Jamaaladeen Tacuma goes outside the box with The Outsiders Festival

Jamaaladeen Tacuma’s Outsiders Improvised & Creative Music Festival starts this weekend.
Provided by Jamaladeen Tacuma

For its first live outing since the pandemic, Philadelphia bassist, composer, entrepreneur and fest founder Jamaaladeen Tacuma has deconstructed his Outsiders Improvised & Creative Music Festival to be a multiple venue event with elements of virtual reality in the mix.

The festival will kick off with two live parties, Nov. 11 and 12, at South Jazz Parlor, with local legends Odean Pope and G. Calvin Weston as part of the celebration, then moves to the new Painted Bride (5212 Market Street) on Nov. 19 with a Metaverse exploration — an in-person event livestreamed into virtual reality — and ends on Dec. 2 at the Community Educations Center with Philly poets Ursula Rucker, Pheralyn Dove and more.

If you don’t know already, Tacuma — the jazz-funk bassist and fashion designer who was recently gifted the City of Philadelphia’s Benny Golson Award — will play as part of each of his fest event’s musical ensembles, meaning there will be a whole lot of Jamaaladeen to go around. And that isn’t counting the VR Tacuma, represented by an avatar as part of Ropeadope Lounge Metaverse.

“All of the experiences of my life made me who I am today,” Tacuma said. “I’m able to know about all things creative, beautiful and upgrading in human excellence. Because I was able to navigate all of these various worlds, I got to know all of its people. I think [that resonates with] the [musicians] I have had for past festivals, and those coming through Philly, starting this weekend.”

Provided by Ropeadope Lounge

In discussing the curation of the Outsiders Festival, Tacuma tells Metro that the fest has been partnering with various venues around the city to increase its impact and audience base.

“Jamaal selects the diverse array of venues to give the audience a wide array of experiences,” says Rahima Tacuma, Jamaladeen’s wife and pivotal collaborator. “Jamaaladeen’s musical language is eclectic and each of the venues offers the audience a different kind of listening experience.

“South was chosen as it represents the traditional supper club vibe with its wonderful fine dining experience along with its world class music,” she continues. “The Painted Bride’s new space gets back-to-basics and gives the neighborhood a vibrant creative space to engage with art and music… and the CEC was the home of the first Outsiders concert in 2015, which was more of a marathon, lasting from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m., and the CEC is an historical African American run venue for music, dance, poetry, and visual arts — an intimate listening experience, with the building itself giving off great creative energy.”

While Outsider’s November and December events offer music and inspiration with John Coltrane at South and poet Jayne Cortez at the CEC, the Painted Bride affair is thrilling in both musical and visual ways. This unique presentation merges the world of live music with virtual reality. Attendees around the world can experience a full live performance and film screening broadcasted into VR for avatars to watch, and the VR world will be beamed back to the Clef Club on South Broad Street on their movie screen. Following the performance, there will be an after-party in VR, where fans can chat with the musicians and each other.

Bored by Zoom meetings and live Zoom events around the time that New Jersey’s Ropeadope label released Tacuma’s new studio album, both label and artist decided to embark on a virtual venture.

“Jamaaladeen has been working to expand the global music community, touring the world while bringing Philly’s groove with him as a “music ambassador,” of sorts,” says Rahima. “The metaverse gives him one more place to reach an audience that is forward thinking. They must be forward thinking, just by the fact they are experimenting with VR. It is clear they want to experience things in new ways.”

For more information, visit jamaaladeenmusic.com

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