Tag Archives: Edem Soul Music

Heart and Soul

May 19, 2018 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Edem K. Garro has a penchant for spontaneous musical combustion—meaning that it’s quite common for her to break into song mid-sentence. Like a chemical reaction right before your eyes, elements of passion, sheer musical talent, and miscellaneous magical mystery ingredients move Garro to express herself musically.

Garro says a love of music has always been within her and she’s been breaking into song her whole life. As a child, she religiously tuned in for Showtime at the Apollo—where the talented are cheered on and the talent-challenged are booed offstage—determined to become “undeniably good.” Her innate musical knack and her mother’s “brutally honest” guidance steered her toward that goal. Much like the ethos of the Apollo, Garro believes that “both negativity and positivity help mold and shape us into the Davids or the Mona Lisas we really are.”

“I would sing and my mother would say, ‘Why are you always singing somebody’s else’s song? Why not sing your own song? You’re just as good.’ So I started writing my own music,” Garro says. “Her constructive criticism helped shape me into who I am today. Even though at the time I just wanted to enjoy my TV show, she instilled this sense that I could be great if I worked at it. That you can do anything with practice and passion.”

Garro, who typically performs as Edem Soul Music, is a composer, vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, motivational speaker, and “a musician at heart.” Similar to her diverse pursuits, Garro’s musical style is a delicious gumbo of genres including world, soul, R&B, folk, and more—bordered only by what moves her soul and the souls of her listeners. Her musical mission, after all, is “to revive music, and to bring it back to the loving arms of the people who long for it.”

“When people think of soul music they think of the Temptations, Motown Records, James Brown, but soul has no genre. Soul is something that comes from an indescribable, immeasurable place and it reaches everyone—no matter what language or belief, it reaches everyone—that is true soul music,” Garro says. “My genres are all over the place, but I am soul music in every essence of the word. I produce music and words from my soul and I can’t do anything else.”

Garro, a 26-year-old Maryland native who’s lived in Omaha since age 11, when her father died and her mother relocated the family, says her work as a motivational speaker is an extension of her music.   

“Everything I do, from songwriting to speaking, focuses on bringing awareness to identity,” Garro says. “I’m a first-generation American and my whole family comes from Ghana, West Africa. My culture teaches that it’s important to know where you come from, because once you understand where you come from, you’ll know why you are where you are, and then once you know that, you can better figure out where you’re going. With that comes a sense of power and certainty that no one can take from you. Finding out your identity, staying true to it, and loving yourself, is the best way to navigate this life and ensure some form of growth. That’s my message.”

Although it’s a shame to box it in, Garro’s music is most easily defined as world music because she sings in English and Ga, a language spoken in and around Ghana’s capital of Accra. She also sings in what she calls “no language.”   

“I mostly sing in Ga and English, sometimes both. But when I sing in no language, it’s just pure, raw, emotion and intent,” Garro says. “I find it beautiful because you and I are on the same page regardless of language. Music crosses all barriers and you don’t have to understand the language to find it beautiful. It promotes a different kind of thought and understanding.”

Edem Soul Music consists of a wide array of styles and production. Garro sings and plays the ukulele, harp, piano, guitar, djembe, violin, and alto saxophone. As a multi-instrumentalist, she is largely self-taught. Often, she plays with flutist/percussionist Jason Horacek and support vocalists/dancers Brittney Thompson and LaTryce McAnderson.

Garro had a banner year in 2017. She was a fellow in The Union for Contemporary Art’s inaugural cohort where she created her emotive Sounds of 24th St. project, incorporating the 24th and Lake soundscape into her music. She also earned Omaha Creative Institute’s Omaha Gives Back Grant, which birthed her three-act project African Body, Soul, & Movement, a musical exploration of generations affected by the African slave trade through African drumming, singing, and dancing. Garro kept the momentum and mojo flowing, winning her first Omaha Entertainment and Arts Award for Best Soul in February 2018.     

“In 2017 I started to feel like the community that wants to support and advocate for artists was really coming together,” Garro says. “My [Union] residency allowed for my growth as an artist and an individual—to define who I really want to be and how I want to serve this community. It was a road to self-discovery.”

