KJLH Adds Soulful Groove to 4th Annual ‘A Taste of Soul’
Â – Robert Torrence for Sentinel
By Olusheyi Banjo
Sentinel Contributing Writer
The fourth annual ‘A Taste of Soul’ festival once again celebrated the soulfulness of all of us. It not only celebrated the soul of food, but it also celebrated the soul of community, the soul of music, dance and performing arts.
This year, radio station KJLH presented the best in R&B, gospel, pop, rock, funk, jazz, hip- hop and inspirational music. The show featured some of the all time legendary artist such as Lenny Williams, Sounds Of Blackness, Michel’le, Eric Benet, Yo-Yo and Bebe Winans. The event also featured up and coming acts such as Mo Betta Experience Band featuring Indira Khan (Chaka Khan’s daughter), Bonjour and PJ Morton, as well as community legends Wadada and Statik Express. Eric Benet was also featured as the celebrity guest host for the event.
Singer Yolanda Harris began the soulful experience singing some of her new songs from her debut CD.
The Antioch Church of Long Beach sang with fervor and conviction as they ushered in the presence of the most high.
The Kingdom Worship Choir, an 85-member choir, sang their hearts out with worship and praise songs. “We thank God and KJLH for the opportunity to share our brand of good news music with all of these wonderful people,” stated the pastor and founder of the group.
The multi racial group of lovely young ladies, BonJour represented the soul of pop, rock, Latin music and country with their slick vocals and dancing skills. They sang and danced with such intensity that even the older people in the crowd were feeling them.
Greater Zion Choir represented the soul of contemporary gospel and set the stage on fire with their brand of on point rock and hip-hop flavored gospel music. They sang songs such as “Our Lord,” as well as other classic and new gospel songs. “We represent radical praise and that comes out in our performances. We praise because what we used to be is not what we are now. God saved us and set all of us free, so that is why we give him 100% of our praise,” stated the musical director of the choir.
Funkalicious, a new group on the scene, represented the soul of funk with such songs as the classic funk jam “Flashlight,” that pleased the crowd and made them dance in the streets. “This is a great event for the community and we are very happy that the L.A. Sentinel and KJLH has let us be a part of it. The crowd was wonderful and we are so glad that they loved and received our music. We all come from greatness most of our family background is music, we just put a lot of things in the Lord’s hands and let him have his way,” stated the group’s manager Bobby Drake and one of the lead singers for the group.
The wonderful and serious talented group of young people, Statik Express, danced and charmed the crowd of over 100,000 with their material from the first CD titled “Statik Express.”
The Sylvers, which now consists of Foster, Angie and Pat, reunited to perform a wonderful new song. Before they sang, Foster gave a soul-stirring testimony of how God brought him out of darkness and addiction. “Angie and Pat were ready to reunite but God had to do some work on me in order for me to be ready. I’m glad that God has changed me for the better,” stated Foster Sylvers.
Singer Karyn White made a special appearance at the festival to support The Sylvers and to promote her new TV show. “Right now I am working on a new reality show that will feature the second generation of the Sylvers and I am also going to take part in the tribute to Babyface and LA Reid that will be held at the Soul Train Awards. I also plan on recording some new material in the near future, just keep a look out for it.”
The crowd fully embraced new artist, PJ Morton, who sang songs from his upcoming CD titled The One. Much to the delight of the audience, he sang “I Can’t Help It,” as a tribute to Michael Jackson. Morton stated after his performance “It is truly a great thing to be a part of this wonderful festival that celebrates the soulfulness of the human spirit.”
J-Boog and Lil Fizz kept the crowd jumping with their new song “Bounce” from their upcoming CD.
Bebe Winans teamed up with Erika from the group Mary Mary to perform his and Cece’s newest hit “Close To You.” Winans also performed his song “I Found Love.”
Singer Michel’le, who celebrated the 20th anniversary of her debut CD, proved to the crowd that she still has what it takes to be considered one of the best singers in the music business. She sang her classics, which included “No More Lies,” “Nicety,” and “Something In My Heart,” as well as a remake of the ageless song “You’re Gonna Make Me Love Somebody Else.” “I plan on recording some songs for my upcoming CD as well as contemplating other offers. I am glad to see that so many people remember and still love me.” Stated Michel’le
Eric Benet treated the crowd to acapella versions of his songs, which included Chocolate Legs,” “You’re The Only One” and “Spend My Life with you.”
Sounds Of Blackness, who celebrate their 40th anniversary this year, inspired the crowd and made them groove with their unforgettable songs “I Believe” and “Hold On (Change Is Coming)” as well as the new version of their very first single “Optimistic,” that is taken from their new CD The 3rd Gift: Stories, Songs And Spirit. “The title of the new CD is taken from one of W.E.B. Dubois’ famous saying about artistry is the third gift given to black people. It is important for us to use our gifts to uplift our entire race,” stated the director of the group Gary Hines.
Yo-Yo, who was a crowd favorite, performed her classic songs “You Can’t Play with My Yo-Yo,” “The Bonnie and Clyde Theme,” as well her verse on the remix of “I Wanna Be Down.”
Councilman Bernard Parks stated, “This festival that the LA Sentinel and KJLH are sponsoring is about celebrating community. This festival brings together 100,000 people from various parts of Los Angeles for a peaceful day to enjoy the culinary as well as enjoy each other and enjoy great music and artists I am glad to be a part of this wonderful event every year.”