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Entertain the Peoplez: Kindred The Family Soul in Harlem

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kindred5

Spread the word to one another
It’s the latest thing
If you ain’t heard it
Well get up on this ya’ll cause
Kindred is about to bring it
We about to bring it

Tonight I was fortunate to have been able to experience the love affair that is Kindred The Family Soul in Jackie Robinson Park located in the heart of Harlem. Although the concert was free courtesy of the City Parks Foundation, a person who didn’t know any better would think that they had paid the full price of admission to see this Philadelphia based dynamic duo perform. Kindred performed material from their 2003 debut Surrender to Love as well as new music from their upcoming release In this Life Together that is set to hit stores on September 20, 2005.

Kindred is made up of Fatin Dantzler and Aja Graydon backed by a live band. Remarkably, Dantzler and Graydon are not just partners on stage but they also happen to be husband and wife, and the parents of three children. Throughout the performance, the duet playfully flirts, nuzzles , and lovingly shares a bottle of water during an instrumental interlude.

Although it took the crowd a while to warm up to them, by the time “Intimate Friends” by Eddie Kendricks was finished, Kindred had Harlem in the palm of their hands. They mixed in a praise offering of thank you Lord for your blessings, with a tribute to Luther Vandross and John Johnson of Ebony Magazine, wrapping up the song with a moment of silence. The band skillfully transitioned into another old school classic by fellow Philly native Frankie Beverly. The intro to “We are One” literally brought the crowd to their feet.

Dantzler and Graydon who are both quite approachable and down to earth, took the opportunity to interact with early birds in the audience before the show. One person who really touched them was a young man named Andre Singleton, who is a cancer survivor turned advocate/educator. The couple dedicated the song “Rhythm of Life” to Singleton. Another audience member who caught their attention was a man simply known as Keith. Dantzler invited Keith onstage, handed him the microphone and gave him free rein to get funked up to the band’s rendition of Kool & the Gangs’s “Jungle Boogie.” The crowd ate it up!

Kindred brought the concert to a close with a couple of songs from their new CD, In this Life Together, that was named in honor of Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee’s joint autobiography of the same title. “The Question/Where would I Be” is the first single from their sophomore CD. Dantzler proudly boasted that they had just returned from Los Angeles the day before where they finished shooting the video. Capping off an evening of excellent music and good energy was their signature hit, “Far Away.”

The combination of positive lyrical content and live instrumentation is what makes Kindred stand out from other up and coming “artists” currently saturating the music industry. Their concert was a well needed injection of positive vibes that will hopefully make an impact on the type of music future generations produce and discerning audiences demand to hear. With lyrics that are full of hope, love and strong family values, Kindred The Family Soul is a refreshing change of pace from the meager offerings presently on commercial radio.

(c) August 17, 2005

Sample “The Question”

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Remaining August Performance Dates:

08/19/05 Orange County Jazz Festival Orange County, CA

08/20/05 Sunset Jazz Series Wilson Creek Winery Temecula, CA

08/21/05 WDAS Unity Day Performance Philadelphia

08/ 26/05 Red Cat Performance Houston, TX

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About D. Bell

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