Day 27/366 days of writing and publishing pieces in 2024.
I have a deep affinity for funk and disco music. Sometimes I wonder if I might have been in my 20s in 1974 and part of the scene. Perhaps I died and had a quick reincarnation, being born in 1975. Because the way I vibe with those genres doesn't really make sense.
My parents did not listen to those genres, and although my older brother and sister did a little bit, it wasn't in the same way I resonate with them. So, I have this incredible love affair with that kind of music. Kool and The Gang is my favorite band. Behind them, I absolutely love Earth, Wind, and Fire, The Ohio Players, KC and The Sunshine Band, Funkadelic, The Commodores, and the list goes on and on. I've had the pleasure of seeing several of those bands live.
When I went to the Earth, Wind, and Fire concert, I went with two friends, and each of us created a costume. I chose to be wind. There are photos out there in the world of me in that costume. It was white and silver, and I put a lot of hairspray in my hair. When I went to see Kool and The Gang, I wore my disco helmet that a friend made for me. I swear, if I could wear it 365 days a year, I would. When I went to see Funkadelic for the second time, I also wore it, and they pulled me on stage. That was a wild night.
Funk music feels like it runs through my DNA. It does something to me. One of my best friends in the world is a DJ. He mostly spins obscure acid house, but years ago, he made this funk mix called "Funk You."
I still own the CD, and after he gave it to me, I went for a drive with one of my girlfriends at the time when we lived in Hawaii to break it in and listen to it. When track 5 came on, (I have shazamed it a million times and don’t know what it is. I have to get the track listing) I got into a minor car accident because I was so excited. No one was hurt, but I just turned down the wrong side of a road and had to jump the median to get on the right side. I was completely sober, but it was the funkiness of the song that caused it. After that incident, I earned the name Jen Danger Lancaster. I have to be careful driving if I'm listening to funk because I get too excited.
Last year, I made a playlist on Spotify inspired by some of the songs on an old CD I had called "Funk Essentials." You can listen to it here. The last song on the playlist was inspired by listening to the book "The Beautiful Ones" about Prince's life on Audible. He referred to the song "Skin Tight" by the Ohio Players in the book. I had pages of notes after listening to that book, with quotes by Prince. One of my favorite quotes was this: "Funk is the opposite of magic. Funk is about rules. Funk is impulse with structure." - Prince. After listening to that book on Audible, I went down a deep rabbit hole and started listening to even more funk than before. Several paintings came out of that deep dive.
The first one was inspired by listening to Kool and The Gang's album "Emergency" on repeat while I painted it. I normally have painted backgrounds on hand and pick one that fits my mood when starting a project. For this painting, I knew I wanted something red because of the album title, so I grabbed a red background and started painting the next layer to that song. The three hot air balloons started as flames, but when I turned the canvas upside down, they resembled hot air balloons, so I went with it. I love not having a plan and just painting what I hear. The lyrics to the first song on that album totally inspired this piece.
This lets me connect to an earlier time in my life when I was a figure skater. My favorite category to compete in as a skater growing up was interpretive skating. That's not offered in events like the Olympics, but I wish it were. In interpretive skating, the group of skaters goes out on the ice not knowing what music is going to be played. They get to hear it three times during warm-up. Then, they come off the ice, and each skater gets to hear the song one more time. They stand with their backs to the rink as the skater before them makes up a routine on the ice. They don't allow you to watch anyone before you so you don't steal ideas. You just get to hear the music one more time, and then it's improv when you get on the ice. I was really good at this. So, I like to put music on and not have a plan and just go with it on the canvas. Funk music is one of those genres that takes me to some wild places. It's fun. You just can't be in a bad mood listening to funk. It's kind of not possible. I think that's why I love it so much.
Another time, I was painting to Parliament, and this Stoplight painting came out as I was listening to "Flashlight."
But one of my favorite paintings that unfolded as I just let Spotify continue to match music styles to my playlist was this one. I called it "That Funk Music" because I literally just painted what I heard, and I couldn't replicate it if I tried.
Last night I was looking at the painting and thought to myself….this needs a poem. And I started jotting ideas down right into my notes app in my phone. Hilarious coincidence that one of my friends knows me so well that she sent me this meme today not knowing I wrote a poem last night.
And so the poem goes like this. It’s totally how I feel about funk music.
That Funk Music
That funk music, it hits the soul,
A rhythm that makes the body whole.
That funk music, it grooves so right,
A genre that makes me stay out all night.
That funk music, it's got a vibe,
A sound that makes you come alive.
That funk music, it's all about the groove,
A beat that makes you want to move.
That funk music, it's funky and fresh,
It sometimes makes you show more flesh.
That funk music, it's a funky sensation,
A genre that defies categorization.
That funk music, it's got the bass,
A thumping rhythm that sets the pace.
That funk music, it's got the horns,
A brass section that's never been torn.
That funk music, it makes you get down,
Sounds so good you’ll hit the ground.
That funk music, it's got the soul,
A feeling that makes you lose control.
That funk music, it's timeless and true,
A genre that will always continue.
That funk music, it's here to stay,
A legacy that will never fade away.
So let's dance to that funk music beat,
And let our bodies move to the heat.
Let's embrace the rhythm and the sound,
And let that funky music take us around.
That funk music, it's a celebration,
A genre that brings pure elation.
That funk music, it's a state of mind,
A feeling that leaves all worries behind.
So let's keep grooving to that funky sound,
And let the spirit of funk always be found.
For in that funk music, we find our bliss,
A world where the rhythm and soul coexist.
About the Creator
Life Coach, Personal Trainer, Artist, Writer. Formerly in restaurant business for 3 decades. Soul expression is my ❤️ language. Spirituality,music, art, food and creativity fuel my life. IG @jenergy17
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