Live Concert Photography: Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival at the Prospect Park Bandshell 7/26/19: Jidenna with Anik Khan
Although it’s gone through a number of different names throughout it’s 41 year history, the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival is one of the longest run, summer outdoor concert and performance series in New York. And from its first shows, the festival’s long-held mission has been to bring Brooklyn residents — and those who love and enjoy all things Brooklyn — together in a safe, harmonious setting to enjoy and celebrate the vibrant cultures that has made Brooklyn, one of the most most diverse places in the world; in fact, as the organizers have strongly emphasized, “We believe it is especially important to use artistic platforms to reaffirm the very basis of what Brooklyn and America is — a welcoming, supercollider of ideas and cultures, informing and enriching each other. ”
Unsurprisingly throughout is history as the host site of the festival, the Prospect Park Bandshell has hosted an eclectic list of established and emerging artists across a large and adventurous array of styles and genres, including Americana, African Diaspora music, world music, classical music, jazz, pop, alt-rock, indie rock, hip-hop, soul, R&B and a long list of others. And as a result, the bandshell has had an impressive array of artists play on its stage including, Dr. John, Maceo Parker, They Might Be Giants, The Neville Brothers, Talib Kweli, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Beck, Hugh Maskela, Joan Armatrading, Willie Nelson, Chaka Khan, Angelique Kidjo, Seun Kuti, Mavis Staples, Marco Benevento, Bilal, Lisa Loeb, Poliça, Cymbals Eat Guitars, Alice Smith, Brooklyn Raga Massive, The Soul Rebels, Orkesta Mendoza, Musiq Soulchild, Robert Randolph and The Family Band, Eric Krasno, Yossou N’Dour, Amadou and Mariam, Brandi Carlile, Ruthie Foster, the acclaimed Canadian jazz act BADBADNOTGOOD the up-and-coming Canadian singer/songwriter and JOVM mainstay Charlotte Day Wilson and recently, Afro-Cuban electro pop sibling duo and JOVM mainstays Ibeyi, and the iconic R&B and soul legend Patti LaBelle.
Last month, Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival hosted the Nigerian-American singer/songwriter, emcee and producer Jidenna and the Bangladeshi-American rapper Anik Khan. Check out photos from the show below.
Born Jidenna Theodore Mobisson, the mononymous Jidenna is Wisconsin Rapids, WI-born emcee, singer/songwriter and record producer, who spent a portion of his childhood in Imo State, Nigeria. When Mobisson was six, the family returned to States after a kidnapping attempt.
In 1995, the family moved to Norwood, MA before settling in Milton, MA in 2000. And while in high school, he co-founded Black Spadez, a hip-hop act in which he was responsible for production, arrangement and writing. His first recorded output was a final project at Milton Academy with his bandmates.
Although he was accepted at Harvard University, Jidenna chose to attend Stanford University, where he began studying sound engineering, before eventually switching his major to ritualistic arts. Upon earning his Bachelor’s of Arts degree, he began pursuing a solo career while working as a teacher, moving between Los Angeles, Oakland, Brooklyn and Atlanta before catching the attention of Janelle Monae, who signed him to her label, Wondaland Records.
Jidenna has collaborated with a number of his Wondaland Records labelmates, including Roman GianArthur, St. Beauty, Deep Cotton and Janelle Monae, eventually making an appearance on the label’s The Eephus EP. However, he didn’t release his debut single until 2015’s “Classic Man”. The track, which features labelmate Roman GianArthur amassed heavy radio airplay rotation, debuting at #49 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay Charts, before eventually garnering a Best Rap/Sung Collaboration Grammy Award nomination and a Best New Artist Award at that year’s Soul Train Music Awards.
Building upon a growing profile, Jidenna released his full-length debut 2017’s The Chief, an effort that paid homage to Boz Scaggs‘ Middle Man through its cover art. Since then, he’s been busy touring, as well as writing and recording his forthcoming (and highly-anticipated) sophomore album 85 to Africa, which will feature “Sufi Woman,” “Tribe” and the album’s latest single “Sou Sou,” which he announced at his headlining BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival set.
Anik Khan is a Dhaka, Bangladesh-born, New York-based emcee. Khan’s father, who was deeply involved in Bangladeshi politics and fought in the Bangladesh Liberation War relocated the family to New York in 1993, when Khan was four. Although the up-and-coming Bangladeshi-born, New York-based emcee spent much of his formative years in the five boroughs, the family moved to Leesburg, VA when he was a high schooler.
As a teen, Khan began spending his free time making beats on FL Studio — but as he later said of that time, he felt as though he were going through a severe identity crisis, being away from the culture he grew up in. After completing high school, Khan attended Full Sail University, where he studied recording arts engineering — and while there, he would frequently return to New York to record music. During that same time, Khan’s father and sister returned to New York while his mother remained in Virginia.
Later Khan attended Full Sail University, where he studied recording arts engineering — and while in school, he would routinely return to New York to record some of his earliest music. During that time, Khan’s father and sister also returned to New York while his mother remained in Virginia. Upon graduation, Khan split his time between Virginia and New York before the entire family reunited in Lefrak City. While living in Queens, Khan attended a number of day parties, where he encountered many West Indian people — and that experience wound up influencing much of his music.
With Fadia Kader, Def Jam‘s director of brand partnerships and strategic marketing as his manager, Khan recorded an album and was on close to finalizing a record deal; however, he didn’t release anything under his own name until his debut EP, 2015’s I Don’t Know Yet, which featured “Shadows” and “The Knowing.” The following year, Khan released two singles, the Jarreau Vandal-produced “Too Late Now” and “Renegade,” which caught the attention of Beats 1‘s Ebro Darden. And as a result of the growing buzz surrounding him, Khan began doing the college tour circuit.
2017 saw the release of Khan’s full-length debut Kites, an album that thematically was “less about the immigrant story” and more about himself, “a young guy, who’s chasing his dream in his late 20s.” Sonically, the album pulled from a number of different sources from all over the world — most notably South Asian, including West Indian drums, “Jiya Jale” off the soundtrack from A.R. Rahman’s Dil Se, Craig David‘s “Fill Me In,” Bengali poetry and more.