Beautiful Release, a song by Jorges Mendez

I’m happy to share the work of Virginia Beach poet and spoken word artist, Jorge Mendez. Despite his currently crushing schedule, Jorge, who truly deserves the title of Hardest Working Poet in Hampton Roads, managed to answer my tenacious requests and submitted a song which he currently performs as a spoken word poem.

Jorge is the type of poet who holds communities of writers together by welcoming all, actively living the life of a working poet, and by coordinating events and performances on a regular basis over a long period of time with seemingly indefatigable positive energy.

Please read, listen, comment and share. Your participation is appreciated.

I had a super-whammadine case of insomnia during most of the week of my Virtual Dream Residency.

No sleep = no dreams. No dreams = unease. Not my favorite flavor of being.

My consolation has come from writing more often than in recent weeks, and in communicating and working with the poets, writers, and artists whose dream-related work I’ve been able to share here.

Today’s featured piece is a positively addictive song about insomnia, titled “Beautiful Release”, by Virginia Beach poet and spoken word artist Jorge Mendez.

Currently Jorge does a spoken word poem version of “Beautiful Release” in performance; he kindly agreed to share the song with us. The link below will download the song.

About the Poet:  Jorge Mendez is also host of “Monday Night Open Mics at The Venue”, which he has helmed for the last three years of the nine year old open mic, and Events Director for The Venue on 35th in Norfolk, VA. Jorge started writing poetry as a child, later putting the skill he gained as a page writer into Hip-Hop format releasing three independent albums. He has since graduated to Spoken Word and has been performing his poetry for 4 years. His next project is a book of his works titled “Keys & Crowbars”.

You can experience more from Jorge at his YouTube channel:


African Lullaby Giveaway Has Ended with A Winner!


The African Lullaby Giveaway has ended with a Winner!***If You Won, please email me at ! Thank you!***

The winner is of the giveaway now being verified by and will be sent the African Lullaby CD shortly.  The identity of the winner will not be revealed to me due to Amazon’s privacy policies.

That said–if YOU are the winner, please reach out and let me know, or let me know how you like the CD once it arrives.

I appreciate all of my supporters so much.  However, I have to share with you that although 30 readers entered the giveaway, only a handful actually followed through by 1) following me on Twitter 2) Liking the Giveaway Blog post and leaving a comment and 3) subscribing to the blog to get updates and new posts.

Actually, NOBODY left a comment on the blog.

Not one of you rascals!  Really?


Well, live and learn.  I will be using a different entry/award process for my NEXT giveaway.

Yes, there will be others.   Especially closer to the holidays.  Please do subscribe to The Moxie Bee by entering your email address in the form on the upper right hand sidebar. (Note:  I do NOT spam or sell address lists.)

I appreciate all who participated and I leave you with my son Ibrahim’s favorite lullaby, when he was small, “Diyore” by Abou Sylla,

The song is special to Ibrahim, and in some ways to me, for a few reasons.  Sylla is one of his father’s family names. His father, Mamadouba Sylla was related to Guinean ruler Sekou Toure; when Toure was deposed his friends and family started turning up dead.  The Sylla family quickly and quietly moved to Senegal and took on the Diolla name of Badji, which actually has its roots in India.  (I’m saving that story for another day.)

Also, Mouminatou Camara, family friend of the Badji/Syllas and renowned  Guinean dancer/drummer/singer/teacher, sings the background vocals for Abou Sylla on the African Lullabye CD .


I’ve met her a few times at classes and performances; I can testify she is a swirling force of nature and talent.

Ibrahim’s father, Assane,  a drummer/dancer/fire-eater/dance teacher from Kindia near Conakry, Guinea, taught me a different version of this song, the one Ibrahim’s grandmere Fatou Sylla sang to Assane as a boy.

He could only remember part of it, so we sang the first part to Ibrahim twice and then repeated the last line.  When he didn’t want to hear the CD, he wanted his father’s version, which went something like:

Bo Bo Bo, Bo Bo, Casalaba. Nan de mafulay.

Kin da sa buray. 

