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Introducing: Jokatech

posted January 21, 2016, 9:29 pm by Carlita | Filed Under Introducing | comment Leave a Comment


IMG_6917 There’s no doubt being born and raised in The Bronx and its Westchester suburb Mount Vernon in a blended British and Ghanaian household during the 80’s and 90’s shaped Jokatech aka Jason K. Addae, the artist and the man. Reared in these East Coast music meccas provided invaluable exposure to the diverse styles of music (i.e. golden era hip-hop, classical, club music, Broadway musicals) and this metropolitan upbringing definitely left its mark. Early on, musical education played a critical role in his life as crucial individuals along the way molded and guided the young visionary. Jokatech fondly remembers his first piano teacher and recital at the tender age of seven, which led to him to write his first song at eight. Appreciating his music teacher’s strict demeanor, he stated “she was stern but I always cherished the gift she gave me. Teachers especially those of the arts were super heroes to me.” Reminiscing about another educator who significantly impacted him, he recalls: “My favorite teacher in school was so passionate about listening to the every “how” and “why” of a literary piece, or musical composition, and I remember how his discussions would open whole new worlds to works of art we looked at. He inspired me to take my ideas and writings, and do more with them. He really loved art, and his son was a good author. The course he taught was called Great Works. The series, “Magnum Opus” translates to that phrase, and was a huge part of its inspiration. If it weren’t for him, most of my work probably wouldn’t exist. It’s like you could say, we wrote it together. That’s why I dedicated it to him.”

Moving into his teen years, unfortunately opportunities to remain in the school orchestra and band were taken away but it fueled a different fire. He recalls from “12 to 17, I had to keep it (the passion for music) alive myself.” This formative period propelled Jokatech’s future path forward and encouraged his desire to teach, promote music and remain immersed in the arts, eventually spending time studying and further building his musical foundation at the esteemed Berklee College of Music in Boston. In terms of his other artistic influences, when asked the random question of which five albums Jokatech would take with him on a deserted island, he selected a myriad of diverse genres. His picks included spectrum-ranging “Coin Coin” by Matana Roberts, “Feels So Good” by Chuck Mangione, “Morning Dance” by Spyro Gyra, “The Black Album” by Jay-Z and “Make Yourself” by Incubus. Pondering dream collaborations, he would have loved to connect with the beloved and recently deceased no holds-barred visual and music artist David Bowie as Jokatech is inspired by “creating transcendent sounds and music, and by artists who feel the same.”

When hypothetically considering which decade he’d like to transport himself to create music, he’d choose the turbulent and classic 1970’s. He further explains “It was a transitional period for not only jazz, but popular music, and rock. I would love to make music then, not because of what was out, but because of how open the ears were back then. At that time, the feedback you would get was so in-depth and insightful, that it inspired even greater music, because the fans were like artists themselves. Listening is an art in itself, and it’s somewhat lost today.” Fast forward to his current discography and the aforementioned ‘Magnum Opus’ trilogy (comprised of “Magnum Opus Res Ipsa Disc 1 and 2” and “Magnum Opus Book 3: Coming of Age”) which gives your ears and mind plenty as they amalgamate metaphor-filled rhymes, experimental jazz fusion, electronic music and spoken word into an existential whirlwind exploring life’s obstacles. Rife with mentions of his love of sparring and pugilism (who’s mother says he was born “with his hands in a fist”) and lingering trumpet riffs through each project, Jokatech carves a unique lane unto himself. The “ink in him” drops knowledge.

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