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Chad Latham is gearing up for a fundraiser to help save his fiance’s life.

The benefit, which will feature stand-up comedy and music Oct. 6th at the Hi-Tone, will be held in addition to a GoFundMe for Malak Moustafa, who has hip dysplasia.

If they aren’t able to raise the money for Moustafa’s surgery, she will be immobile for the rest of her life, Latham says.

They need $10,000.

They’ve only received $165 so far.

“She’s a sixth grade teacher at Ridgeway Middle,” Latham says. “The first girl I ever dated. We reconnected later in life.”

They met when they were in the eighth grade. Moustafa is Muslim and Latham is Christian. Latham remembers her dad answering when he called her on the phone. “Because of different cultures and strict parents she was not allowed to date so naturally the very next day I received a note that explained she couldn’t date and that she then had to break up with me.”

Over the years, Latham and Moustafa messaged each other from time to time on Facebook. Latham, who is divorced, told her he had a daughter. Moustafa, a widow, was living in Memphis, Egypt, with her two sons.

In 2015, they began regularly corresponding on Facebook. And never stopped.

Moustafa told him she wanted to move back to Memphis. She wanted her sons “to grow up in a better culture.”

Latham, who finally was able to get Moustafa and her boys to Memphis, proposed to her at the airport after she arrived in June 2016. “The boys were happy knowing they were going to have a daddy for once in their life.”

He knew Moustafa had hip dysplasia, but she said it “didn’t really hold her back from anything growing up.”

But her condition got worse after she gave birth to her boys, he says. “That pretty much kicked it in high gear for advancement in deterioration.”

Over the years, Moustafa “walked wrong” because of her condition, Latham says. “One leg is smaller than the other from lack of muscle mass and not being able to put her normal walking weight on it. Because with hip dysplasia there is nothing to connect the leg bone to the pelvic region. She tries to hide it the best she can, but you can only do that so well and so long. It’s embarrassing and painful for her.”

Moustafa has to have a full bone replacement because of the “grinding down from over the years of walking. It has also caused major scoliosis mainly on her spine. If she doesn't have this surgery as soon as possible, she will be immobile for the rest of her life. Her spine can't stand to get any worse and it kills her every step she takes. I literally have to help massage her back every night to try to find some type of comfort.”

Moustafa doesn’t take any pain pills. “She’s seen first hand what that can do to people. Plus, she’s a fighter. She doesn’t ask anyone for anything.”

Latham decided to contact everyone he knows and who knows her to help him “do something nice for a great soul that deserves to not feel the pain that she feels everyday. “

He wants her “to know what it feels like to walk normal again.”

The fundraiser will include performances from two bands - No Love for Lions and Ego Slip - and MC King Farroah and stand-up comedian Josh McLane.

“I've put my heart into this because she is the love of my life and she deserves it,,” Latham says.

To give to the GoFundMe, go to:

Charles Lloyd — Memphis Marvel

Of the many music talents that Memphis has sent out into the world, Charles Lloyd, the master of the saxophone and flute, may have traveled the furthest and the widest. Indeed, his genre-breaking career has taken him into such diverse musical landscapes, with such grace, that now, aged 80, he's become a kind of musical Walt Whitman, singing the body electric in all its forms.

His appearance at the Germantown Performing Arts Center on September 28th will feature the Marvels. While the rhythm section of Rueben Rogers and Eric Harland remains, the group is filled out with Greg Leisz on pedal steel and Bill Frisell on guitar. This was the group behind Lloyd's latest album, Vanished Gardens, which also features Lucinda Williams on some tracks, often re-imagining her own songs in remarkable ways.

I connected with Lloyd to ask him what Memphis means to him, how the Marvels came to be, and walking the fine line between order and chaos in his music.

Memphis Flyer: What do you take away from your Memphis years that you still feel is fundamental to your playing today?

Charles Lloyd: The mysticism of sound has always been around Memphis, going back to the early spirituals and blues guys to W.C. Handy and Jimmy Lunceford. There was music everywhere. Just walking down a street — if the windows were open, you heard music. It was our inspiration and consolation. In the fourth grade at Melrose, I heard Willie Mitchell's big band and it was like a thunderbolt to my heart. They were standing on the shoulders of Lunceford and Duke Ellington, but more modern — like Dizzy Gillespie's big band. At that time, I had wanted to be a singer, but hearing Willie's band encouraged me to appeal to my parents to get me a saxophone.

Memphis was a very rich environment with so many great musicians; Willie Mitchell, Jeff Greer, Andy Goodrich, Bill Harvey, Fred Ford, Hank Crawford, Floyd Newman, Onzie Horn, Luther Steinberg, Phineas Newborn, Robert Talley, Fat Sonny — to name a few. And Bird was conceived in Memphis, but was born in Kansas City — so I always link his roots to Memphis. It was an historic era for music and I was so blessed to grow up during that time.

I was also blessed that Phineas Newborn Jr. discovered me early and took me to the great Irvin Reason for alto lessons. And Phineas put me in his father, Phineas Sr.'s, band. Together with Junior and his brother, Calvin, we played at the Plantation Inn in West Memphis. Phineas became an important mentor and planted the piano seed in me.

I went to Manassas High School where Matthew Garrett was our bandleader. Talk about being in the right place at the right time! We had a band, the Rhythm Bombers, with Mickey Gregory, Gilmore Daniels, Frank Strozier, Harold Mabern, Booker Little, and myself. Booker and I were best friends; we went to the library and studied Bartók scores together. He was a genius.

