Bang Bang

Bruno Mars photo - James MooneyBeng Beng Beng.

I am now old enough to have enjoyed various decades of what I consider soul music. I had not heard Femi Kuti‘s “Beng Beng Beng” in quite a few years, and when I first heard it, I had not the experience to grasp its full essence (late bloomer, LOL) even as the lyrics and tumbling percussion painted vividly across my mind’s canvas. It’s tame compared to a lot of what’s out there today, but in 1999 it was banned in Nigeria.


Zoom Zoom.

It’s today, and I have heard and re-heard Bruno Mars’ “Gorilla” at an age where I finally know what it’s all about. Stunningly primal and more explicit to my ears, but delivered in the same ingenious way:  the vibe is conveyed via  rhythm and voice (and Mars is a veritable acrobat). As with Femi’s tune, I realize that it’s “not for everyone,” but it sure speaks to ME.

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