Joe L Da Vessel and Melodic Band
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Joe L Da Vessel and Melodic Band

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The enormous discovery came near the end of the program, when the rapper (and ordained deacon) Joe L. Da Vessel took the stage. OMG... Look at the bio and music pages at http://www.joeldavessel.com/. Can a Falun Gong rally be turned into a hip hop revival? If I didn't see it with my own eyes, I would not have thought it plausible.

Joe L. Da Vessel is a giant hulk physically, an imposing presence. I first met him when I stepped off the stage at the end of my speech. He was kicking back in a nearby van or SUV, and he and his manager shook my hand, and gave me a shrink-wrapped copy of a CD titled, "Testimony: 1 Lyrics 4 Life." The CD cover also has this clue: "The 2008 Gospel Music Stellar Award Nominee, Rap/Hip Hop Gospel CD of the year."

Likely, he had just overheard my speech, ripping into Hu Jintao. He asked me, "How do you pronounce the name of the Chinese President?" I replied appropriately, something like "Who gin tahw."

Soon enough, he was taking the stage, doing highly engineered rap music, and ripping a new orifice for Hu Jintao and the Communist Party. In fact, he was bellowing, "Hu Jintao! You are not God!" over and over again.

At one time, Tim Britt and Ron Luke were feeling that something big was going down, because they (Falun Gong) had never heard anything like the music they would put on the table. But at July 19's event, they were not the big discovery. (In fact, Light Club decided against performing their new song, 'Chinese Democracy Defiled,' feeling that the moment was not right to try the new achievement of performing it live.)

Well, they (Falun Gong) had never heard or seen anything like Joe L. Da Vessel hammering Hu Jintao. I could sense that something big was going down. This was the big discovery.

Apparently, Joe previously rapped out a song, "In DC We Demand The Vote," for District of Columbia voting rights, and that video was played at the Democratic National Convention (I got that from his MySpace page, myspace.com/joeldavessel ).

So clearly, he doesn't mind getting involved politically, and on July 19 we appreciated his presence and his appearance in support of freedom for Falun Gong and indeed, for all of China.

And of course, I'm happy to watch people pile on against Hu Jintao. In this way, I wasn't the only American offering a challenge, or a political assault that seems frontal and direct to Hu Jintao, on that day.

It's a heartwarming discovery, and for some in attendance it must have been jaw dropping. As mentioned above, American rock music was once an alien culture to Falun Gong. Hip hop is like a subculture all of its own, and would seem even farther removed from the experience of Falun Gong.

But it's like that -- at the event site, a reporter for the Epoch Times asked me to reflect on what changes I had seen across the ten year's time that we were marking in the persecution. I replied as indicated, that Falun Gong began by being known only to those in its own circle. Various different "interest groups" have discovered Falun Gong and vice-versa in these ten years.

It's inevitable that if you go to shout at the Chinese embassy, you will notice other demonstrators there, and realize that Taiwanese, Tibetans, Uighurs, Falun Gong, and secular dissidents are all regular protestors outside of Chinese embassies and consulates.

These ten years allowed for many exchanges, joint actions, and coalitions among the groups. All of these groups overlap in their common humanity. American rockers joined in the overlap, and now American hip hoppers are also coming together to denounce the persecution.

All there agreed that the persecution itself is ridiculously absurd. Indeed, Joe L. Da Vessel helped to ridicule it, listing some practices of the Communist Party and saying, "What is that?" as a short way to dispose of the matters' legitimacy.

He also sang his song, "Yea Though I Walk," a rap song built around the 23rd Psalm in the Christian Bible: "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me." Fearing no evil was an apt subtext for our event, as we indeed pushed back against evil -- that of China's Communist Party and Hu Jintao.
- Post


Discography

Stand Up
Yea Though I Walk
Going Home

Photos

Bio


Joe L. Da Vessel and Melodic

Multi Stellar Award Nominated
Independent Music Award Winner

Using the principles found in gospel, knowledge from the streets, and elements of popular music as the medium, Joe L Da Vessel and Melodic leads a movement that inspires a change in the current music industry, as the industry in turn is thriving for a reformation. Joe L Da Vessel and Melodic have performed at The Bobby Jones Gospel Retreat, The People’s Party Inaugural Ball for President Obama, clubs and many other venues. Joe L. Da Vessel and Melodic is a highly talented 6 piece band that play a wide variety of music that ranges from traditional gospel, jazz, R&B, and Hip Hop.

Melodic Praise Lineup
KEVIN "B EZ" BRIGHT (KEYBOARDS)
STEVE “BIG STEVE” MITCHELL (BASS GUITAR)
TOLBERT COLLINS (GUITAR)
JOVEL FORD (DRUMS)