Today marks the 21st Anniversary of my coming to the Bay from Brooklyn, NY. I’ll never forget not being able to sleep in that Saratoga condo because it was too quiet. There were no sirens, there was no yelling, no dancehall, salsa or hip-hop beats to transport me gently into Bushwick dreams. I simply didn’t fit in, and I was terribly uncomfortable. A few weeks later I searched the classifieds and cruised South Bay neighborhoods, like I was on a pre-Craigslist era safari, seeking graffiti and brown people. It turned out I was just north of downtown San Jose, and it was a little noisier and gritter and it kept me sane for a few years. I am grateful for my 10BASS T days, and I give thanks to Slim Daddy Milo and my fellow producer and collaborator, may he rest in peace, Lou Anthony Guevara “Selector G”. Most of all I am eternally grateful to Steve Balbo for being an amazing friend during my years in the South Bay.
Then I discovered THE Town. Oakland. My mini Brooklyn, well sorta… I felt I had come home and was blessed to be able to collaborate with so many amazing artists over the years. I am tempted to start naming names, but the list is sooo long so I will only single out Don Washington, who helped build the CASAMENA Studio in Oakland where so many magical sessions happened. Oakland gave me my voice, and nurtured my work, so thank you Open mic curators and collaborators! Oakland saw me embrace my spirituality, and encouraged my leap into the arms of Orisha. Maferefun Elegba & Ogun. Oakland saw me at my best and at my worst, and most recently Oakland has seen me become a father. I am not the same man that arrived in the Bay Area 21 years ago.
Over the last 6 years, the world of dance music has embraced me in a way I never expected. I am grateful for the opportunity I continue to have, and the trust you have placed in me, as I nurture and present new talent to you. Although I feel I’ve gotten away from fully expressing myself as an artist, I am humbled by the recognition and success, and I am truly thankful.
At the risk of sounding corny, if it isn’t too late for that concern, I think it is appropriate that my 21st anniversary brings me to this difficult decision. In this coming of age of sorts, I am choosing to seek inspiration on the East cost and will be leaving the Bay Area in the coming weeks with my family. I will miss my friends but I hope you understand my need for a shift in energy so that I can return to creating and expressing myself fully. I hope you will welcome me back with open arms as I plan to return and visit from time to time. In closing, I want to say Thank you to all my supporters and friends. I will miss you. Ashe.
P.S. The final Yoruba Dance Sessions in the Bay Area is this Thursday,October 28th.