Poster design by Annie Han, photo by Christopher Huang

Pete Shungu, featured in Anomaly on trumpet and spoken word, and band Afro D All Starz will be performing live in NYC the evening of the Loving Day Flagship Celebration. Come to the CD release party for their new album, “Strength in Numbers.” Afro D All Starz is a 12-piece live band, blending hip hop, jazz and soul — socially-conscious, community-minded, music for the people.

Details:

Saturday, June 15

Doors at 7:30, music from 8-10pm

Free show!

Shrine World Music Venue

2271 Adam Clayton Powell (7th Ave.), Harlem, NY

More info: www.afrodallstarz.com

Anomaly will be featured in Bentley University’s 2012-2013 Performing Arts Series: BE MOVED, in Waltham, MA. Following a screening of Anomaly with Director/Producer Jessica Chen Drammeh, there will be live music and spoken word poetry performed by Pete Shungu, a featured character in the film. Pete (aka Afro DZ ak) is a lyricist and trumpet player. Join Jessica and Pete for this exclusive 2012 Boston-area appearance!

http://campus-life.bentley.edu/cultural-spiritual-life/bowles-performing-arts-series/schedule

Anomaly - Film Screening and Performance

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

6:30PM doors open, 7:00PM event

Bentley University

Wilder Pavilion – Adamian Academic Center
Waltham, Massachusetts

$10 general admission

Free for Bentley students, faculty and staff

Anomaly is an award-winning documentary that provides a thought-provoking look at multiracial identity by combining personal narratives with the larger drama of mixed race in American culture. The characters use spoken word and music to tell their stories of navigating identity, family and community in a changing world. As it unfolds, Anomaly tells a story that is deeply personal, yet broadly American. Live music will follow the screening featuring Pete Shungu, who stars in the film.

Singer/songwriter Gabriella Callender with Director/Producer Jessica Chen Drammeh

We’re thrilled when we have screenings with live performers, such as with singer/songwriter Gabriella Callender at the Filmwax Film Series screening in Brooklyn in May (see photo at right). If you are near the Boston area, we look forward to bringing you another fantastic live show! Pete Shungu is a musician/poet/community organizer based in Boston. His mother is Caucasian from Kansas, and his father African from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Through his poems and music, like “Third Eye-dentity” and “Other,” Pete challenges the social categorization of mixed race people, while exploring both sides of his rich family identity. Pete is a graduate of Tufts University and performs under the name, Afro DZ ak. In addition to his work as a solo artist, he performs with his own 10-piece live hip hop/soul/jazz band, the Afro D All Starz, who will be putting out a new album, “Strength in Numbers,” in early 2013. To listen to music from Pete’s previously-released solo album, “Elevation,” visit, visit Gnawledge Records.

For all of our Brooklyn and NYC-area friends and community, please save the date of May 12th for a screening with the Filmwax Film Series: eclectic films by local filmmakers. The event will include special appearances by Director/Producer Jessica Chen Drammeh and Anomaly subject Gabriella Callender, who will perform live at the screening! Gabriella is a singer-songwriter from Hollis, Queens, and part of the trio, Mahina Movement.

The event is co-sponsored by Loving Day, which fights racial prejudice through education and builds multicultural community. Loving Day commemorates Loving v. Virginia, the Supreme Court decision that legalized interracial marriage in the US. Host a Loving Day Celebration, or attend one of ours! http://www.lovingday.org

Date: Saturday, May 12

Time: 7pm

Admission: $7 tickets available at the door

Location: Two Moon Cafe, 315 4th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215 (R train to Union Street or 9th Street, F or G to 4th Avenue)

View event/RSVP on Facebook

We are thrilled and honored that we acquired a release to incorporate Joe Bataan’s song, “Ordinary Guy (Afro Filipino),” in the soundtrack of Anomaly. Back in the 60s and 70s, long before mixed heritage identity came into public awareness, Joe Bataan was singing about his Afro-Filipino roots!

“Don’t know much about psychology
My degrees are in streetology
Ordinary, ordinary guy
Afro Filipino, average sort of guy…”

If you’re in New York, catch him at Central Park’s Summerstage!

