I dare you to say "Chaka Khan" without also saying, at least in your mind, "let me rock you, that's all I wanna do." If you were even remotely aware of popular culture in 1984, you know you can't do it! Most of us can also sing along to countless others of her hits, and that's just what we did on Sunday night (2 December) at Henson Studios.
It was the Third Annual Safari Nights event, hosted in part by Creative Visions Foundation, benefitting Cura Orphanage, just as it has for the past two years.
The inaugural event in 2010 featured Lucy Woodward, the sexy songstress (and former Cura volunteer!), and was hosted by her friend Faryal Russell, Henson's Studio Manager, who initially had the idea to invite a collection of her musician friends to jam for our cause. Henson Recording Studios led the list of committed sponsors, and the numbers of creative volunteers increased -- so the event grew in 2011, but the vibe remained intimate and funky. Wendy and Lisa rocked "Purple Rain," and the party-goers gave generously to support the work I and many others do on the other side of the world.
This year, Wendy and Lisa were back, and they gathered musicians whose sound check alone gave me goosebumps.
Lucy brought her friends Holly and Michelle -- together they make The Goods -- and they delivered some Andrews Sisters' harmonies with a huge dose of 2012 sass.
It was, of course, a stroke of stunning and nearly unbelievable good fortune that Chaka Khan agreed to headline the event! Her enormous voice filled the small venue, and the party-goers had to make the tough call: do I get my groove on? or do I keep my iPhone steady so I can use the video to brag about this later? (I danced, which seemed the natural choice at the time, though this week I'm wishing I had instant replay.)
Ms. Khan's discography spans four decades and her accolades are legion... that she's turned her attention to the work we do is humbling, to say the least.But perhaps it's not so surprising, given her own history of giving back. Her Chaka Khan Foundation is committed to "assisting women and children at risk," and, like those of us in Cura, is "educating, empowering and inspiring our community's children, who otherwise would have fallen through the cracks."
Without exception, each of the musicians who accepted my humble gift of thanks (a small handprint from one of the children in Cura -- the result of an art project I do with them every year) expressed a similar commitment to using his or her considerable gifts to help make positive changes in the world.