The Lo Frequency
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The Lo Frequency

New York City, New York, United States | SELF

New York City, New York, United States | SELF
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"Okayplayer Review of the Export EP"

Very little in hip-hop is as inspiring as making politics personal. Musician-humanitarians, The Lo Frequency (formerly Chen Lo and the Liberation Family), debut their first EP The Export, as a testament to their international outreach. The seven-member hip-hop ensemble showcases an amalgamation of musical influences via expert instrumentals and soulful production, accompanied by conscious and motivational vocals from rapper Chen Lo and singer Shannon Grier.

The album’s title is a reference to the band’s extensive performances and music-based social work abroad, but it also speaks to the band’s musical perspective – one that crosses both genres and cultures. The album’s introduction features only afro-drumming and chanting and sets a musical foundation for the hip-hop genre. The album rides the sweet melodic opening chords of “Think Of.” The juxtaposition of classic jazz acoustic and electric guitar here provide a fascinating listening session. Chan Lo efficiently connects to the crux of issues involving socioeconomic status, politics, racism, and relationships. Shannon Grier’s vocals elevate the listener to find a sense of inner peace. This high energy sound transforms into a more rock-heavy sound on “Look for the Light,” with a penetrating piano backdrop. “Getting Late” shows a funk influence, and offers a suggestive sultry battle of respect and hormones. The band shines on the final track on the project, “Float Away.” With its ethereal opening, soft keyboard, detailed bass ornamentation, and electric guitar additions, this is easily my favorite track. Here, the band accomplishes an effortless synergy between female vocalist, rapper, and band.

My feelings on this album are well envisioned in its cover art: in the foreground a superfluous collage of influential jazz, soul, and blues artists of the past, with the band members’ silhouettes in the background. Essentially, there are lots of great elements here, but it also feels like a lot is happening. Within the EP, there are only five fully-grown tracks, and this isn’t sufficient room to make all the musical references the band attempts. There are plenty of moments where I craved the simplicity of the few openings chords, but was overwhelmed by a vast overlay of production and vocals. I’m further confused by their decision to trim one of the best emotive moments on the album, “Moonrise,” a 35-second (can you say tease?!) psychedelic interlude the features electronic sounds paired with mellow drumming. Expanded, this track could have given the project a fuller, distinctive flow. No doubt, the instrumentation and production on this project alone make it worth a download. What The Export lacks in focus and cohesion, it makes up for in creativity, and that was enough to leave me wanting more.

- Sandra Manzanares
- Okayplayer


"Video: The Lo Frequency Visit World Summit of African Descendants in Honduras"

Brooklyn based hip-hop collective The Lo Frequency (Chen Lo & The Liberation Family) have circled the globe visiting places like Senegal, South Africa, Swaziland, Lebanon, Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco in promotion of hip-hop culture. At their destinations the crew organize community workshops, live performances, and collaborate with local musicians on tunes and videos.

Recently, The Lo Frequency crew traveled to La Ceiba, Honduras for the first annual World Summit of African Descendants, a “commemoration of the International Year for People of African Descent proclaimed by the United Nations [in which] delegates from all over the world gathered to discuss the socioeconomic conditions of Afro-descendant populations and establish a plan to ensure development with equity” for the group. (TLF)

Check out clips of TLF crew at the summit’s opening ceremony and getting percussion lessons from locals kids above and below. Head over to The Lo Frequency for more of their music and stay tuned for the upcoming debut EP The Export.
- Okayafrica


"Audio: The Lo Frequency “Think Of”"

Brooklyn crew The Lo Frequency are hip-hop ambassadors of sorts, traveling the globe to collaborate with local artists and organize community workshops. Most recently, they’ve touched down in Lebanon to link up with Beirut MCs and traveled to Honduras to take part in the World Summit of African Descendants.