Joe Bataan, called the “King of Latin Soul,” was influenced by the melodic sounds of doo-wop and the energy of Latin music that were the hallmarks of his Spanish Harlem neighborhood.

Joe Bataan at Central Park Summerstage, NYC
Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2011 @ 7pm
Joe Bataan / Johnny Colon / DJ Turmix / Screening: “We Like It Like That – The Story of Latin Boogaloo”
http://www.summerstage.org

Candid. Thought-provoking. Compelling. Anomaly interweaves the thoughts and experiences of the participants with the director’s narration, creating a rich tapestry of mixed dynamics. Unlike prior works on mixed race issues that focus on one ethnic mix, Anomaly is truly multiracial. Our participants come from many diverse backgrounds and multiple generations. Meet the voices and spirit of Anomaly here…

Gabriella Callender

Gabriella performing her song, "It's You"

Gabriella performing her song, "It's You"

 

“Genealogically, I’m multiethnic. Culturally, I’m African American, with European influence…  Once upon a time I used to say ‘I’m black’ because that’s how I was raised and to say anything other than black meant you’re trying to pass, and if you’re trying to pass then that is just it: you do not belong in our community, how dare you! It was a big taboo.”

Gabriella Callender is a singer/songwriter who was raised in Queens, New York, by an adopted family during the 1960s and 1970s. In Anomaly, she performs her autobiographical song, “Black and White,” which tells the story of growing up in a family where “it was all about the black and white.” In the film, Gabriella speaks about her adoption and journey of self-discovery to find her birth mother. To hear Gabriella’s work, visit the Mahina Movement website at www.mahinamovement.com.

Michelle Myers

Michelle on location in Philadelphia

Michelle on location in Philadelphia

 

“Epic memory awakened, I remember you: you are the land of my birth. I will return to you.” –from Michelle’s piece, “Arirang”

Spoken word artist Michelle Myers, who grew up in rural New Jersey, reflects on the intense alienation she experienced in her childhood from peers and the white side of her family for being half Korean. Through her work in the duo Yellow Rage and the collective Asians Misbehavin’, she confronts stereotypes and myths about Asian Americans in an outspoken, controversial way. She is also the mother of three mixed race children featured in Anomaly. To sample Michelle’s pieces, such as “I’m a Woman (Not a Flava),” visit www.yellowrage.com.

Pete Shungu

Pete on trumpet

Pete on trumpet

 

“I’ve found my way, comin’ from parents of completely different heritage/So I got a problem with you if you got a problem with interracial marriages…” –from Pete’s piece, “Third Eye-dentity”

Pete is a musician/poet based in Boston. His mother is Caucasian from Kansas, and his father African from the Congo. Showing a younger generation coming of age, Pete was born in the early 1980s. Like Michelle, he grew up in New Jersey, but found a more supportive family life for acknowledging both of his heritages. Through his poems and music, like “Third Identity” and “Other,” Pete challenges the social categorization of mixed race people, while exploring both sides of his rich family identity. Pete’s website is at www.afroDZak.com.

Thaddeus Rutkowski

Thad Rutkowski

Thad Rutkowski

 

Thaddeus Rutkowski is a spoken word artist and poet who grew up in central Pennsylvania and lives in New York. His work has appeared in numerous publications and he has been a resident at Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, and Ragdale. He is a winner of the Poetry Slam at the Nuyorican Poets Café, and performs pieces like “White and Wong” in Anomaly. Thad identifies as biracial; his mother is Chinese, and his father was Polish American. Find out about his first book, Roughhouse, and his latest novel, Tetched, at www.thaddeusrutkowski.com.

Rona Taylor

Rona hails from the Bay Area and took one of the first people of mixed heritage courses in the U.S. at UC Berkeley in the 1980s. In Anomaly, she recalls her childhood navigating Filipino and African American/Native American heritages. Early on, she identified as a “world citizen.” She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and is raising two daughters and a son.

