The future space funk is in good hands if Totem, the new album by The Motet, is any indication. The band has made some personnel changes of late, and fans have been waiting eagerly to hear what The Motet had in store for them. Noted proponents of funk with world and dance elements liberally mixed together, The Motet has built a loyal following that was hopeful their heroes would keep it real and keep it real funky. With guitarist Eric Krasno of Lettuce and Soulive producing and writing a pair of tunes for the disc, certain expectations were held, and happily exceeded. The most prominent change came at vocalist, going from Jans Ingber to Lyle Divinsky, a move that has the band sounding even more like a forgotten fountain of the funk hey-day of the late seventies than ever.Stream the album via Spotify below, and follow along with our written review of the new release!Founder Dave Watts fittingly kicks off this new era of The Motet with a twisty percussion intro to “The Truth” that sets the stage to let Divinsky show what he brings to the proceedings. Divinsky’s weapon of choice is a voice that sounds so authentic and perfect for the mood, you almost have to wonder if he was made in a laboratory. The space boogie flows on with the bouncy “Fool No More,” with a snappy bass line from Garrett Sayers that sounds an inexorable call to the dance floor for party people. Organist Joey Porter gets a chance to shine on “Know It Too Well,” as the music opens up and he has a chance to lend squeals and peals to lyric heavy sections before drenching the proceedings with lush chords. The percolating pulse of “Rippin’ Herb” shows how tight The Motet can be, as they play an intricate musical game of “follow the leader” through a winding funk maze, passing off the lead almost imperceptibly. Divinsky shows great comfort for such a short stint in the organization, as his leads on “Damn!” show. Showy use of echo laden vocals and doubling techniques that thicken his already impressive tone to a smooth pervasive presence that make the instrumental breaks a trip to an alternate dimension, sonically, within each original tune’s framework. Nothing has changed about The Motet’s love of instrumentals, and the wordless “Solar Plexus” keeps the overall cosmic groove feeling of Totem going with a touch of reggae thrown in for good measure in the forms of the majestic horn fills. Guitarist Ryan Jalbert continues to show impressive growth in his playing, with his ability to shift from slinky rhythm to full on rock star wail in an instant. The horn section of Gabe Mervine and Drew Sayers use their brass to take every song higher, adding layers of depth and reinforcing the beats and melodies with equal dexterity. Whether hanging back in a thick groove on tunes like “Danger” or getting jazz-y and expressive on songs like “Cloak And Dagger,” The Motet sounds like a finely tuned machine, ready to run perfectly in whatever gear is needed to get where they want to go.For the closing song, the instrumental “Contraband,” the choice is made to slowly take the foot off the accelerator, and to give listeners a cool down as they are slowly dispelled from the Utopian funk spell. Any worries about the future of The Motet should be instantly dispelled from the first notes of Totem. With the release of this united work and tour dates on the horizon to hone the new lineup into a true unit, it certainly looks like the best is yet to come from The Motet. But for now, Totem is a showcase for a funk band that is at the top of their game.
On Monday, in response to appeals from local and national advocates, the Trump administration extended Temporary Protective Status (TPS) by six months to Haitians living in the US.TPS is a special humanitarian program approved by the US Congress in 1990 to provide people fleeing countries experiencing civil war, natural disasters and other extraordinary circumstances with temporary legal immigration status to live and work in the US.While since 1990, TPS was granted by successive US presidents to a limited number of Haitians fleeing political upheaval, the privilege increased significantly following the devastating January 21, 2010 earthquake. Following the earthquake, President Obama extended TPS to Haitians fleeing the damaged country, and those already residing in the US under the program, for an 18-month period to July, 2011. With recovery from the earthquake proceeding agonizingly slow, compounded by a cholera epidemic, the status was renewed several times by the Obama administration.In August, 2016, the administration contemplated cancelling TPS for thousands of Haitians and began deportation proceedings. However, around that time Haiti was impacted by another natural disaster in Hurricane Matthew which brought more death and destruction to the country. As a result, the Obama administration cancelled deportation plans, but that administration’s latest TPS extension was due to expire on July 22.Although the Trump administration has extended TPS, six months is insufficient. Previous extensions by the Obama administration were for a minimum of eighteen months. The new extension is basically a notice for over 50,000 Haitians to leave the US in six months. In announcing the extension, Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly said it gives Haitians time “to attain travel documents and make other necessary arrangements for their ultimate departure from the United States,” and “provide the Haitian government with time it needs to prepare for the future repatriation of all current TPS recipients.”Indications from Haiti are deplorable conditions in the country from the 2010 earthquake, annual floods, Hurricane Matthew, the cholera epidemic, and frequent political instability, will not sufficiently improve by January, 2018.Although successive Haitian administrations since 2010 made progress in improving security and quality of life following the earthquake, Haiti continues to lack the adequate infrastructure, employment and educational opportunities and basic services to absorb the return of thousands of Haitians currently living in the US.Haiti needs more time to complete rebuilding of schools to strengthen the educational infrastructure; improving unemployment and wages from a situation where over seventy percent of the population, earn less than $2 daily, and improving the poverty level in rural areas where some eighty percent of the population live below poverty level; build resources to resist a re-occurrence of the cholera epidemic; continuing efforts to rebuild the nation’s residential, transportation, and agricultural infrastructure; and strengthen the nation’s security force to combat a threatening crime rate.This isn’t a situation conducive to deporting thousands of Haitians many of whom are also contributing to the Haitian economy through financial remittances to relatives still living in Haiti. It’s obvious Kelly isn’t sufficiently apprised of the current conditions in Haiti. On Monday, he also said limited TPS extension is justified since Haiti has “made progress across several fronts since the devastating earthquake in 2010… the Haitian economy continues to recover and grow.”Whatever growth that has taken place since 2010 is still insufficient to justify returning 58,000 people by January. Why not just make the extension to December 2018? This would give the Haitian government supported by US and others in the international community more time to implemental infrastructural and social service development. So, the efforts for further extension of TPS must continue stronger than before. It’s imperative that members of the Trump administration be provided empirical evidence of the prevailing conditions in Haiti and invited to Haiti to witness these conditions firsthand, in the attempt to obtain the additional extension.Extending TPS by six months is simply not enough.
