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Mamapalooza – Mothers Who Rock!

The second annual Mamapalooza Festival, sponsored by the Just Buffalo Literary Center, will be taking place this month in conjunction with Mother’s Day (of course). This year’s event will feature one night of Mama Poetics, with many of the top female spoken word artists in the city, and another night featuring Mamas Makin’ Music.
To further the mission of the Mamapalooza Festival, local moms have also joined the Motherhood Foundation, a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization, to help them manage the festival and pursue other efforts. Annette Daniels-Taylor, Buffalo Event’s coordinator, explains “Last year, we gave all the raffle money raised to Haven House and The Langston Hughes Institute. Having a non-profit this year will allow us to pay the performers as well, and we’re looking into starting a motherhood museum, which is a longtime goal of the festival’s International founder, Joy Rose, a lupus and kidney transplant survivor, mother of four, and feminist activist in the arts.”
When asked about the mission of the festival, Annette said, “We start out as women and artists first and then become mothers. If you stop your art, if you cut off that creative fountain because you need to mother your child, then you’re not whole, and your children are not receiving the best of your motherhood that they can. Mamapalooza was founded because there’s got to be a way to do both. Maybe not by being a superwoman—maybe you don’t tour anymore, or only during summer break. The moms in the show all bring their kids to rehearsals. They carpool, they might have a potluck dinner, they practice at schools so they can rehearse with the kids doing the homework – you figure out a way. You learn how to multitask really well. Thank God for cell phones and laptops! In my case, I stopped acting so much and started writing more. I tell my kids that when I was little, I wanted to be like Aretha Franklin, I wanted to be a female Michael Jackson. As I got older and had my first child, I thought it would be really difficult, but then you see other moms doing it, and you figure out a way to make it work if it’s really in your heart.”
“This year’s festival is going to be much more intimate – last year’s event was a monster, with so many great people, but I realized I wanted to be able to have something smaller, where these great women could perform for a longer time. This year everyone gets a 30-minute set. We hope that next year we can have a week-long festival. I don’t want to limit it.”
Mamapalooza 2007 will commence Friday, May 11, with Mama Poetics, featuring Buffalo’s star Mama poets: Nickel City Slam Finalists Verniece Turner, Vonetta T. Rhodes and Annette Daniels Taylor; and excerpts from Ntosake Shange’s For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide… by the Mama-run production company Down in My Soul; and a mom-inspired open mike.
Continuing on Saturday, May 12, Mamas Makin’ Music will feature Noa Bursie, Kilissa Cissoko, Annette Daniels-Taylor and Toronto’s Linda M—Winner of the Great American Songwriters Contest. They are also raffling a limited edition Daisy Rock Butterfly Bass to benefit The Motherhood Foundation, courtesy of Daisy Rock guitars, who donated 30 guitars to every Mamapalooza city around the globe. Opening the show and performing between sets will be Faaria (Claire Lynch), a Tonawanda mother and belly dance instructor who will be showcasing her master students—also mothers.
“It’s so exciting,” Annette continued. “The history of music in Buffalo is so vast. Of course our kids come first, but women are not letting their babies stop them from making music, are not letting their age stop them from making music.”
May 11 & 12, 7-10 PM
Rust Belt Books
202 Allen, 14201, 885.9535

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