Note: This is the final blog about a concert I attended in 2012.
There are good reasons why Fatin Dantzler and Aja Graydon – better known as Kindred The Family Soul – have been married for 14 years and produced six kids. All you have to do is listen to any of their four albums to discover the answer.
While Aja was reared in Washington, D.C., the couple now calls Philadelphia home. The duo’s first album – Surrender To Love – was released in 2003 during what some have dubbed the “neo-soul” movement. Their first single, Far Away is about a desire to take a break because they are tired of “broken street glass, not getting no ass unless the baby’s sleep. . . . tired of paying taxes, sending e-mails and faxes. Tired of crooked cops, tired of black folk complaining that crime don’t stop!” while Stars could easily be a first dance song at any wedding.
Almost ten years later, they remain an anomaly in the music business – a married couple that writes, sings and performs songs about real life and love situations. You’d be hard pressed to name another.
Their most recent release, Love Has No Recession, contains some fabulous cuts including Magic Happen and Sticking With You.
Seeing them again in November (I previously saw them in August during the Vail Soul Music Festival) at Yoshi’s in San Francisco, I was reminded yet again that I was witnessing bona fide real love.
You know how you observe a couple and can tell they have genuine feelings and affection for each other? Well, Kindred definitely possesses that energy. Fatin looks at Aja like President Barack Obama looks at First Lady Michelle when she’s talking. There’s a sense of pride and admiration that radiates from each couple, and it come across as authentic – not fake or forced.
During each song performance, it occurred to me that they really enjoy their music. This is not something they do just to pay the bills; both were very much into the lyrics and the meaning of each song.
And it’s obvious they are in tune and in sync with each other.
After The Sheddington and Alright Aja exclaimed, “We came out of the jam session days.” And jam we did for the rest of the night to Where Would I Be (The Question), Woman First (which happens to be my second favorite Kindred song behind Stars) and songs by The Commodores and Earth, Wind & Fire.
“Ladies,” Aja said after finishing Woman First, “you were somebody before you became the sum of your responsibilities.”
Besides being fantastic vocalists, these two could perform a standup comedy routine if they ever tire of music. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed as hard as I did during a concert, especially when Aja said, “Everything is a coochie coupon,” and Fatin countered with, “Just take one more sip.” (For those who don’t know, it’s a line from Martin Lawrence’s standup comedy routine You So Crazy. It’s also a line my friends and I say all the time.)
The evening ended when Kindred asked for vocalists in the house to come on stage and sing William DeVaughn’s Be Thankful for What You’ve Got. Now, Aja was very clear about being able to sing; apparently some didn’t hear her (or didn’t care) because they would have been booed off the stage if we were at the Apollo in New York. There were, however, a few who could blow.
While Super Storm Sandy prevented Kindred from bringing Love Has No Recession to sell, they did stay and talk with the audience after the show. Both were gracious while taking photos, and they truly listened to each person’s story. Now that’s how you treat fans.
Randomness: At the end of Rhythm of Love, Fatin busted out with, “It’s time for the percolator. It’s time for the percolator,” which flashed me back to my freshman year of college. That song was on constant play whenever I went to the club. Hilarious!
Setlist: The Sheddington; Alright; Magic Happen; Where Would I Be (The Question); Rhythm of Love; Stars; Sticking With You; Woman First; You Got Love; and Far Away