In “Think Of,” the first leak off their upcoming The Export EP, the collective showcase their blend of live hip-hop instrumentation, soul vocals and Black Thought-influenced rhyming — prime ingredients for many more African (and international) collaborations to come. Stream and download the track below.
- Okayafrica


"Newness for your ears: The Export EP, The Lo Frequency"

I have been meaning to post this for weeks, but as you may have noticed if you read the blog regularly or follow me on different social networking sites, I’ve been on some kind of extended M.I.A. period, which I am slowly but surely ending.
After sharing the incredible invitation to travel and escapism that Meemee Nelzy’s new album Kréyòl Seasoning is, I have another very inspiring and uplifting album to present to you. I first heard of The Lo Frequency very recently, thanks to John Robinson and I am quite grateful for the discovery. A tour on their website provided me with some very interesting information and I was quite amazed at all of the things they accomplished, whether individually or collectively.
Chen Lo (MC), Ken White (drums/percussions), BAASSIK (bass), DJ Scandales (turntablist/producer), Shannon Grier (vocalist) and Hakhi Alakhun (lead guitar) are all involved in cultural and educative activities, spreading knowledge and music on different continents. This makes them a very global hip-hop ensemble, reaching a wide range of people. In addition to all the travelling and teaching, they also draw from varied influences in terms of music, which is manifest in The Export EP. The beautiful cover artwork is a testimony to this homage they are paying to different artists and how they use their musical heritage to create their own legacy.

The Export EP explores different atmospheres and moods, which you can feel with the music but also the varied topics The Lo Frequency touch upon. On the whole, the project is a most welcome positive and uplifting message, a call for peace, an encouragement to reach personal and collective fulfilment. This is exactly the sort of music I need to listen to right now, especially my two favourites Think Of and Float Away, as I can most definitely relate to the need to create my own life and push forward to reach my dreams, while having this desire to “dwell in fantasy” once in a while and escape this fast-paced world which doesn’t always give you enough time to breathe. Another track I really appreciate is Getting Late, where Chen Lo and Shannon Grier touch upon the importance to take your time with relationships, not to rush things even though sexual attraction is very strong. The atmosphere on this one is much more sensual and smoother than the rest, with a beautiful soulful and jazzy touch, while the lyrics stay candid. Chen Lo’s flow and lyrics blend with Shannon’s smooth vocals perfectly and that is one of the strong points of the EP, in addition to the quality of the music and how it matches the different feelings very accurately. The Export has already been playing regularly here and it will clearly be on my playlist for a long while, as it provides a great dose of positivity, inspiration and musical healing.

Now that you know a bit more about The Lo Frequency and The Export EP, you can get the album on iTunes and find more information on the group’s website. I highly recommend you support them and spread the word on their amazing music.
Just in case you need more convincing, here is the first official video, for Float Away. I really appreciate how the visuals are the perfect complement to the song and leave a sense of mystery.
- The Wonderful World of Carminelitta


"U.S. Diplomacy: Hitting the Right Notes"

The State Department's Rhythm Road Program Sends Musical Ambassadors to the World, Conveying American Values With a Beat

On any given day, somewhere in the world, they're lining up . . . to hate us. But even in places where they denounce the United States, the U.S. government is, in many cases, reaching out . . . with music. Jazz great Wynton Marsalis is part of that effort. They want to love our country," Marsalis said. "We have to present them a side of it that is lovable." The singers Oscar Williams and the Perfected Praise are now on tour in Eastern Europe. They're just one of the music groups the U.S. State Department sends around the world every year representing America. The program, called the Rhythm Road, is a $1.5 million-a-year effort, in partnership with the Jazz at Lincoln Center organization. There's no speech-making . . . no U.S. aid handouts . . . just Americans performing American songs... - CBS Sunday Morning


"5 Questions with Chen Lo"

One look at history of Chen Lo and the Lo Frequency shows they are not just any other group. From humble beginnings in Pittsburgh and Brooklyn to performances in Vietnam and music workshops in Bahrain, Chen Lo and the Lo Frequency have a distinct vision of where music fits in the world. With a new EP “The Export” coming out on Friday, September 30th, Nao-Live sat down to talk to Chen Lo about the influence of these travels, using Kickstarter to help fund the project, and his vision of Chen Lo and the Lo Frequency.

Nao-Live: You recently returned from trips to Bahrain and Honduras. Traveling the world seems to be the lifeblood of your band. What do these trips give to you personally and how do they add or influence your sound? What are the differences between an American audience and a Bahranian or Honduran audience?

Chen Lo: All the trips we take are enriching and enlightening. I like to say we’re living lifetimes in a matter of moments. We’ve had a chance to see and experience things so early in life that many may never encounter. It’s humbling and a major blessing.

Absorbing different cultures, environments and art forms will inevitably find itself in our music in some way. We’ve adopted rhythms and developed concepts from our travel experiences. More than that, we’ve been able to see what things people respond to in our music around the world. That invaluable insight has made us better artists and performers and expanded the palate of our sound.

