FEATURE: Mausiki Scales - Common Ground Collective
When his parents purchased a piano, keyboardist and bandleader Mausiki Scales was only 8. But the presence of the keys would reach far past his hometown of Gary Indiana, with music always residing with him. From the early exposure to music, Mausiki developed an interest jazz and funk and while attending college at Tuskegee University he co-founded the R&B group Noir. Upon graduation from Tuskegee Univeristy, Mausiki traveled to Atlanta, Georgia to attend a Master's program in History. During this time, he fine-tuned his craft while playing with local bands. He played with bands he co-founded Fa (1992-1995), and subsequently, Afro Blue Trio (1995 - 1998).
In 1998, Mausiki formed the Common Ground Collective, weaving sounds of soul, funk, jazz and African consciousness. He also became a member of UK soul artist, Julie Dexter's band in 2002. In 2003, expanding his band to engender *Afrobeat music with 15 members was a natural progression. For Mausiki, each component of the music was already manifesting in his professional and personal life. He had been imbued with the varied musical influences of Stevie Wonder, James Brown, Fela Kuti, Roy Ayers, Manu DiBango, Miles Davis, Eddie Harris, Baaba Maal, Parliament Funkadelics, George Clinton, Tony Allen, Art Blakey, Hugh Masekela, Youssou N'Dour, Earth, Wind, and Fire, Olu Dara, and Bob Marley; He had majored in History at Tuskeegee University (1991) and earned a Master's degree in History at Clark Atlanta University (1995); He had traveled to the continent of Africa several times. Therefore, it was inevitable that Mausiki would take the music and couple it with history, political awareness, and spiritual fervor, determined to find the common ground that linked continental African culture to her diaspora.
Mausiki came to express this best through Afrobeat music and his collective of new, emerging, and master musicians. Mausiki has performed widely with other music artists such as Babatunde Olatunji, Stevie Wonder, Reggie Rockstone, Bill Summers, Amiri Baraka, Hugh Masekela, Habib Koite, The Last Poets, Lauryn Hill, Vinx, Lucky Dube, Slick-Rick, Michelle Ndegeocello, Kindred, Wunmi, Doug E. Fresh, India Arie, Amadou Barry, Anthony David, Sonia Sanchez, Nikki Giovanni, Lizz Wright, Rachelle Ferelle, Mose Vinson, Mor Thiam, Donnie, Jason Yarde, Kunle Odutayo, Dwight Trible, Kirk Whalum, Oliver Lake, Keidi Tatum, Bugz in the Attic, Julie Dexter, Loose Ends, Third World, Floetry, Carla Gomez, Lady Alma, Susan Allotey, Russell Gunn,Cody Chestnut, Survival Sounds, Phace Oracles, VenuSeven, Ledisi, Fertile Ground, and Steel Pulse. He has recorded and performed with Julie Dexter, Jiva, Afroblue, and Venuseven as well as performed for Winnie Mandela, Dick Gregory, Ben Carson, Jesse Jackson and Bill Cosby.
Mausiki has played in numerous venues at home and abroad including Navy Pier (Chicago), BB Kings (New York), Jazzid (Miami FL), the African-American Heritage Festival (Baltimore, MD), the Blues Alley (DC), the Temple Bar (LA, CA), Art, Beats & Lyrics07/08 @ Atlanta's High Museum & Charlotte, NC , the Black Lilly @ 'the Five-Spot' (Philly), BassLine Jazz Cafe- Accra, Ghana, West Africa. Jazz Tones, The Chelsea Place, The W.E.B. DuBois Center, Ghana's International Conference Center, Ghana West Africa. Dakar, Senegal, W. Africa Jazz Fete, Motion Blue (Tokyo, Japan), Half Moon (Montego Bay, Jamaica), the National Black Arts Festival (Atlanta), Paine College Jazz Festival and others. In addition to his work as a music artist, Mausiki has worked as a professor of history and African / African American Studies in the Atlanta University Center and Georgia State University, a group of the country's major institutions of higher learning for African Americans for over a decade.
A published historian, Mausiki resides in Atlanta and is the father of two. *Afrobeat is a combination of funk, jazz, and soul fused with West African rhythms and vocal styles popularized in the late 60s and early 70s. This music mixes traditional West African music & high-life with James Brown inspired funk. By definition Afrobeat includes and level of political activism and cultural awareness. Afrobeat's most famous artist is Nigerian multi-instrumentalist, bandleader and political activist Fela Anikulapo Kuti. Fela died in 1997, however his legacy lives on through his music. Afro Blue Unbroken Circle (1997) Common Ground Remembrance Has Not Left Us (1999) Endless Summers & Southern Porches (2001) Common Ground Touch the Soil EP (Summer 2004)
-- #179 Posted on Saturday, February 6, 2010 --
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