Chaka Khan: Soaring Wings
"I look forward to performing at Lehman, I like working in colleges," says Ms. Khan who came from a musical family. Always her own person, Chaka was christened by a Yoruba priest who named her Chaka Adunne Aduffe Yemoja Hodarhi Karifi. "Chaka was a Zulu warrior but there is a feminine and masculine pronunciation to the name. I got my name during an African naming ceremony by an African Baba. I was really culturally into my Pan Africanism then. Chaka is fire, red, Mars" explained the fiery singer who also was part of the Black Panthers
The indomitable spirit and talent of songstress Chaka Khan is larger than life. The 8-time Grammy Award winner is a woman that has carved her legacy out of grit and hardship, joy and creative genius. Life has been both cruel and kind to her and perhaps that is why her voice is so well honed and her songs speak with great passion to the heart of those who listen. Chaka Khan is a legend who has mastered music of all genres bending it to her will while spitting it out like smoldering fire. Wherever she performs, Chaka sets the house on fire. She will do just that when she appears at Lehman College for the Performing Arts, located at 250 Bedford Park Boulevard West in the Bronx, on Friday, March 24, 2006 at 8:00 p.m.
Chaka Khan, who was born Yvette Marie Stevens, on a naval base in Great Lakes, Illinois and raised on the South Side of Chicago, will celebrate her birthday March 23rd. Known for hits such as "Tell Me Something Good," "I Feel For You," "Through the Fire;" "Im Every Woman;" "Classikhan" and "Ain't Nobody," Khan set forth upon a life journey fated to prove she would indeed become 'somebody.' At age 11, she formed the group Crystalettes with her sister. At 18, she became a member of the multiracial group Rufus and earned one platinum album, five gold albums, five gold singles, five number one hits, and two Grammy Awards. She went solo in 1978, teaming up with Arif Mardin to produce her debut album Chaka. "I'm Every Woman" evolved from that collaboration. Continuing to perform with Rufus, she and the group scored the hit album Street Player which gave birth to the classic anthem "Stay." In 1981, "What Cha' Gonna Do For Me?" became a monster hit.
"I look forward to performing at Lehman, I like working in colleges," says Ms. Khan who came from a musical family. Always her own person, Chaka was christened by a Yoruba priest who named her Chaka Adunne Aduffe Yemoja Hodarhi Karifi. "Chaka was a Zulu warrior but there is a feminine and masculine pronunciation to the name. I got my name during an African naming ceremony by an African Baba. I was really culturally into my Pan Africanism then. Chaka is fire, red, Mars" explained the fiery singer who also was part of the Black Panthers and headed up their breakfast program for children.
"When I was 15, I ran away from home. I worked several gigs and it was then that I met the group Rufus. They were in one group and I was in another. I eventually joined Rufus, which was the best career move I ever made. I had several hits with Rufus," remarked Khan who is presently recording a yet to be entitled CD. "I should have a single out by this summer," promised Chaka.
The road to fame has been a trial by fire which Khan documented in both song and her book entitled "Chaka! Through the Fire" "I can liken my life to the phoenix wherein out of the trials and tribulations, I have risen. It's been a purification that has given me strength and empowerment and made me the Woman I Am" claimed Chaka who also produced an album under the same title for Warner Black Music. In 1982, Chaka released her 4th solo album entitled Chaka Khan which earned her 2 Grammy Awards for Best R&B Performance, Female & Best Vocal Arrangements. "I'll Be Good To You" earned a Grammy for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. In 2003, she won another Grammy for Best R&B Vocal Performance for her version of Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On."
Interested in humane pursuits Chaka established the Chaka Khan Foundation, an organization that assists women and children at risk. "We try to help women and children in crisis. We do mentorship programs for foster kids. We give money to and find funds for rehabs and safe houses. We are doing reading initiative programs as an incentive to help mostly minority kids who want to go to college," remarked the singer whose heart is a big as her music. "My line of chocolates called "Chakalates" are really good Belgium Chocolates. We sell them at Neiman Marcus stores in order to raise funds for my projects," said the well traveled songstress who has lived in London and Germany and still maintains a home in Europe.
The talented and enduring artist has also raised $1 million dollars for autism via a walk-a-thon. "We do this every year. My sister has a son that is autistic. I tend to think autism is caused by a virus and mercury poisoning. I think it strikes hypersensitive children, boys mostly. Autism is caused when there isn't enough blood getting to the brainstem," remarked the performer who appeared in "Mama, I Want To Sing." "Some people think it's a genetic disorder," stated Chaka. "Research is still being done. Some kids have been cured once toxic metals are out of their system. It's pandemic now. One out of 600 children has autism" continued the famed vocalist who received an honorary degree in music from Berklee College last year.
"Life is a most interesting thing. It's a gift. I love people and try to be kind to everyone but I don't take a lot of nonsense. I believe in doing toward others as I would have them do toward me. I would even say that I believe in doing better toward people than they do toward me, why not up it one!"
Tickets are on sale at the Lehman Center Box Office. See http://www.LehmanCenter.org or call 718-960-8833. Tickets are $45, $40, $35 and $30. The Center is easily accessible by the #4 and D trains to Bedford Park Blvd., and is just off the Saw Mill River Parkway and Major Deegan Expressway. Parking is Free.
For additional info about Chaka Khan see: http://www.chakakhan.com
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