Audiences around world have been warmer and more receptive in general. US audiences are a lot better with artists they are familiar with in some capacity. No matter where you are it’s important to know your audience and do your best to play to their sensibilities while maintaining your identity and integrity.

NL: You formed the group with Ken White in 2007. How has the Lo Frequency added to your initial vision of what you wanted from a group? How has that impacted your songwriting process?

CL: We initially put a band together to play music I had already developed on my own. We basically tried to recreate what produced tracks that I had already recorded. Then our creativity enticed us to discover the best ways to interpret good hip hop music live without losing the hip hop aesthetic. We incorporated a DJ/producer with live instrumentation to help us craft what we were looking for. Once we landed the Rhythm Road Tour with Jazz and Lincoln Center, we were pushed to develop more original material and expand our sound. This is how we began to develop our own identity as The Lo Frequency and not a backing band for Chen Lo.

In regards to my writing process, it has been impacted drastically. I write most of the songs with our vocalist Shannon Grier. We bounce ideas off one another and a lot our songs come from melodies and feelings she finds in the music. Some songs come from concepts that we all have as a band or that one of us proposed to the group. If I’m writing for a solo album, it’s usually me and a producer that develop and build concepts. In this case I have an incredible group of writers and world class musicians to work with.

NL: The album “The Export” comes out soon with a video dropping on September 30th. Can you go into the process of creating this album? What do you hope to achieve with “The Export”? Do you have any expectations for this project?

CL: Over the past two years we amassed a nice number of original songs that we mastered through tour performances. But we still were working to master our sound and utilize all of the elements we have at our finger tips with The Lo Frequency. We used this project as an opportunity to be really creative, develop a sound and a production process. Our creative habits are very organic and free flowing. Most of best songs happened from a jam session or freestyle groove that begged to be crafted into a full songs. With “The Export” we took the best cross section of our material to show the depths of our creative range. We wanted to maintain the integrity our sound while delivering something that a lot different people can connect to.

Our hope is that this project opens doors for us to get exposure, hit the road heavy and get back in the studio to potentially do a full length. More than that we hope people can relate to and enjoy the music. We like to think it’s pretty soulful, honest and organic. It may not be for everyone, but it is our hope that it reaches and touches the people that would appreciate it. At the same time, no matter what expectations and artist may have, one can only create your work and let it go into the world. The rest is out of your control.

NL: Part of “The Export” was funded through Kickstarter. Needless to say, it’s a different world of music in 2011 than it was even four years ago when you formed the group. Everything from the ease of listening to music to blogs pushing music and of course, using tools like Kickstarter to fund a personal vision. Where do you see Chen Lo and the Lo Frequency and “The Export” fitting into today’s music scene?

CL: That’s a tough question to answer, but I’ll do my best. I think the Lo Frequency is in a great position. We’re getting to a place where we understand how the “new music industry” tools work and we’re doing our best to take advantage of them. The team we have built and continue to build is incredibly knowledgeable and supportive in this mission as well. I also think there is a large global audience for what we do and our versatility is going to make us palatable in many circles. “The Export” is our first experiment to see how true that hypothesis really is, but we’re confident that it will be well received. We like to think we’re carving a lane out for ourselves that will lend our careers to longevity and timeless creation. We’re working hard to make that happen, but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

In addition to that, we’re one of few if any touring hip hop bands that do workshops of all kinds for youth and musicians worldwide. Our motto is “Live, Global, Education.” We want to do our best to maintain that part of our mission no matter what happens.

NL: What do the next two years hold for Chen Lo and the Lo Frequency?

CL: We we’re working so that the next two years are full of more music, a lot of touring and more incredible experiences. We’ll see how far we can take “The Export” and continue working on new material. We want to stretch the boundaries of our possibilities. Ultimately, we want our work as musicians to support the lives of our families and impact the world in a positive, peaceful, progressive, lasting and revolutionary way.



“The Export” releases September 30th. For more information about Chen Lo and the Lo Frequency, please visit their official website. - Nao live


"Hip-Hop takes center stage at Cultural Hall: Bahrain Summer Festival"

Brooklyn-based hip-hop outfit “Chen Lo and the Lo Frequency” took to the stage on Friday (15th July) for the first of its two shows at a packed Cultural Hall. Part of Bahrain Summer Festival’s lineup of performances, the band lived up to its reputation by entertaining the audience with a live mix of global rhythms drawn from the worlds of hip-hop, jazz, blues, kwaito, soul, rock, R&B, afro-beats, and pop. The second show is scheduled for today (Saturday 16th July at 8pm).