Garro embraces Omaha’s influence on her identity. She muses that had her father not passed and her mother not subsequently been called to move the family to Omaha, Garro may never have met her husband or “come to know music the way I have.”

“I’ve grown a lot here and become who I’m meant to be,” Garro says. “I always say that one person’s ripple in the ocean can create a tsunami on the other side of the world. We have each others’ destinies wrapped around our hands. Who I am is understanding that, being mindful of my words and actions, and trying to help others be mindful as well.”


Visit edemsoulmusic.com to learn more about Edem.

This article appears in the January/February 2018 edition of The Encounter.

Kids, Cats, and Country Music—It’s a Playful Weekend

April 26, 2018 by

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Pick of the (next) Week—Monday, April 30: Keep the weekend going by attending the May/June Magazine Launch Party for Omaha/Encounter magazines at the Joslyn Art Museum from 5-7 p.m. next Monday evening. This free event includes admission to Ed Ruscha’s exhibition Word/Play: Prints, Photographs, and Paintings (normally $10) and brief performances by Edem Soul Music and Miwi La Lupa, both featured in the magazines. Pick up free copies of the latest issues and grab some tasty hot dog and sausage samples provided by featured restaurants. Please RSVP here so we can make sure we have enough to go around!

Thursday, April 26:  Why not start and end your weekend at Joslyn Art Museum? The Kent Bellows Mentoring Program is having a free showcase tonight at the museum’s Witherspoon Concert Hall. The KBMP Teen Salon features original music, fashion, and animations by local teens. This is a great opportunity for them to connect with a live audience, so help them enjoy this experience by checking out this free, open-to-the-public event. Get more information on the program here.

Friday, April 27: If you’d like to have a great time while supporting a great cause, the CockTAILS & Cats fundraiser for Felius cat café should be a part of your weekend plans. There will be drinks, snacks, music, and giveaways, all to help raise money for their opening. Felius’ aim is to bring people and cats together through interaction and adoption, hopefully drastically reducing euthanasia rates for the animals here in Omaha. Find out more about the organization and get your tickets for this event here.

Friday, April 27 to Sunday, April 29: Ready for an adventure? PretzCon Pieces of Eight! is a tabletop game convention happening at Ralston Arena this weekend. Whether you’re into D&D or Apples to Apples, there’s bound to be a level of play for you. With vendors, tournaments, and a prize raffle, there’s plenty to get amped up about at this convention. To learn more and decide on your campaign strategy, get in on the action here.

Saturday, April 28: Think country music can’t have a punk attitude? Think again. Lavender Country was the first-known gay-themed album in country music history. While it proved too much for the music world of the 1970s to handle, Lavender Country has had a resurgence of interest since its self-titled album was reissued in 2014. Don’t miss Patrick Haggerty singing his songs of life this Saturday at Brothers Lounge. Learn more here.

Celebrate Earth, Life, and Imagination

April 19, 2018 by

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Pick of the Week—Saturday, April 21: Join the rest of the world this Saturday in celebrating our Mother Earth at Earth Day Omaha 2018 in Elmwood Park. There will be plenty going on to entertain all, from kiddos to doggos. Bring a picnic or some cash for the many local food vendors who will be on hand. Don’t miss the main stage, featuring candidate forums, National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore, the Friend of the Environment Awards, and live music, including a performance by Edem Soul Music (featured in our next issue of Encounter). This event is happening rain or shine, so get out and celebrate all that is green. Click here for all the info.

Thursday, April 19: Debating whether you want to stay home and cook and splurge and go out to eat tonight? We’re going to make it easy for you. Tonight only, Stirnella in the Blackstone District is donating 50 percent of their food sales to the Women’s Center for Advancement. The center recently relocated and is now just one block away from the restaurant. So get out and help the staff at Stirnella welcome the WCA to the neighborhood. Be sure to call ahead and make reservations here for A Night Out at Stirnella. To learn more about the center, go here.

