VIDEO: HAGL Receives the 2018 American Book Award for Oral Literature

The fertile, imaginative, sensuous unity of poetry and music
embodied by Heroes Are Gang Leaders harvest’s the great traditions
of Afro-American culture. From the bountiful gardens of past
masters to the most innovative and exciting contemporary writers,
HAGL has opened new horizons for audiences internationally,
gathering the forces of rhythm and sound. Drawing from the
resources of often hidden and suppressed histories, HAGL
resuscitates and revives images of our world that are colorful, vibrant,
and spiritual. Fearless, adventurous, and without compromise,
HAGL has evolved new trajectories for artists of the future to
explore. If as James Blood Ulmer has said, “Jazz is the teacher, and
funk is the preacher,” then HAGL is the divinity school offering a
new theology of spirit into matter. The cross-pollination of poetry
and music find their magical, ritual significance in the art of HAGL, a
boundless, joyful rediscovery of our souls. Weaving a vision at once
unique and uncannily familiar, HAGL has found purpose in
animating both the shadows and the light of our 21st century.
Collected on the albums The Avant-Age Garde I AMs of the Gal
Luxury, Highest Engines Near/Near Higher Engineers, and most
recently Flukum, the recordings of HAGL betray a profoundly
propulsive, forward-leaning momentum. Shattering expectations and
succeeding to the wildest dreams, HAGL has perfected the
mysterious genre of Jazz Poetry with love, care, gentleness, and

Before Columbus Foundation is proud to honor Heroes Are Gang
Leaders with our first ever American Book Award for Oral

The recipients are Thomas Sayers Ellis / bandleader, poet, small
percussions, co-founder, James Brandon Lewis / tenor saxophone,
co-founder, Margaret Morris / voice, vocals, Luke Stewart / bass,
Randall Horton / poet, Heru Shabaka-ra / trumpet, Janice Lowe /
keyboards, vocals, Devin Brahja Waldman / synthesizer, alto
saxophone, Crystal Good / poet, No Land / vocals, Brandon Moses
/ guitar, Warren “Trae” Crudup / drums, Ambrose Bye / Engineer

Justin Desmangles

Visit Before Columbus Foundation, American Book Award for more info


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