One of my early careers was as an Associate Talent Manager in the entertainment industry. In the ’90s I was privileged to work with amazing artists like Vanessa Williams, Babyface, Andrae Crouch, and Al Jarreau, to name a few. I was constantly exposed to new artists and live performances. I attended the Grammys, the Soul Train Music Awards, and the AMAs, and I saw tons of concerts from the first 20 rows. Today, my work takes me to fundraisers and galas, and I am usually cynical about the quality of the music and performance.
But what a wonderful surprise to come across a local Holyoke, Massachusetts band called Tem Blessed and the Blest Energy Band at an inspiring fundraiser I recently attended. Young people performed poetry and talked about how their lives have been changed by The Julius Ford/Harriet Tubman Healthy Living Community. The Community “creates opportunities for an intergenerational collective of educators, activists, artists, community builders, to work together with underserved youth toward critical thinking, healthy living and co-creating the communities we want to live in.” I had substantive conversations with people of all ages, races, religions, and sexual preferences. The food was good, the fundraiser was successful, and the music was on and poppin’!
Tem Blessed rocked the house with substantive lyrics, solid musicality… and they are a good looking band. No weird electronics, no spectacular light show, just great entertainment. And it was empowering to see a gorgeous female rockin’ the mike with passion and conviction.
Although I moved across the country from California to Massachusetts, I am happy to say that I have taken my social justice values and music sensibility and found a home. It’s on and poppin’!
Whenever you have a chance, seek out live performances with original music. Hopefully you will be pleasantly surprised when you discover a sound that stirs your soul.
Tags: live music, poetry, Tem Blessed & The Blest Energy Band, the Julius Ford/Harriet Tubman Living Community