Friday, April 20: Experience one of the most unique live performances around with Lightwire Theater as they present Moon Mouse: A Space Odyssey at The Arts Center at IWCC. Join Marvin the Mouse as he escapes life’s everyday bummers by retreating into his science books and a world of fantasy. Watch the story come to life through electroluminescent artistry and sweet dance moves. Get your tickets here, and learn more about Lightwire Theater here.

Saturday, April 21 and Sunday, April 22: It’s market season! Head to 10th and Bancroft streets for the Handmade Omaha Spring Art & Craft Bazaar at the Bancroft Street Market. With more than 25 local vendors, free parking, and free admission, this is a must-attend event. It’s their sixth year, so get out and help keep it going. For a full list of vendors, go here. For other Bancroft Street Market events, go here.

Sunday, April 22: Join the YMCA’s national initiative to improve the health and well-being of children and families this Sunday. Healthy Kids Day at Stinson Park in Aksarben Village encourages a healthy, safe lifestyle. Activities and learning opportunities include bounce houses and safety checks. This free event starts at 11 a.m. and goes until 2 p.m. No registration is required. Just show up and have fun while learning! To find out more, bounce on over here.

Special Addition Edition—Wednesday, April 25th: The Omaha Police Foundation has their 18th annual Officer of the Year Awards Luncheon next Wednesday, the 25th, at the Scott Conference Center. Twenty-five OPD officers will be recognized for their outstanding service, and the 2017 Officer of the Year will be chosen from among the honorees. This event is open to the public and will feature an outdoor exhibit of various law enforcement units and vehicles. Show your support and get your tickets here now.

 

 

It’s Not All About You, St. Pat!

March 15, 2018 by

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Pick of the Week—Friday, March 16: A free performance of African Body, Soul, & MVMNT: A Window Into the Past is happening this Friday night at the Hi-Fi House. This project by Edem K. Garro of Edem Soul Music was chosen by the Omaha Creative Institute as the recipient of their Omaha Gives Back Grant. The performance traces “the journey of generations of African Americans from dehumanization and oppression to hope for a more equitable and inclusive present and future.” Don’t miss the chance to see it performed in an intimate space. While the event is free, you are encouraged to register for tickets here. Learn more about the performance and Edem Soul Music here.

Also, check out our upcoming story on Edem in the next issue of Encounter.

Thursday, March 15: If you haven’t heard the word yet, be sure to catch it tonight. The WORD – Herstory: Focus on HER is happening at The Opollo Music Hall in Benson. This round of The WORD Open Mic celebrates feminine energy. It’s a fusion of live, eclectic jazz and spoken word poetry, presented by artist Withlove, Felicia. The new Opollo will be its permanent home, every third Thursday of the month, from 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Hear the word and check out this great new music venue. For more information on this show, click here. To find more Withlove, Felicia events, flow on over here.

Saturday, March 17: Sure, there are plenty of parties going on at the bars this weekend, so we’ll let you choose your poison there. But don’t start your drinking on an empty stomach. Get to the St. Patrick’s Day Luncheon at Lauritzen Gardens and enjoy some real greenery before hitting the patios and downing all those green beers. They’ll be serving up cabbage, corned beef, potatoes—the whole shebang. So get some stick-to-your-ribs Irish fare in you before heading out to get langered. Be sure to make reservations, though. Find out how here.

Saturday, March 17: Come see what Omaha’s all-female roller derby league can do this weekend. Don’t forget to wear green to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and show your appreciation for those in uniform during the Omaha Rollergirls Green Out/Military Appreciation Night. Did we mention adult tickets are buy one, get one free for Military, Fire, Rescue, and Police? This jam starts at 6 p.m. at Ralston Arena. Get those tickets here now.

Sunday, March 18: Members of the Nebraska Writers Guild are coming together to read excerpts from an anthology they contributed to at The Bookworm Hosts Voices from the Plains Authors. Over 60 contemporary authors with various backgrounds from across Nebraska contributed to the book. The event starts at 1 p.m. and goes until 3 p.m. Pick up your copy of Voices from the Plains at The Bookworm (Omaha), Francie & Finch or Indigo Bridge (both in Lincoln), and several others. Get more information on the event here.