Bo Bo Bo, Bo Bo, Casalaba. Nan de mafulay.

Kin da sa buray. 




Back then, when Ibrahim was an infant, I asked Assane what it meant; he explained that basically it’s saying Don’t cry little child, your mother had to go to work, but your aunt will make you something nice to eat when you wake up. So go to sleep.

A few years after, when Assane and I separated and later divorced, I didn’t want to sing his version because it made me feel sad, not for me, but for my son.  Yet,  Ibrahim was insistent; he wanted his song.

So, I sang it. We sang it together, and soon it stopped feeling sad.  It became our song then; it still is.  And, I’m still trying to find a full translation.

Any SuSu speakers in the house?






Music Monday with DJ Eric in the Mixx: Mariami Music

Music Monday with DJ Eric in the Mixx: Mariami Music
“The kind of music you’ve waited all your life for…and didn’t even know it!”  The exclusive Mariami Mix as done by our friend DJ Eric from Nairobi, Kenya.
DeeJay Eric from Kenya, in the mixx.



“Mariami is a Brooklyn based recording artist noted for an eclectic mix of Soul, R&B and Pop music. Labeled as the talented daughter of Georgia with a magic voice, Mariami was born in the Republic of Georgia (Europe) and carries musical traces that harken to her Georgia upbringing and ethnicity.

Mariami in concert.

Mariami is the granddaughter of the late Shota Illich Bibilouri, a Music Director for the National Georgian Folk Ballet. Her earliest years were spent in rehearsal studios with her grandfather and his band. Their close musical bond has inspired many of her expressive melodies. Her passion for R&B comes from the parallels Georgian liturgical music shares with American soul music. ”  —MARIAMIMUSIC.COM

African Lullaby Giveaway with The Moxie Bee and

African Lullaby Giveaway with The Moxie Bee and



Welcome to my first giveaway since re-starting The Moxie Bee. I’ve partnered with to giveaway one copy of a great CD: African Lullaby from Ellipsis Arts.  This was my favorite CD when Ibrahim was a baby and toddler.  Our favorite song was Diyore by Abou Sylla.  I learned the lyrics and he had to have me sing it every night, along with his other favorite lullabies, Bayou Baby Bunting and Rockabye Baby, with each song flowing into the next, til he was about five years old.


Editorial Reviews

As with other Ellipsis Arts releases, African Lullaby is more than a stellar music collection. Its delightful liner notes provide ample context for these “love songs for children” and the collection’s innovative earth-friendly packaging is a work of art unto itself.  Standing head and shoulders above others in its class, African Lullaby is testimony to the awesome power of music. –Paige La Grone


“Oh my child, you are growing up so quickly; you are my tender and beautiful baby…” You don’t need the printed translations of these loving African-language lullabies. Sung by such top traditional and Afropop artists as velvet-voiced Ladysmith Black Mambaza and the breathtaking Mor Dior Bamba, every song embraces and soothes. A 1999 Parents’ Choice® Gold Award Winner. (Lynne Heffley, Parents’ Choice®) — From Parents’ Choice®




Track Listings

1. Thula Mtwana – Ladysmith Black Mambazo
2. Omo – Kemi Akanni
3. Kounandi Deni – Abdoulaye Diabate
4. Mayo Mpapa – Muriel Mwamba
5. Nyandolo – Ayub Ogada
6. Ayo Nene Touti – Mor Dior Bamba
7. Thula Thula – Ntomb’khona Dlamini
8. Webake – Samite
9. Oluronbi – Floxy Bee, The Hikosso Queen
10. Diriyo Nakana – Sadio Kouyate
11. Diyore – Abou Sylla
12. Sigalagala – Anindo
13. Tesegu – Danone O’Sow
14. Chitsidzo – Stella Rambisai Chiweshe
Product Details

·        Audio CD (June 22, 1999)

·        Original Release Date: June 22, 1999

·        Number of Discs: 1



Enter for a chance to win! All you need to do is:

  1. Click on the link and follow me on Twitter (@MoxieB)
  2. Return to my site and a) Like this post and b) leave a comment c) subscribe to the blog for updates.

That’s it!

