Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s featured selection, chosen by Afternoon Show host Kevin Cole, is “Sao Funky” by Washington D.C.’s Fort Knox Five from the 2008 album Radio Free D.C. via Fort Knox Recordings.
This is where I must plead stupidity. Being from a small Midwestern town forever linked to the architecture of I.M. Pei and Eliel Saarinen, the sights and sounds of the big city weren’t something I experienced until college. Time spent in Cincinnati, Chicago, and St. Louis opened my eyes to the so-called inner city culture — not in terms of race or class but in regards to lifestyle and community. My hometown was insulated and quiet. No one dared to poke their noses in your business unless it made for juicy gossip. Most were happy to bask in the flippant attitude a small town breeds, forever closing themselves off to the hustle and bustle of big cities and bright lights.
To capture that fury into a song is a challenge — one that many artists have tried and failed. However, Washington D.C.’s Fort Knox Five not only capture the soul of our nation’s capital, but they blend it with the many cultures of the world that continually influence and infiltrate the blank canvas of Americana. “Sao Funky” is a musical melting pot, and as clichéd as it may be to rest on such a tired euphemism, it’s an apt turn of the phrase. Latin American culture is still finding its niche amidst the chaos of North American culture and Fort Knox Five do their best to erode those imagined borders. For youth who happen to be stuck in the same situation I once experienced, “Sao Funky” may be your lifeline to a whole new world, a world shrinking day by day thanks to the music of outfits such as Fort Knox Five.
Fort Knox Five are currently spreading their musical world view to all parts of the globe, so says the band’s Myspace page. Sadly, recent tour dates don’t include our rainy corner of the world. Fort Knox Five keep spreading the love regardless with such worldly fare as “Funk 4 Peace,” which you can watch below.