Additional participants include:

Sabrina Margarita Alcantara-Tan, Jazz Biancci, Ella Mei Yon Biggadike, Kiyomi Burchill, Brenda Gannam, Stephanie Nokes, Ajani Schuster,  Rebecca Schuster, and James Spooner

Key experts contextualize the issues:

Jennifer Chan
Former Adjunct Professor, “Asian Americans of Mixed Heritage” course, A/P/A Studies Program and Institute, New York University.

Jen Chau
Founder/Executive Director, Swirl, Inc., a national community organization founded in 2000 that serves the mixed race community.

Michele Elam, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of English, Director of African American Studies at Stanford University; author of Race, Work and Desire in American Literature and the forthcoming Mixtries: Mixed Race in the New Millennium.

Eric Hamako
Doctoral student in the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Social Justice Education Program. Eric has been involved in mixed-race community organizing since 2000.

Ann Morning, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Sociology at New York University, specializing in race and ethnicity, especially racial classification; the multiracial population; and demography. Fulbright Scholar and Ford Foundation Fellow.

Maria P.P. Root, Ph.D. (advisor)
Clinical Psychologist; Editor of The Multiracial Experience; Author of Love’s Revolution: Interracial Marriage and “The Bill of Rights for Racially Mixed People.”

Jessica and composer J. Armen

Jessica and composer J. Armen

The original score for ANOMALY, as composed, recorded and mixed by J. Armen, is finished! What a joy it was to put back into the film, creating a thoroughly original sound for the scenes. Temp music is well, just that, temp music. Sometimes it’s too long, too short, too busy or too distracting.

J. Armen made some neat musical motifs that tied the score all together, drawing on vocal percussion, blues, a capella, improv, and broadly speaking, “world music.” In musician-speak, “pentatonic” and 9 part harmonies on some pieces. Check out the attached mp3! It’s a short sample from part of the end credits piece with vocals by Gwenviere Mann. (Click on and follow the link, and then play using the pop-up WordPress Snapshots.) To hear everything you have to come to a screening in 2009! :) -JCD

We had fantastic recording sessions this weekend! Working with composer J. Armen, the score has taken shape to create a unique, unifying vision of music that complements the content and visuals in ANOMALY. He found some fabulous musicians for the score.

Gwen Mann on vocal tracks

Gwen Mann on vocal tracks

On Saturday, we recorded Gweneviere Mann, versed in styles ranging from a capella to vocal percussion. Her alto voice sounded lush belting out some improv over a track underscoring a scene about the troubling social constructions of race and anti-miscegenation fervor. And what a coincidence! She previously sang in a group that performed Arirang at a wedding. Gwen could be in an ANOMALY sequel :) — she had a very poignant story about encounters with the KKK in the New Orleans area (they didn’t know what to make of her Filipina mom who could not pass the brown bag test).

Alex Garcia on congas and J. Armen at the sound board

Alex Garcia on congas and J. Armen at the sound board

On Sunday, J. brought into the studio bass player Ariel de la Portilla and percussionist Alex Garcia. There’s nothing like a live upright bass and congas to set a jammin’ groove with Latin and jazz roots. Ariel and Alex were so willing to do take after take, we have so much more excellent creative material than we could possibly use. The inspiration for another film, perhaps?:) Mixed race history throughout the Latin American diaspora. (That’s redundant, isn’t it ;) )

Ariel de la Portilla on upright bass

Ariel de la Portilla on upright bass

In half a second, J. put Alex and Ariel’s tracks together with a track from Gwen from the previous day. Wouldn’t you know they lined up exactly? It made a perfect musical fusion as if all three were in the studio at the same time. And our clapping recorded at the end of a really hot last take made J.’s studio sound like the new Club Armen.

There’s nothing like the energy of talented live musicians or artists honing their craft, especially when there’s room for improvisation! I played a bunch of musical instruments in my childhood (no I am not going to post a picture from the 8th grade in my band uniform!) so it was very exciting to be back in a recording studio. I will, however, post some mp3s previews in the future — after they have received J.’s professional mixing and fine tuning! -JCD