House Music and Shabba-Doo

 

Hoimage7use music was born in Chicago from the disco scene and that’s the era that Shabba-Doo has his roots. A native Chicagoan, Shabba-Doo spoke about the dance scene, “In  the late 60’s and early 70’s soul music was big in Chicago.” 

“House music influenced a style of dance called the waacking dance. Waaking Dance is a derivative of a dance style called punking,” said Shabba-Doo. In the 1970s like many of straight djs in Chicago, Shabba-Doo went into the gay night clubs in Los Angeles and created a hybrid form of dancing.  “I created the first bi-sexual street dance form,” said Shabba-Doo.

People often ask where does he get his creative dance moves, he replies, “I put the Puerto Rican in it!” Latinos have a major influence on American culture and Shabba-Doo has been at the forefront since the 1970s.

Shabba-Doo gave me an education, a history lesson.  He introduced me to Tom Moulton. Moulton was the original remixer on the national level. According to wikipedia, Moulton “was responsible for the first continuous-mix album side, on Gloria Gaynor‘s disco album, Never Can Say Goodbye, earning him the title the ‘father of the disco mix’.”

“House music was the heartbeat, the pulse,” said Shabba-Doo. The bass and tribal beats of house music gets to the very soul of a dancer. 

When working on a dance routine, he feels the music, like a heart beat, using his body to interpret the music, creating a personal music score. 

Today, Shabba-Doo is still dancing. He teaches all over the world. Often giving back to the community. He recently joined the Hip Hop Hall of Fame Museum Development Team. In the Fall of 2014 he is scheduled to release an autobiographical book. He is also working on a film, ” A Breakin’ Uprising: The Movie”.  

One of my favorite Shabba Doo quotes…

“Knowledge is the new swagger, intelligence is the new cool and the new dope. God gave us all potential but education helps to unlock that potential. Without an education, without knowledge, you are like a baseball player that only has talent but doesn’t know how to use it. Talent will get you at bat but education gets you home.” 

Background of this blog: A few months ago, I was scrolling through Facebook and Shabba-Doo was in my news feed. I thought about the movie “Breakin'”  how much I loved it, watching it over and over again in the 1980s and all the great music. I recently discovered that Shabba-Doo is from Chicago. So I wanted to know if and how House music influenced his style of dance. He graciously agreed to an interview.

 

An Interview with Byron Burke

Preface

I received a call to go and interview a female dj from Europe. She was on vacation, touring the USA and was available for an interview. The request came through a friend, I was hesitant because I prefer to set up my own interviews. It gives me the opportunity to prep the interviewee prior, giving them the choice to talk with me or not. But I trusted my source and drove 20 miles to conduct the interview. When I arrived, I was told I had just missed her.

But Rocky Jones of DJ International was wrapping up a business meeting with Byron Burke. Jones suggested I interviewed Burke. So here I was sitting across from Bryon Burke. I was not prepared in any way to conduct an interview of Burke. I enjoy preparing interviews and I love to research the subject before I conduct an interview.  As I was introduced to him, I was told he was from the group Ten City. I knew Ten City but I didn’t know Byron Burke. Burke was also put on the spot but being so gracious and kind, he agreed to the interview.

I listened to Burke talk about parts of his life journey; from growing up on Chicago’s West Side, as a trumpet player, dancer in Shy Boys dance crew, became a well-known dj and then signing with his group “B Rude, Inc” to DJ International Records all before he was 19 years old.

Music was Burke’s sanctuary. He played the trumpet in Grammar school. In the 8th grade he began djing on Technic 1100s, he practiced 6 hours a day for a year. He made over 200 mix tapes until it was just the right mix to be submitted to a promoter to get a gig. His first major party, at the age of 15, was with Shawn Robinson and Farley Jack Master Funk.

He grew tired of mixing records and wanted to make his own records. Burke called Rocky Jones, and began to hang out at the office of DJ International Records and eventually got a record deal with his group “B Rude, Inc.”.  The members of the group consisted of Byron Burke, Anthony Nash, Shaun Robison. Shortly after the group was established, Tommy Williams and Byron Stingily paired up with the team. However, the group struggled to get anything off the ground. After a year, Burke got out of his contract with DJ International Records.

He continued to work with Byron Stingily after the B Rude Inc. disbanded and joined forces with Marshall Jefferson and formed a group called The Truth, followed by Ragtyme which included Herb Lawson. Ragtyme was signed to Atlantic Records and changed their name to Ten City. Ten City’s debut album, Foundation, included “Right Back to You” and “That’s the Way Love Is.”

According to Wikipedia, along with his work on Foundation he also co-wrote and produced State of Mind for Atlantic Records, one album entitled No House Big Enough for East West Records and one album entitled That Was Then, This Is Now for Columbia Records. The records spawned ten Top 20 Billboard magazine dance songs, five Top 10 Billboard Magazine Sales Chart Singles, ten Top U.K. Pop Chart Singles, a Gold Album from South Africa and a Silver Album from the U.K. that received international acclaim on four continents.”

