We make no attempt to engage in cultural appropriation of the Dashiki to be fashionable or ironic; or, to promote/perpetuate a pop culture stereotype. Nor do we mean to undermined its status as a sign of Black identity or claim that we understand the black experience. To us, it is as deeply significant as a raised fist: something that was an emblem of the Civil Rights and Black Panther Movements of the 1960s and early 70s; and, today, is a universal, all inclusive emblem that rejects systematic racism and police brutality. To us, the 'Angelina print" also represents untucked culture and a rejection of some Western cultural norms that we see as negative. More over, we recognize it as a symbolic challenge against white supremacy and a celebration of African and African-American culture. Whether we don blue for peace and love, or black for mourning, to us, the Dashiki is not a costume; it is a uniform that represents something we believe to be sacred.
With deep respect, we do not wear it lightly.
Now... the white shoes and polyester are irony.
I was born in the desert of South West Arizona, and raised in the lion’s den of Southern California. Mom was the church organist, Dad was in a barbershop quartet. They played records like Oklahoma and West Side Story. My older brother played The Beatles, and Jethro Tull. Then my brother played “Johnny B. Goode” for me… Everything changed… Rudy Mejarado and I discovered Doctor Demento… I heard the Clash, David Bowie, The Kinks, The Ramones, and others for a penny… My brother took me to see the Dead... I have played around California in a variety of bands for the last 30 years. From punk to jam band to Irish folk, I grow with every style of music I get to play. The result is a roots approach to songs that may or may not have been intended for such a style. Either way, it's a good time... Honest!!!
I was born in Spain. In 1972, a hippie boarder who was staying at my Abuela’s house gave me a Mad Magazine and my first record: a heavily scratched copy of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. I also remember how much I loved when my dad played Al Green’s Full of Fire and even better when he put on his harmonica holder and played Jimmy Reed songs for me. When we moved to the states and I started playing my dad’s guitar, he finally let me have the 3 records I had wanted: Bobby Bland and B. B. King Together Again...Live, The Best of Muddy Waters, and Lightning Hopkins’ (Folkways Label). Those were my Mel Bay books. My dad also turned me onto the Ink Spots and Harry Belafonte. High School brought New Wave, Van Halen, The Stray Cats, X, Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff and Two Tone into my life . The Vaughan Brothers shifted me off my whole musical axis; leading me back to the blues; and, eventually, to my sensei David Bernstein. Dave showed me Wynonie Harris, Little Willie John, Little Milton, et. al., and Mario’s Bohemian Cigar Store Cafe meatball subs. But, everything changed when J. Sampietro gave me a copy of Ry Cooder’s Borderline. Everything. Ry remains my idol, my guitar teacher/guru, and my portal to the great underappreciated American songbook. Through almost all of this, John has been there. He really is my untucked soul brother.