Several of my friends that I travel with every year were there, so vicariously through their many text messages, tweets, FB updates and instagram pics, I got to somewhat experience it. Once of the advantages of having been to so many festivals is that I have seen it grow evolve and change in many ways. I have seen many of the artists that perform numerous times over the years. Outside of just the music and parties, I love the empowerment seminars, the artwork, the celebrity meet and greets and of course the beauty of my people all in one place, a city that I love ! One thing that I do miss though is having Frankie Beverly & Maze close out the event each year. Up until like 2 years ago, you could always count on their performance the final night & they did not disappoint. However, Essence decided to change it up to appeal to a younger demographic and did not invite Frankie Beverly & Maze. That was a really big deal the first year that it happened and lots of fans were really upset. In time, Maze found a new home with the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival held in April each year and Essence continues to bring more diverse Main stage artists.
While watching the BET Awards last week and the Frankie Beverly & Maze tribute. It did finally occur to me that I am getting OLD ! LOL. I say this because I noticed that the majority of the audience could not get into the music the way I would have thought. They do not know the words to the songs! And I think it's because they are too young to appreciate it. It makes sense when you think about it. The Essence Festival is 17 yrs and going. That is a really long time.Maze has been performing live shows for many years. The demographic that can really get into this groups music is getting older. Real musicians, real instruments, no auto-tune and can hold the attention of an arena full of people. Frankie is still cool as hell and he is still fine. I think he is aging pretty well actually, but his voice is failing him somewhat (he has has some throat problems in the past). But at their concerts we sing all the words anyway so, you are so busy jamming you don't notice it as much ! LOL I have so many fond memories of this music, this band, New Orleans and of course of Essence that will stand the test of time.
I found a great interview clip from a few years ago, an NPR interview with him and that fine ass Ed Gordon ! It has lots of musical clips inside and explains the Maze phenomenon. Take a listen and enjoy !
Frankie Beverly NPR Interview with Ed Gordon
And this is for all of my fellow Southern Girls out there !
Have you been to Essence ? Are you a Frankie Beverly and Maze Fan ? What about New Orleans ?
Thoughts ? Comments ? Questions ?