The Black Student Union, in association with the campus radio station KCSB, hosted a concert entitled “(93)106 & Park” at Storke Plaza at the University of California, Santa Barbara. This concerts was a part of Black Culture Week which honors the diversity of music within the African diaspora. The show intended to start a dialogue on topics that surround black culture, and it was held in the KCSB courtyard. This is a small venue where the audience could equally interact with the artists and each other.
The evening began with Cosilive’s fun and familial attitudes. The group consists of Angelo Arce on keyboard and vocals, Manon Franklin on drums, and Coso Franklin on bass. They started with covers of songs including Michael Jackson’s “Rock with You” and “Never Too Much” by Luther Vandross. Arce’s vocals did Michael Jackson’s song justice because they paid homage to the King of Pop’s iconic sound and spiced things up with his own style.
Cosilive also performed a rendition of Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky,” which energized the crowd and motivated people to dance. To finish with the set, Cosilive played an eclectic mashup of songs which ranged from the hard-hitting rap of “California Love” by 2Pac to the hip-hop smoothness of “You Got Me” by The Roots. Overall, the blend of various styles showcased the diversity found within Black culture.
The next artist on stage was Jacnique Nina, a multiple award-winning, Los Angeles-based jazz vocalist, who performed songs from her new album “Eternal Love”. With her set, Nina exposed listeners to the intersectionality of being black and female in the music industry. She started with an original song, “Believe in Love,” which created an atmosphere saturated with positivity. Afterwards, Nina asked if there were any “smooth operators” in attendance before she launched into the classic Sade tune of the same name. This casual interaction caused the crowd to burst into laughter.
The song “Rise and Love” was a huge hit with the crowd. Even though it sounded mellow, it also invoked the kind of perkiness that has persisted in classic jazz. “Trial by Fire” brought a more spiritual element to her set with words of encouragement and feel-good vibes. The crowd was very responsive to Nina and danced to nearly every song she played. Her performance set a lively tone that remained even after she left the stage.
The final performer of the night was saxophonist Andre’ Cotman or “SaxManDre” as he refers to himself. SaxManDre is based out of the Greater Los Angeles area where he performs regularly at places such as The W Hotel and The Sayers Club. He ended the night on a strong note with upbeat saxophone rhythms played over pre-recorded tracks.
During his cover of “Where Have You Been” by Rihanna, SaxManDre came down into the crowd while he played his saxophone, and he started dancing with audience members. The energy created by this interaction fueled the rest of his set. SaxManDre then brought it back to old school with “It’s Alright, It’s Ok” by Shirley Caesar. This gospel classic kept the tempo set by previous songs while it also added some soul to the performance.
The climax of his performance was Beyonce’s “Love on Top.” SaxManDre again went offstage and was greeted by an audience showing off their dance moves to the popular song. His interaction with the audience was a key piece to his performance which successfully created a connection with the crowd. SaxManDre’s song choices were largely a celebration of past and present Black musicians who have made their mark on the music industry.
The night’s overall feeling was one of collective harmony and positivity. Leaving the performance, you could still feel a connection to the artist and fellow crowd members. The stylistic differences of each performance cohesively melded the entire night into one grand celebration of Black musicianship and the important roles that Black musicians have continuously held in our culture.