Strictly Rhythm: 1971 featuring Daniel Gray-Kontar and Rich Medina
Tickets: $15 party + performance / $10 party only (MOCA members save $5)
Inspired by the year 1971 to the present day, poet Daniel Gray-Kontar will perform new and original work set to the soundscape of veteran DJ Rich Medina and live world music percussion. This spoken word performance will be followed by Sanctuary Cleveland, one of the best monthly dance parties in the 216. Curated by Kontar and Mark A. Mathews, Sanctuary is a hypnotic, multi-ethnic mixture of people, bands, and DJs. Medina headlines, taking the crowd on a sonic journey through hip-hop, house, afrobeat, funk, and soul classics.
BIO: DANIEL GRAY-KONTAR
Daniel Gray-Kontar is a poet, rapper, journalist, educator, and youth mentor. His poetry has appeared in such anthologies as Bum Rush the Page: A Def Poetry Jam (Three Rivers Press), Spirit and Flame: An Anthology of Contemporary African American Poetry (Syracuse University Press), and on the sound recording Grand Slam: The Best of the National Poetry Slam, Volume One (Mouth Almighty Records). Kontar is also the 1994 national poetry slam co-champion.
In 2008, performing under the moniker Replife, Kontar released his first full-length album titled The Unclosed Mind (Futuristica Music). He has performed on over 30 international sound recordings. Kontar’s music and social criticism has appeared in such magazines as The Source, The Village Voice, Wax Poetics, and XLR8R. He is the former editor and publisher of the underground monthly magazine, Urban Dialect as well as the former Chair of the Department of Literary Arts at the Cleveland School of the Arts.
For the past two decades, Rich Medina has cemented his reputation as an elite DJ, capable of taking audiences worldwide on a sonic journey through hip-hop, house, soul, afrobeat, funk, breaks and dance classics. His eloquence extends well beyond the music he plays—Medina’s spontaneous use of language speaks to the fact that he’s been a well-respected spoken word artist for over a quarter century, not to mention that he’s a journalist who has contributed columns and features to a wide variety of publications, including The Fader, Complex and Wax Poetics. As a record producer, he has collaborated with Jill Scott, J Dilla, Martin Luther, Bobbito Garcia, Blue Note Records, and Concord Music Group. He also released his first full-length LP, Connecting the Dots in 2005, on the Dutch indie powerhouse label Kindred Spirits. His commanding physical presence is a constant reminder of four years of varsity basketball while at Cornell University and a brief stint of semi-pro ball immediately thereafter.
Medina is known for establishing legendary parties such as APT which had a 9-year run at Lil’ Ricky’s Rib Shack in NYC’s soon-to-be-hot Meatpacking District. APT became a real destination in the City—a place where folks like Puff Daddy, Kevin Powell, Lord Sear, Mos Def, Talib Kweli and Prince could be seen regularly, getting down on the dancefloor, mixing right in with the crowd. In the midst of APT’s heyday, in 2005, hip-hop legend Q-Tip chose Medina to be his partner for a new Friday night weekly called Open, at Santos Party House in NYC, which played to capacity crowds for the duration of its four year run. Using NYC as a catalyst, Rich became what many would call the ultimate DJ-in-residence, with steady established outposts in numerous cities, including Miami, San Francisco, Chicago, St. Louis, DC, Orlando, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Amsterdam, London and Paris. Medina also established JUMP N FUNK in 2001, North America’s Original Afrobeat party, dedicated to the late Nigerian icon Fela Anikulapo Kuti. The groundwork laid down by Medina via his JNF brand to raise global awareness for Afrobeat was silently vital in setting the stage, literally and figuratively, for the award-winning Broadway and worldwide run of “FELA!”.