Marcellus Nealy

Marcellus Nealy

Also known as Marcellus D. Nealy, Mercellus Nealy
This performer (group) in the Internet: http://www.light-walker.com, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcellus_Nealy

Discography of Marcellus Nealy:

# Release title Total tracks Type of release is Imprint date Label
1 Changes / The World 2 Audio 2004-01-14 Datapunk
2 Changes / The World 2 Audio 2004-01-14 Datapunk


Since that day in his early childhood when the sunset struck beauty against the ugliness of the Cleveland ghetto projects where he lived, Marcellus has heard the echoes of poetry in his mind.

Those echoes followed him out of Cleveland all the way to Tokyo in the early 90s where he began to explore the art of spoken word in local beer houses and cafes that were frequented by foreigners living in the city. After a few years of participating in these poetry readings, Marcellus became restless. Music was calling him. He began to seek out people who were willing to experiment with words and music.

It was then that he began to perform poetry readings with several Tokyo DJs whose musical styles varied between deep house, Drum and Bass, Techno, and avant-garde electro.

It wasn�ft long before many artists in the city began to recognize Marcellus�f talents as a poet and performer. Soon, he began appearing as a guest poet on various artists�f recordings including Japan�fs multi platinum band Dreams Come True.

For Japanese people the fact that the poetry was in English didn�ft seem to matter. They were getting something other than words from Marcellus. They were getting the raw energy of the performances themselves. For Marcellus, performing in Japan for all Japanese audiences was the training ground where he would hone the effect of his delivery and his ability reach the core of the human spirit beyond the use of language.

Marcellus�f performances around the country began to multiply as the demand for his particular art form began to increase. Marcellus also began to expand from working with DJs to performing with live bands.

He formed the group Modernday Soothsayers and began fusing jazz funk expressionism with a heavy poetic vibe. With performances in Singapore and every major club in Tokyo the project had become a viable way to bring the full force of explosive poetry performance on an even level with the musician and music. In place of sung melodies there were lines of poetry. The other objective was to use the band as a setting for exploring improvised poetry.

As his performances began to increase Marcellus was finding it more and more difficult to memorize long lines of verse. Also, he began to realize that while the musician was free to improvise lines of music the poet was restricted by the rhythm of prewritten verse. In order to free poetry and open up the flexibility of expressionism, Marcellus began to develop the art of improvised poetry.

Soon after he met the legendary house music producer Roy Davis Jr. After seeing Marcellus perform with Modernday Soothsayers his only comment was, �gWe have to get a studio now�h. Marcellus has recorded several tracks with Roy including, �gCloser to You�h and �gWater For Thirsty Children�h. He also traveled to Montreal with members of Modernday Soothsayers to perform with Roy Davis Jr. and his band Soldiers of Universal Love in Club Soda at the Montreal Jazz Festival. That performance was rated as one of the top ten of the event by the head of the Jazz Fest organization. It also helped push Marcellus farther along on his journey.

A few weeks later, Marcellus ran into Johannes Heil, a well-known German techno producer, at Club Yellow in Tokyo. Johannes thought it was interesting that an African American was hanging out in Tokyo speaking fluent Japanese and decide to strike up a conversation. After hearing that Marcellus did poetry performances he challenged him to perform a piece right on the spot. After hearing Marcellus delivery Johannes was hooked.

They began working together on various projects. The idea of techno and poetry is a new one. Up till then, there has been techno and spoken word samples or sound bytes but nothing that has attempted to take the power of techno�fs beat and fuse it with the raw ranting force of spoken word.

Johannes and Marcellus recorded one album that they called Universal Truth, a complicated project that used coded language and music to stimulate people into becoming active thinkers. In the history of Techno music it was to be the first full collaboration of poetry and techno. The project, however, was never released. A&R people at various record Labels thought it was too deep and caused people to think too much. They felt that dance music should not be so heavy. Unaltered in their mission to continue what they had started the duo temporarily put Universal Truth on the shelf and began working on a second project, which they called The World.

The project attempted to scale back poetry to bite sized parcels that could be more easily incorporated into a techno composition and more easily understood by the listener. Thanks to the insightfulness of electro legend Anthony Rother, they released the first single from their project, The World, on Anthony�fs label, Data Punk.

The release made quite a buzz around the world including Tokyo where it reached number 4 on the sales chart of one of Japan�fs most influential dance music shops, Technique.

Since teaming up with Johannes, Marcellus has also shifted his musical approach to yet another direction by starting a new project called Zingalamaduni. This project is collaboration with Goro, a somewhat legendary tribal musician in Tokyo and Shunsuke, a percussionist from Tokyo�fs well-known, long running event Beat.

The idea was to create a unit based on pure improvisational music. This would allow the maximum freedom for poetic expression and the most fluidity for exchange of ideas between the poet and musician. Only two months after they got together Zingalamaduni has already played gigs with German house legend Ian Pooley, NY house legend Francois K., and Toshio Matsura, formally of UFO. They are also working with the house music creator Koutarou A. to produce tracks on his up coming album.

Currently Marcellus is working on launching yet another project that brings live music and poetry together. The focus this time will be to harness the energy of free expression into fixed musical form.

Marcellus is also preparing to do a world tour with Johannes Heil in summer of 2004.


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