The band is widely known for its artistic flair and passion for humanitarianism which are evident in its art. Hailing from Brooklyn, New York, the six-member group was formed in 2007 by rapper Chen Lo and has since performed on major TV networks and music shows such as MTV and the CMJ Music Festival. - Al Bawaba


"The Lo Frequency Visits Bahrain"

July 12-17, the U.S. Embassy welcomed New York-based hip-hop group Chen Lo and The Lo Frequency to perform at Summer Festival, Bahrain's annual international arts festival. The group also conducted interactive workshops with Bahraini youth at the General Organization for Youth and Sports (GOYS), where they discussed the history and elements of hip hop and invited students to showcase their skills in music and dance.

The Lo Frequency's performances at Summer Festival, sponsored in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture, drew hundreds of audience members to enjoy the group's unique blend of hip hop, funk, soul, kwaito, and the blues. The Lo Frequency also welcomed guest performer, Malikah, a Lebanese rapper and performance artist, to join them for several songs, showcasing their cross-cultural musical collaborations.

- US Embassy Manama


"The Lo Frequency Visit World Summit of African Descendants in Honudras"



Brooklyn based hip-hop collective The Lo Frequency (Chen Lo & The Liberation Family) have circled the globe visiting places like Senegal, South Africa, Swaziland, Lebanon, Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco in promotion of hip-hop culture. At their destinations the crew organize community workshops, live performances, and collaborate with local musicians on tunes and videos.

Recently, The Lo Frequency crew traveled to La Ceiba, Honduras for the first annual World Summit of African Descendants, a “commemoration of the International Year for People of African Descent proclaimed by the United Nations [in which] delegates from all over the world gathered to discuss the socioeconomic conditions of Afro-descendant populations and establish a plan to ensure development with equity” for the group. (TLF)

Check out clips of TLF crew at the summit’s opening ceremony and getting percussion lessons from locals kids above and below. Head over to The Lo Frequency for more of their music and stay tuned for the upcoming debut EP The Export. - Okayafrica.com


"One Mic: Chen Lo’s Mission to Impact the World Through Music"

Political hip hop duo, Dead Prez, once said of their music, “It’s bigger than Hip Hop,” when describing their mission to empower their listeners to think outside the box. The same can be said of veteran hip hop artist, Chen Lo, and his band, The Liberation Family. When listening to their sound, it becomes immediately clear that they too have a voice that reaches far beyond their music. Their message: a blended sound of consciousness, hope, politics and at times about just flat out having fun... - The Watering Hole


"Chen Lo The Inkwell Mixtape (REVIEW)"

The most challenging thing about being a consumer of hip-hop, is finding an artist who exemplifies
artistic balance, and embodies the complexities of human existence in his or her work. I know…it
sounds heavy. But it’s really not. All I want is an intelligent emcee, that doesn’t come across as
pretentious, a hood emcee that doesn’t come across as crazy, and lastly, a good emcee – one who
is mighty with the pen. Multiply that by sincerity, and the product is “my man,” (or woman). In this
case, the product is Chen Lo... - Okayplayer


"Chen Lo & the Liberation Family tour the Middle East/North Africa with the US State Dept. & Jazz at Lincoln Center"

My peoples Chen Lo and the Liberation Family just returned from an incredible tour of the Middle East and North Africa, sponsored by the USState Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and Jazz at Lincoln Center, as part of the Rhythm Road program. The 4-member Brooklynbased Hip Hop band, composed of vocalist Chen Lo, bassist Baassik, turntablist/producer DJ Scandales, and percussionist Ken White, traveled to Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, coordinated by the local American Embassies. And, the best part is, they actually got to perform with some prominent local groups, such as NORES in Salé, Morocco; Murder Eyez in Aleppo, Syria; and DJ Lethal Skillz in Beirut, Lebanon... - Hip Hop Diplomacy


"The Rhythm Road"

Chen Lo and the Liberation Family (Brooklyn, NY) is a unique phenomenon in the world of music. The distinctive sound of this dynamic collective draws from historic and contemporary events, simple elements of life, and a myriad of musical influences such as hip hop, jazz, blues, kwaito, soul, rock & roll, R&B, afro-beat, and pop. Chen Lo and Ken White combined forces in 2007 to create a hip hop ensemble that maintains the genre's core ingredients, while incorporating the texture of live instrumentation...
- Jazz at Lincoln Center