Though there are jobs that are considered to be for men only, the current competition among workers is reducing that gap, and women are taking on many more demanding professions in the job market.Ms. Marion M. Teah, 43, has a career that is usually reserved for men in Liberia. She is a locomotive operator with China Union. It is a job that she enjoys, and hopes that with an increased salary from her employers, she would have less trouble taking care of the needs of her two daughters.“I operate the locomotive consisting of 25 wagons for each trip,” she told the Daily Observer in a recent interview. “Each trip I carry a total of about 63tons.”The train, moving from Monrovia to Bong Mines with Operator Marion in charge, also has a ‘breakman’ on board.“He helps to change the track for the train to change course during the journey,” she said, with a smile. “The train rumbles on at 40 miles per hour, and it takes me nearly two and half hours to reach my destination.”Her daughters are Marion Konneh, 25, presently a student at the Zion University, and Marionlyn Konneh, 20, who is about to enter college. They need financial support that can not necessarily be generated by their mother’s job to realize their dreams.Marion Konneh is studying Criminal Justice and hopes to help the country’s justice system; but her desires can only become reality if her mother earns enough.Operator Marion Teah’s husband died several years ago, leaving the care of her children squarely on her shoulders. She said the journey has not been easy.“I am an independent woman,” she told the Daily Observer, “and as such, I’m sometimes confronted with challenges that concern the education of my girls.”This is why she is appealing to good Liberians and companies to come to her aid. “I want my children to complete their education and I can only do it when I obtain the necessary financial support for them,” she said.Thankfully, she does not pay rent since she built a home for her family in Sinkor, Monrovia.Before arriving at her current job in 2012, she worked for Amlib Mineral United as a mechanic. She trained with Geo Services until the company was closed in 2011. She then went to Buchanan Renewables (BRE) and and on to ArcelorMittal.Marion Teah graduated from the Accelerated Vocational Training Center, located on 12th Street in Monrovia in 2002.“It’s tough being a single mother with two girls,” she admitted, “but they are my own and I must sacrifice for them.”She is always at home with the children, except when she is on the night shift. “I am not afraid when I am traveling at night, and I am always confident doing my job,” she said.Though the money from the job is not enough to keep her children at school, it does not mean that they are facing immediate problems.“In spite of my relative stability, some financial help from well meaning Liberians will be a blessing to my kids,” she appealed to readers.It is an appeal that would go a long way to communicate to her children the concept of Liberians being their brothers’ keeper.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
11 11 14. Javier Mascherano (central defence) 18. Jordi Alba (full back) 11. Neymar (forward) 8. Andres Iniesta (midfield) 11 10. Lionel Messi (forward) 6. Dani Alves (full back) 11 11 For a stream of Barcelona v Arsenal, listen to talkSPORT at 7.45pm (GMT) on Wednesday 16 March. Listen to it live here.Barcelona are without the suspended Gerard Pique against Arsenal at the Camp Nou, so who will manager Luis Enrique pick in defence as they defend their 2-0 lead?Jeremy Mathieu, Thomas Vermaelen and Marc Bartra are options, so have a look at talkSPORT’s possible line up and let us know if you would opt for a different look.Will Pique’s absence make a difference or will Barca still seal their place in the Champions League last eight?CLUBS WHO CAME CLOSEST TO DEFENDING THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUEVIDEO: 10 BEST PLAYERS TO PLAY FOR BARCELONA 9. Luis Suarez (forward) 11 11 4. Ivan Rakitic (midfield) 5. Sergio Busquets (midfield) 11 1. Marc-Andre ter Stegen (goalkeeper) – click the arrow above, right, to see the possible team v Arsenal in squad number order 11 11 11 24. Jeremy Mathieu (central defence)