Featured Artist May 24, 2017
Saying “Hello” again to Marcus Wilkerson
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Young soul, eclectic, enterprising, engaging, humble, old soul, avant garde, dreadlocks, teacher, soulful, American, African, capitalist, freedom to all peoples: there are just so many ways to describe Marcus Wilkerson, salesman of the probiotic honey soda, Jun-Bug (‘pronounced ‘Joon,’), the ancient relative of Kombucha”, and fantastically original and ecstatic composer of music who has “soon to be famous” written all over him. A native of Louisville, Kentucky, Wilkerson studied Music Education and Performance at the University of Kentucky and now considers Lexington his “spiritual home.” Besides a primal methodology which advocates using only hands to drum (that instrument, Wilkerson exclaims, of “no confusion”), he is a guitar-playing composer of heart-pounding music who “mixes American roots music” of the “Civil Rights (and peace) movement” with “rhythms of traditional African and Afro-Latin music.” Wilkerson in fact finds music, at its roots, as an internally coursing (and universally shared) “bio-rhythmic expression.” As he says (in his humble and craft-intensive–though confident-manner) he “perform[s] music . . . that marks the development of human consciousness.” At the University of Kentucky, he studied how “music effect[s] social change” and in what ways music “affect[s] . . . world view[s]” as he concentrated on “eras of days past . . . from West African traditional to Bomboulas of Congo Square;” from the music of “New Orleans” to “field hollers and ballads minstrels.” Wilkerson now performs as a solo, guitar playing composer. His music is both sophisticated and primal, both heart-wrenching and aesthetically mesmerizing. His high-pitched wailing is, at first, striking and original. As Wilkerson continues on, his wailing becomes vocally astounding.
Wilkerson moved from Louisville to Lexington in 1997. Originally, he learned singing in Louisville alongside his “parents and grandmother” in “church.” He was actually vastly intrigued, Wilkerson says, by “the imagery on” the church “ceiling and walls.” Fast forward to the present, after years of scrupulous study at the University of Kentucky and canvassing various musical hubs and formats, Marcus is now an incredible “singer-songwriter . . . , artist, and educator.” He has performed in a band (“Tribe”); performed his music in solo performance (in 2012) at “Kentucky On Stage” for the Kentucky Arts Council; produced a solo album in 2013; has been and remains the owner and proprietor of Jun-Bug probiotic honey soda and various teas; studied and presented “African and Afro-Latin instruments and their history” for “fifteen years” (for example, promoting the South American and Cuban “Kottayam,” instrumment as well as the Malian “gym bay” drum); produced a U-tube video on how to make a relatively cheap and viable “Congo drum;” has written “the hook” (“what I’ve heard, I’ve heard enough words, and no one speaks . . . ,” etc.) and performed in collaboration with Sheisty Krist to create the provocative 2013 rap standard “Knob Creek” (featured on U-tube) in which Wilkerson appears; worked briefly as a chef and produced a video on “how to make garlic paste;” performed and taught about historic African music as well as historic Civil Rights music; performed at various centers and venues in Lexington (as well as other places); and, as well, participated in various cultural and societal events as a promoter of social enlightenment and cooperation. He now keenly recognizes the creation of music as a personally “intrinsic” process (as individual as personal styles of “walking” and “talking”). Wilkerson sees music and song “as the earliest and most finite” manner in which “to communicate;” and he sees speaking and performing “in rhythm” as “being his essential self.”
That speaking and performing, when it comes to the person of Marcus Wilkerson, is, nonetheless, quite honed and quite – well – spectacular. Though he talks a good game of music being a universal medium through which individuals express their uniqueness (and perhaps it is), measured against others who emulate (and sometimes even expand on) various musical motifs and genres, Wilkerson is indeed refreshingly unique and eclectic. He is, as such, a one-man virtuoso tour de force! His guitar style, like his roaming lyrical mutablilities, Wilkerson describes as “rough and rhythmic at one moment” and “light and languid” in the next. Such as Wilkerson is as he begins to present his “intrinsic” nature – shapeshifting and evolving on stage like the God-given (not to mention, learned) musical magician he has both come to be and simply is. He is a humble artist and is as much a pleasure to be around as he is to watch perform. Enjoy his visit with us here at the Sound of Lexington. And be sure to catch him out and about Lexington when (and while) you still can. Look for him in the paper. He is unlike quiet unlike anyone you will see and / or hear otherwise. And he is going places, fortunately streaking like a famous meteor across our local horizon.
Make sure and to watch and listen to the video interview with Marcus and Billy Crank as well as Marcus playing two of his great songs for us on Barefoot KY TV! See the link below:
More pictures to be posted soon!