Jonathan ‘Chaka’ Mahone is a member of RIDERS AGAINST THE STORM. For this Artist-to-Artist Q&A, he gets down to the nitty gritty and up to spiritual heights with Bobby McFerrin, who Chaka dubs “a vocal alchemist.”
Talking to two-time Grammy nominee Eric Roberson is like talking to a best friend. You can tell he is listening. Everything he offers to the conversation is smooth and thoughtful. It’s not just that he likes to talk; he likes to learn.
“Mission Accomplished,” was how Chaka felt when Riders Against the Storm (RAS) won the prestigious Band of the Year award at this year’s SXSW Music Festival. To have Hip Hop appreciated and validated by a bona fide music-loving community was exactly the purpose of RAS’ move to Austin in 2009.
Visitors flock to the narrow sidewalks of Sixth Street to hear live music gush through the shingles of bustling bars and rain on their eardrums. In contrast, ten miles away, One World sits on a sun bleached plateau in the Hill Country .
LisaGay Hamilton is present. Present in all the ways you’d expect from a person who trained at the Juilliard School, who has starred in Hollywood films, and who is a mother and woman of color married to a historian and living in Los Angeles.
Life is grim. But on Sunday nights, in a dingy hall in a forlorn neighborhood, the men of the ghetto piece together the finest attire their meager lives can beg, borrow or steal to compete in an underground contest like no other.