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Giveaway ends the earlier of 11/01/15 11:59 PM, or when the prize is claimed.  The official rules for Amazon Giveaway can be found at

Good luck!

~Maura Alia Badji




Sweet Lullaby

Sweet Lullaby

What could be better than being gently read to sleep? Being gently sung to sleep, of course.

Before I had a child with whom to share lullabies, I fell in love with Deep Forest’s “Sweet Lullaby”, which was originally released in 1992 as a single and then in re-mixed versions in 1994.

Despite the widespread belief, bolstered by the video, that ‘Sweet Lullaby” was based on a traditional African song, Deep Forest, a French world music/ethnic electronica group based the song on a traditional Baegu lullaby. The song, called “Rorogwela”,comes from Malaita Island of the Solomon Islands and uses a vocal sample originally recorded by ethnomusicologist Hugo Zemp in 1970 and later released by UNESCO as part of their Musical Sources collection.

The lyrics refer to a young child being comforted by his older brother or sister despite the loss of one or both of their parents.

Sasi sasi o to aro aro
O angi si nau boroi amu
Ni ma oe e fasi korona
Dolali dasa na, lao dai afuimae
Afuta guau mauri, Afuta wela inomae
Sasi sasi ae o angisi nau
Boroi nima oe e fasi koro na
Dolali dasa na, lao dai afuimae
Afuta guau mauri, Afuta wela inomae

Young brother, young brother you be quiet
Although you are crying to me
Your father has left us
He has gone to the place of the dead
Protect the head of the living, Protect the orphan child
Young brother, young brother hey? Although you are crying to me
Your father has left us
He has gone to the place of the dead
Protect the head of the living, protect the orphan child.


I never looked for the translation before tonight; I just loved the melody. Now that I know the meaning of the words, I can’t say I find them particularly comforting.

Perhaps something was lost in translation, or maybe my Americanized idea of comfort differs from that of the Baegu.  Perhaps the Baegu find comfort in having an older person give them a dose of reality with a tender melody?  No matter, I still love this song.

At the core of the melody is the poignant voice of Afunakwa who comes from the island of Malaita (region: Fataleka) in the Solomon Islands. It was her singing that was recorded in 1969 by ethnomusicologist Hugo Zemp in an effort to archive the traditions of the Baegu fading culture.


When my son was born I was happy to share it with him; although he preferred Guinean & English lullabies as a small child, “Sweet Lullaby” was also one of his favorites.

Do you have a favorite lullaby?

~Maura Alia Badji

Sources: Wikipedia, YouTube,,

Ingrid Lucia–Dreams Aren’t Only for the Young

Dreams Aren’t Only for the Young–Ingrid Lucia– Live@ Snug Harbor, NOLA, Filmed by Kristen Fouquet

Ingrid Lucia is a jazz vocalist and musician based in New Orleans, LA; she is the leader of the Flying Neutrinos, a band founded by her parents in the 1980s.

Ingrid Lucia

Of their first CD, “I’d Rather Be on New Orleans”, the Washington Post said, “There are times when Ingrid Lucia and the Flying Neutrinos’ album I’d Rather Be in New Orleans is enticing enough to make even a staunch New Yorker feel homesick for the Big Easy. A sultry, behind-the-beat voice, a combination of sometimes languid, sometimes syncopated rhythms, and lots of evocative brass all conspire to make this a picture postcard of an album.”

Ingrid Lucia and Kristen Fouquet have collaborated on projects before, most recently ” The Shotgun Sunday Series” postcard collection. See Kristin’s site Le Salon for more information.



Kristin Fouquet is a writer and photographer in the lovely city of New Orleans. Her short fiction and fine art and street photography have been published widely online and in print. She is the author of Twenty Stories (Rank Stranger Press 2009), a collection of short literary fiction, Rampart and Toulouse (Rank Stranger Press, 2011), a novella and other stories, The Olive Stain and other stories (Hammer & Anvil Books, 2013), an e-chapbook, and the print version, The Olive Stain and other stories (Le Salon Press, 2013).

Her virtual home is

~Maura Alia Badji