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Sammus, Pinkwash and more will play benefit gig for MLC at Everybody Hits

Sammus | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

Music might be the healing force of the universe, as Albert Ayler famously proclaimed, but it’s also just an excellent way of getting people together. That’s the idea behind Friday’s benefit show for the Mass Liberation Campaign at Everybody Hits with Sammus, Pinkwash, Soul Glo, and Likes.

The MLC is part of Reclaim Philly, a grassroots organization that, “endorses and supports progressive candidates and policies that fight for a vision of putting working people before the profits of corporations and the super rich,” according to their website. Specifically this campaign is aimed at reducing the number of people affected by mass incarceration. Continue reading →

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Two to Tango: Mirah and Sammus

Mirah, Sammus
Mirah | photo by Shervin Lainez | courtesy of the artist // Sammus | photo by Zooloo Brown | courtesy of the artist

Brooklyn-based (but Philadelphia born) Mirah Yom Tov Zeitlyn would seem radically different from the Ithaca-raised, Philadelphia-based SAMMUS (Enongo Lumumba-Kasongo) at first, with one playing askew folk pop and the other hip hop. Yet, both women keep their musical and melodic processes raw, and both lyricist/vocalist/rappers are emotive, clever and cutting in a fashion that you may not recognize until after the song or the set is over. The subtle glories of Mirah and SAMMUS sneak up you – as you shall find when the make a tour stop at Johnny Brenda’s tonight.

This interview was conducted late this week, via email, and sadly SAMMUS fell off the email chain, but I think the essence of the “tango” is still shared between these two women. Continue reading →

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Screaming Females enlists Sammus and Moor Mother for “End of My Bloodline” remix

Screaming Females | photo by Rachel Barrish for WXPN | Sammus | photo by John Vettese for WXPN | Moor Mother | photo by John Vettese for WXPN
Screaming Females | photo by Rachel Barrish for WXPN | Sammus | photo by John Vettese for WXPN | Moor Mother | photo by John Vettese for WXPN

It hasn’t been long since Screaming Females released their new record, All At Once, and it’s been an even shorter time since they tore up Union Transfer in support of it. Still, if you’ve been longing for more Screamales in your life lately, then the band’s latest news should do the trick. Thanks to a collaboration with Philly experimental artist Moor Mother and rapper Sammus — both labelmates on Don Giovanni Records — one of the tracks off All At Once now has a totally different sound. Continue reading →

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Sammus is crowdfunding a documentary about her life and music

Sammus | from the “Qualified” music video

To say that local indie rapper Sammus is inspiring doesn’t begin to do her justice. In between making and producing music, touring, and pursuing a Ph.D., Enongo Lumumba-Kasongo, the artist behind Sammus, is working on making a documentary to share her stories and experiences.

Called Enongo, the finished product will be a feature-length documentary about Sammus’ life and music. The project is still in its beginning stages, and Sammus is running a crowdfunding campaign to make sure her story gets to be heard (as she points out on the Indegogo page, making a film is very expensive and a TON of work).

Sammus has faced a bit of bad luck lately that makes gathering support for the documentary all the more necessary. Continue reading →

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Folkadelphia Sessions V shows folk’s many faces with Julie Byrne, Sammus, Harmony Woods, and more

Julie Byrne | photo by Rachel Del Sordo

Though the inherent weary restlessness of folk music can never truly be contained, local folk organization, Folkadelphia, has a home here at WXPN on the air and at The Key through Fred Knittel’s studio sessions. This past year hosted a particularly gem-filled handful of folk discoveries, which is documented in the fifth installment of the Folkadelphia Sessions compilation featured below. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Sammus at Philadelphia Museum of Art, Hezekiah Jones at Underground Arts, Beach Fossils at The Church, and more

Sammus | from the “Qualified” music video

Enongo Lumumba-Kasongo wowed us as the unapologetically herself beat-maker / spoken-word-style lyricist Sammus, at her recent Folk_KEY-delphia Studio Session. Tonight, she’ll no doubt do the same at the Philadelphia Museum of Art for tonight’s Afrofuturist Affair Costume Ball, which is organized by Black Quantum Futurism and presented as part of Philadelphia Assembled. The night will also feature performances by Moor MotherKing Britt / Fhloston ParadigmMovaKween, and :3LON; along with tarot card reading, body paintings, mask making, a fashion show, and a ton more. Find additional info on the free event here, and watch the Alanis Morissette inspired video for “Mighty Morphing” below. Continue reading →