Today, Burke is the founder and president of BB Media Global Group. According to their website, BB Media Global Group works “with a select group of Start-up and established corporations develop creative strategies to position their brand for success.” Burke is also a co-owner of 905 FM Brooklyn New York, a 24 hour internet, smartphone and In-car radio station.

Burke’s faith has been a major influence throughout his life. The voice of God has guided him throughout his career. Since 2002, he has led weekly online bible studies and attracted people from all over the world. Burke’s sermons can be heard on http://byronburkeministries.com/.

First set: Numark dm500 and Technics Slb10s

Favorite house song: Love Dancin’ by Roger Sanchez

Favorite quote: This Book of the Law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may observe and do according to all that is written in it. For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall deal wisely and have good success–          Amplified Bible

Midwest DJ Fest

September 8, 2013–Perception Lounge, in Berwyn, hosted the Midwest DJ Fest. About 100 Djs from around Chicagoland gathered to network, to check out new equipment, trade music, listen to other djs and have a great time.

I’ve hung out with djs for more than 20 years, unless the are behind the decks, they find it very difficult to turn off their critical ear and enjoy the music. So this event was a breathe of fresh air. People were mingling, laughing, cheering each other on.  The only ones dancing were the bartenders, although the music was great, a mix of old school and EDM. Most of the djs were just lost in the music or caught up in their conversations.

I got to mingle with other djs’ wives. That is always a treat! Meeting other women who love house music despite it being our husband’s mistress. We understand the lingo, the music and the passion even if the only time we touch a turntable is to dust it off.  🙂 and sometimes not even that!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

DJ Hall of Fame-1st meet and greet!

Image

August 26, 2913— We arrived at the Alhambra Palace, on W Randolph St in Chicago. The restaurant looked like a palace with high ceilings, velvet curtains, mosaic tiles and beautiful artwork. The waitress led us to a long, curvy stair case and said, “the djs are in the room at the top of the stairs to the right.” When we arrived to the top of the stairs we opened one of the heavy double doors and walked into history.

The large room was filled with excitement and laughter. Old friends catching up. Rocky Jones, the founder and owner of DJ international records and Martin “the Boogieman” Luna were on the stage discussing the order of the night’s events. We saw some of our friends, said some quick hellos but quickly grabbed our seats, as Luna announced to clear the dance floor.

As people cleared the dance floor, I looked around the room and saw Chicago house music artists like Curtis McClain, Harry Dennis, Keith Nunnally; djs like Martin “the Boogieman” Luna, Tim Spinnin’ Schommer, CZR just to name a few and producers like Rocky Jones, Sal Amato and Benji Espinoza.

Luna introduced Rocky Jones to a roar of applause and accolades. Jones got right down to business. There was a 3 point agenda for the DJ Hall of Fame: in the works was an official non-profit organization with a 501c3 in progress, an awards show for djs and a House Music museum to be located in Chicago.  Jones emphasized that all of the work would be done with excellence, dedication and ethics.

It was clear to everyone in the room we were a part of history in the making. Following Jones’ announcements he called upon Keith Nunnally. Nunnally reminded the group of Chicago’s place in the history of house music. He encouraged the group to stay focused on the bigger picture.

Following  the announcements, people began to mingle, take pictures and exchange information. It was truly an honor to witness the beginning stages of what will be the most unified House Nation ever!

House Music is Gonna Set You Free

At the History of House Concert
At the History of House Concert in Riis Park in Chicago, IL

I remember the first time I tried to explain house music to my parents. I was turning the dial on the stereo and they asked what I was looking for, I replied, “I want to listen to music without breaks. It just keeps going!” I was about 11 yrs old. It wasn’t long before I discovered that it was the radio station WBMX that played the “Hot Mix 5” on Friday nights.  I listened every Friday, recorded the mixes on my cassette deck on the little boom box, so I had something to listen to until the next week. I recorded the mixes over and over; I wore out many cassettes tapes.

I was too young for the Warehouse, Musicbox and Jenals. But in 1987, I was 13 years old, I began to attend school dances in the gym. These were house music parties. When I walked into the dark gym that was lit up by a few strobe lights, I felt the bass vibrate through my body. I watched the dance crews battle it out and took in the whole scene. At the time I was not into dancing, just the music. I had all the song lyrics memorized. My love affair with house music was solidified.

Back then, we knew the dj’s name not necessarily who was the artist behind the song. There were a few stand outs like White Knight and Fast Eddie. Over the last few years, I’ve had the honor to meet some of the voices behind those lyrics I memorized.

Today, I am a married mom of a 20 year old, 17 year old and a 3 year old. My husband is a dj, he mixes old school house music, from the 1980s and 1990s with many of the new beats.   We love attending house music events; like the History of House. I still get lost in the music, if I close my eyes I can easy go back to that school gym when life was so carefree. House Music will set you free!