Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sunday Evening in Prospect Park: OKAY AFRICA with The Roots, Talib Kweli, Bajah + The Dry Eye Crew, Blitz the Ambassador et al. & a Crowd of Zillions

We didn't think we'd get in to today's OkayAfrica event featuring The Roots, Talib Kweli, Bajah + The Dry Eye Crew, Blitz the Ambassador, Sahr Ngaugah (the star of FELA! on Broadway), Zakee, Dragons of Zynth and DJ sets by J. Period, Dhundee, and OP in Prospect Park.

Since we'd gone to the Williamsburg Pool Party for a couple of hours, we figured we could arrive to the Celebrate Brooklyn! celebration ninety minutes late and still catch some good music while we picnicked outside the bandshell's concert area.

So we weren't as disappointed as our fellow late arrivals at 6:15 p.m. that we couldn't get in.

(Hey, we're cheap enough to think first, "Wow, we saved our three dollars at the gate to make it great.")

But we didn't expect a zillion people outside the usual audience space.

And not much place to throw down our picnic blanket.

Some people hopped the back fence to get inside.

Many more were happily listening to the really good sounds - the Ghanian-born, Brooklyn-based Blitz the Ambassador was onstage when we arrived, and we had no trouble at any time hearing the terrific musicians - outside, looking in or just listening.

It was like Brooklyn's African Woodstock.

We'd never seen so many people at a performance in Prospect Park, probably not even for the Metropolitan Opera stars two years ago when that was their only citywide summer appearance.

It was wonderful to see so many people enjoying a pleasant Brooklyn summer Sunday, the African beats, and each other.

Prospect Park never seemed more like paradise.

Given our late arrival and our picnic blanket's ultimate huge distance from the stage - that we walked out of the park on Flatbush Avenue may say something! - to find out intelligent stuff about the performances, we went to the posts of Rob Harvilla at our former employer (we were a messenger in 1974-75) The Village Voice's Sound of the City, and also Qbertplaya, and Avenue80s, and here's this video courtesy of Brooklyn Vegan.

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