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Download The Key Studio Sessions Volume 20 (featuring Palm, Sammus, Sorority Noise, Slaughter Beach, Dog and more)

The Key Studio Sessions Volume 20 | cover photo by Rachel Del Sordo

Just in time for your Labor Day weekend rotation, we present you with 16 standout artists from all corners of the Philadelphia music community, performing live at WXPN Studios and recorded for The Key Studio Sessions.

In this, the 20th edition of our regular scene-surveying compilations, we hear veterans — the breezy psychedelic pop of Circadian Rhythms, the pensive and Pink Floydian neuroses of Queen Jesus — and we meet relative newcomers — like atmospheric emo four-piece Small Circle and driving riff rockers Honeytiger. As always, there’s stylistic variety: rapper Ivy Sole lowkey rocks the mic and experimental instrumentalists Palm get weird with interlocking licks and askew rhythms; Katie Frank brings some heartland-y country torch and twang and Ellen Siberian Tiger dials up the studied musical theatrics.

We teamed up with the folks at Folkadelphia to co-present sessions with SΔMMUS and Harmony Woods, captured a beautiful solo electric performance by Sorority Noise‘s Cameron Boucher, mellowed out to windswept Bossa Nova-flavored jazz by Ensemble Novo, and cheered Jake Ewald on as Slaughter Beach, Dog jammed on “104 Degrees” for a roaring six minutes. And, as always, there’s more still, in great performances from basement show staples coping skills and ominous electronic soundscaper Harrowgrove. Continue reading →

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Watch Sammus perform “Mighty Morphin'” and “1080p” for Folkadelphia and The Key Studio Sessions

Photo by John Vettese

Earlier this summer, Enongo Lumumba-Kasongo — known to underground rap fans as SΔMMUS — wrapped up her grad school studies at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and relocated to West Philly, setting up a new base for her multi-pronged career as an artist, activist and educator.

SΔMMUS has been cultivating a following in the Bandcamp universe for several years now, going back to 2010’s Fly Nerd EP. Her 2016 full-length project, Pieces in Space, was picked up by the venerable New Jersey indie label Don Giovanni Records, where it caught the ears of Folkadelphia host Fred Knittel, who then passed it along to me.
Continue reading →

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Folkadelphia Session: Sammus

At its most basic, the website Bandcamp is a publishing platform for artists, another site to share work. But in this age of micropayments-per-play on the streaming service juggernauts like Spotify, YouTube, and Apple Music, with either a shield around those tech companies’ editorial and curatorial staff, or curation via computer algorithms and trends (lame!), it’s tough to be a self-sustaining musician on the web. Bandcamp offers a different experience for both creator and fan. The platform has evolved into a streaming service, merch store, social site, expertly selected radio station, a zine, and beyond. Best of all, the artist has much more freedom and control over their presence on the site. In many instances, Bandcamp has created the opportunity for niche, independent, and DIY musicians to find their people, their fans, and truly connect. We at Folkadelphia have had success using Bandcamp as our in-studio session archive. Now Philadelphian, former Ithacan producer and rapper Sammus also connected to a huge and hugely supportive community on the site, which is where we first discovered her music.
Continue reading →

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Watch Sammus’ contemplative new music video for “Qualified”

Sammus | from the “Qualified” music video

Enongo Lumumba-Kasongo is Sammus, and she’s pretty much the coolest, newest talent to hit Philadelphia this summer. Lumumba-Kasongo recently moved from Ithaca, NY to West Philly after completing her PhD at Cornell University (where she also completed her undergraduate degree) in Science and Computer Studies; her brother is Disashi of Gym Class Heroes, she previously taught youth through Teach for America, and in this part of her life she is a rapper and record producer known as Sammus. Basically, she is the mythical role model for whom we’ve been looking far too long. Continue reading →