Nitanti Alur

This year I made a vow that I’d get out of the house and do far more than meet pals for drinks or drinks-n-dinner. I crave live music and art and culture and the lasting memories that come from attending actual events, concerts, and musicals. With mask regulations no longer mandatory in Ireland, there were no more excuses. At the end of the day, watching a play smothered in a mask just plain ruins the experience.

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Malcolm X, Black Muslim leader, addresses a rally in Harlem in New York City


In February we celebrate Black History Month in America.

For the entire month, we commemorate the vast contributions from Black people who have impacted society here and abroad. After all, we are responsible for countless inventions and innovations in art, science, athletics, business, and activism, contributions that often get overlooked because of our country's pervasive legacy of racism.

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IMAGINE. (Ultimate Mix, 2020) - John Lennon & The Plastic Ono Band (with the Flux Fiddlers) HD

John Lennon released the song Imagine in May of 1971.

I was born less than six months later in that same year, the third child of a couple hippies who had no business having kids. But they had truth - and so did John.

He had love and truth and he wasthe BEATLES, same as Mick Jagger is The Rolling Stones, and Shane MacGowan is The Pogues. And Chuck Berry is... Chuck fg Berry.

And then consider these inventors of all that we listen to, those who create the sountrack for our lives: Buddy Bolden, Robert Johnson, Professor Longhair, David Bowie, Fats Domino, Kendrick Lamar, and Van Morrison.

In an alternate universe they would be seen as Joyce, Shakespeare, Fitzgerald and Hemingway. Frederick Douglas, James Baldwin, Maya Angelou, Walter Mosley, Seamus Heaney - the beacons of truth through the dark and dimly-lit tunnel of sociological change and evolution.

IMAGINE. (Ultimate Mix, 2020) - John Lennon & The Plastic Ono Band (with the Flux Fiddlers)

Read More: 11 Musicians Who Predicted the Future

Instead, Lennon was feared by parents for being a "rock-n-roll" musician, for playing "black" music. Imagine that. Wow.

"People have always been trying to stamp out rock 'n' roll since it started, I always thought that it's because it came from black music and the words had a lot of double entendre in the early days. It was all this 'our nice white kids are gonna go crazy moving their bodies', y'now the music got to your body and The Beatles just carried it a bit further, made it a bit more white, even more than Elvis did because we were English." - John Lennon.

We miss you, John, and thank you for inspiring people to learn to love truth and for honoring the invention of our African American brothers and sisters. You stayed true. You will be missed.

WORKING CLASS HERO. (Ultimate Mix, 2020) - John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band (official music video HD)

Read More: Paul McCartney Buries Lennon Rivalry and Settles the Beatles vs. Stones Debate

Below I lay some flowers at your grave - the track my brother Joey wrote - inspired in large part by your style and sound, your truth.

Joey was part of a Dublin band that charted in the UK, trying to model your mojo. He wrote this song when he got back to the States, but continues to busk in front of the Dakota with his band mate, Nigel Williams, on the date of your birth - whenever possible.

You are missed and remembered, John. Slainte.

by Kevin Fortuna


Photo by Danny Payne/Shutterstock

We all know at least one person who has explained in grandiose, often drunken detail why Radiohead is the greatest band ever.

"Kid A was one of the greatest creative experiments in history" and blah, blah, blah. As magnetic a project as Kid A remains, the album has been so deeply dissected and collectively lauded that any further praise in 2020 often falls on deaf ears.

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Soraia Wild Woman - SoraiaRocks


Philly alt-rock outfit Soraia introduces the music video for "Wild Woman," a track from their latest album, Dig Your Roots, via Orchard Music/Wicked Cool Records.

Front woman ZouZou Mansour says, "The whole concept of this video is centered around how many times we fall down - or get knocked down - in life. We can use these experiences to empower us, and ultimately, make us more free." Reminiscent of Patti Smith and Joan Jett, Mansour's heavy-duty voice rises above rough and ready guitars, yielding an empowering '90s-flavored rock anthem.

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Come For Me

Remember Slenderman, that nightmarish creature who originated on Creepypasta and then appeared between the trees every time you walked by the woods (and inspired a real murder)?

Now he's reappeared—in song. Nashville-based artist Notelle has released "Come For Me," a dark, witchy pop tune inspired by Slenderman and his lingering presence.

"I have always found the concept of 'shadows' fascinating, as they're quite literally a dark sided piece of you that is intangible, yet always present," Notelle said. "It reminded me a lot of the remnants of an old love. They're there still, but not really…it's a frightening concept. It's widely accepted, at this point, that all living things are made up of energy - and I've been reading more and more recently about how even after a living thing has left a space, it is possible that their residual energy can linger. You can feel it, even when you'd give anything to erase it. That's what this song is about…that shadow that haunts you, that memory that overstays its welcome, that person whose presence it's still there long after they're gone."

In terms of all living things being made up of energy, Notelle might be referring to the idea that everything in life is a vibration, a concept originally posited by Albert Einstein. That idea is also an important tenet of quantum physics, which proposes that everything is vibrating at a certain frequency, though we're all still part of the same ocean of sound. By this logic, when someone disappears, the vibrations they cast into our universe can continue to echo on and on.

A song about Slenderman probably isn't picking up the best vibrations, but "Come For Me" manages to sound beautiful anyway, despite the dark energy that seems to have inspired it. It draws inspiration from Billie Eilish's subterranean basslines and threadbare vocals, mixed with the industrial grittiness of Nine Inch Nails. Though sonically it grows frenzied, Notelle's voice stays hypnotic and soft, whispering like howling wind on a Halloween night. Altogether, it sounds like it could soundtrack a murder scene that takes place underneath a club or the climax of a Slenderman-themed movie when the star realizes that Slenderman was only in her head, but there's blood on her hands.

As an independent artist, Notelle's work as a featured vocalist on other artists' tracks has earned a combined 11 million streams on Spotify, but now she's launched a solo career of her own, leaving the hyperactive electricity of her EDM collaborations for frayed, haunted pop.