Discography

"Traditions" 2011- International Single
The Export EP 2011

Photos

Bio

The Lo Frequency (TLF) is a unique phenomenon in the world of music. This dynamic collective produces its distinctive sound by drawing from contemporary events, simple life experiences and musical influences across a myriad of genres such as hip hop, jazz, blues, soul, rock & roll, R&B, Afro-beat, and pop. Chen Lo and Ken White combined forces in 2007 to develop a hip hop ensemble that maintained the genre's core ingredients, while incorporating the texture of live instrumentation. Engaging, soulful and thought-provoking, The Lo Frequency has decades of musical experience among its members, and it is a musical entity destined to fit any bill and perform to the highest of standards.

The Lo Frequency, has toured with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Rhythm Road American Music Abroad program and has performed, implemented music/culture workshops and master classes in Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. Chen has also been a cultural envoy of hip-hop history, culture, and practice in Vietnam. Having recently returned from successful tours in Bahrain and Honduras, TLF is looking to book domestic and International dates for Spring/Summer 2012.

GET TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE BAND

Chen Lo (MC) is an artist, humanitarian, teacher, writer, speaker, and entrepreneur with a passion for purposeful music and art. After closely studying the methods of a young Nas, Black Moon and The Roots, Chen found stage life at the age of 15. He has shared the stage with the likes of The Roots, Dead Prez, Common, Erykah Badu, KRS-ONE, Brand Nubian, Amanda Diva, A Tribe Called Quest, Xzibit and has done work with Abiodun Oyewole of the legendary Last Poets. To date, he has recorded notable collaborations with K’Naan, Murs Jean Grae, Chino Maurice and Ryan Leslie. His influences include Black Thought, Rakim, Marvin Gaye and Curtis Mayfield. Chen Lo received a bachelor’s degree from Pennsylvania State University and a graduate degree in music from New York University.

Chen Lo's single "Brooklyn," was chosen as the lead single for the "Blackout" motion picture soundtrack (a BET/Paramount feature film). The video has been featured on BET'S 106 & Park and Rap City as well as various MTV Networks (MTV2, mtvU) and shows (YO! MTV Raps, The Lab, The Freshman). His follow-up single/video “Give It All Up” has also been featured on various networks. His artistic proficiency has led mainstream entities like MTV to request his services in various commercial campaigns that have yielded nine spots to date. In addition, he has been a frequent contributor to BETJ’s My Two Cents bringing his personal and professional wisdom the world. Most recently, his international work was featured on CBS Sunday Morning alongside Wynton Marsalis, Duke Ellington, Louie Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie and Dave Brubeck.

BAASSIK (bass) born and raised in New York, is a pioneering female bass player in hip hop. Her style is based in funk and old school R&B and incorporates elements of hip hop and rock. BAASSIK has performed with CL Smooth of Pete Rock & CL Smooth and played at various venues in New York City such as Sputnik, Joe’s Pub, Bushbaby, and Bowery Poetry Café. BAASSIK’s festival experience includes the International African Arts Festival in Brooklyn, New York, Weeksville Festival, and Make Music New York 2009, among others.

DJ Scandales (turntablist/producer) originally from Queens, New York, took up the art of DJ’ing at age 12. Through his devoted practice in the art of scratching, cutting, and beat juggling, Scandales developed a passion for various genres and styles of music, as well as a keen interest in the music business. His formless and free sound has roots in hip hop, R&B, soul, Caribbean and Latin music. Scandales holds residencies on local radio shows and various clubs, and has worked with radio outlets such as 90.9 WONY, 90.9 WKRB, and Downshiftradio, as well as Chopper Dave (Element Skateboards), and Turntabletencies.com.

Ken White (drums and electronic triggers), originally from Ontario, Canada has been playing drums and percussion for over two decades. A variety of musical flavors, including Cuban rumba, West African drumming, Indian classical music and bhangra, influence White’s groove-based hip hop style. White has released a recording with his electro funk band, Comandante Zero which has performed in major venues in New York City as well as in London and Berlin. White holds a bachelor’s degree in jazz performance from the New England Conservatory of Music and a master’s degree from New York University where he studied the relationship between dance and music.

Shannon Grier (Vocalist) is a singer/songwriter and educator with an old soul. Born in Brooklyn but raised in Charlotte, NC, Shannon Grier experienced the boldness of the city and a much needed taste of southern hospitality. She was exposed to all types of music by her talented family throughout her upbringing and developed a serious appreciation for the