We all looked up to George Coleman, who was a few years older than us – he made sure we practiced. George and Harold and I used to play at Mitchell’s Hotel. Lewie Steinberg and I were great friends and we used to do small gigs around town — he played trumpet back then. Later, he switched to bass. After I left Memphis, he joined up with Booker T and the MGs. Last March I invited Booker T to join me for a special concert on my 80th birthday. We had never played together before… it was a magnificent evening.
When I was 12, I started gigging with Bobby Blue Bland and Roscoe Gordon. That led to Johnnie Ace, Junior Parker, Howlin’ Wolf, BB King, Roosevelt Sykes, Rufus Thomas, and Big Mama Thornton. I got to play in Willie Mitchel’s band across the river in West Memphis at Danny’s Club. Al Jackson, Sr. had a great big band with Hank O’Day playing lead alto.

I met Al Vescovo, a great pedal steel player in West Memphis. We became friends and jammed together. We both loved music, but we couldn't play together professionally during those days because of the racist setup. When Bill Frisell and I started playing together, I mentioned that I missed the sound of the pedal steel. He suggested we invite Greg Leisz to sit in during a concert at UCLA. Greg is an amazing musician and he is the “go to” guy for Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney, Jackson Brown, Emmy Lou Harris, Joni Mitchell – and so many. It’s an honor to have him with the Marvels. I’ve come full circle.

Growing up, Herman Green was a highly respected musician. We played together in Willie Mitchell's band for a time. He has had an important impact on many Memphis musicians. Willie was also an important mentor to me. I am proud of having grown up in Memphis and to be a part of its musical heritage.

What more recent Memphis players do you admire or find noteworthy?

There are still many great musicians coming out of Memphis. Mulgrew Miller and James Williams are no longer with us, but there’s Donald Brown and Kirk Whalum, who have forged their way in the world. A few years ago I gave a master class at the Stax Academy and heard some fine playing. Carl and Alan Maguire were at that class and recently sent me a copy of their new recording. They have a double dose of talent and it is encouraging to hear this.

There's a deep feeling for Latin/Brazilian idioms in much of your music. What first turned you on to Latin sounds?

When I was at the University of Southern California, Billy Higgins and I used to play in the pit band at the Million Dollar Theater. We played behind all of the Latin bands coming through L.A. I loved hearing Lucho Gatica, the Frank Sinatra of Latin America. Billy would go rambling with those Latin beats, and the songs opened another world for me. After the gig, they would have a big comida for us. It was great! During this time I also discovered Ravi Shankar, Ali Akbar Khan, and the Ali Brothers.

You did a lot of work with the Beach Boys in the 1970s. Do you feel Brian Wilson gets his due recognition as a composer in the jazz world?

Brian Wilson is a great genius — I have recorded and performed several of his songs over the years. And he has performed on some of my recordings. As time goes on, more and more jazz musicians are recognizing his greatness and recording his songs.

Had you worked with Bill Frisell before the Marvels?

Bill and I used to run into each other at European festivals, and we had a mutual admiration for each other. In 2013, I invited him to do some dates with me. When we first got together, he told me that when he was in high school in Denver, he heard my quartet with Keith Jarrett and that the experience changed the way he looked at making music. Bill has a broad and far-reaching palette. We have a beautiful simpatico together; it's telepathic.

Is the tension between the arranged and the free a constant in your music?

This is a music of freedom and wonder. We challenge ourselves to go exploring. It's about transformation and elevation.

Memphis' first co-working space for creative professionals opens in the Edge District

Wonder / Cowork / Create, officially opens as Memphis’ first full-service creative coworking facility in the Edge District.  Wonder CC offers a flexible coworking space and experimental programming to foster the diverse community of creative freelancers, start-ups, organizations, and small businesses.  

Whether you are looking for a space to “set up shop” alongside other motivated creative professionals, launch the next big idea, looking for a convenient place to meet with clients, or seeking a weekly reprieve from the solitude of working from home or at a coffee shop Wonder CC has the solution for you.

With over 3,000 sq. ft. Wonder CC offers its members a multi-purpose work environment with free Wi-Fi, comfortable seating, worktables & desks, private offices/studio, a meeting room, lockable storage, mailboxes, and free coffee or tea.  Affordable membership options range from daily drop-ins to monthly use starting at $30/ month. In addition, members and outside groups can reserve time on their calendar for public or private events, workshops, exhibitions, music performances and other creative expressions that align with Wonder CC’s mission.

We want to create a sector-specific co-work space that focuses on Memphis creative professionals who are ready to champion a collaborative atmosphere. A space that builds bridges, not silos, with a focus on programming for and by creatives. We want to build a community who is willing to wonder, never goes it alone, and services the community.” Wonder CC Founders

As a developing industry, coworking has witnessed a significant resurgence over the past few years as technology has changed and individuals are becoming more flexible and creative with their professions. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that by 2020, about 65 million Americans will be freelancers or independent contractors, making up about 40% of the workforce. As the workforce leans more towards nomadic working, coworking spaces become more and more important as connective hubs that build
synergy from the proximity and collaboration of working alongside like-minded people. Not only are coworking spaces stimulating, fun and inspiring but places where new relationships are made, problems are solved, and ideas are tested.

Located at 340 B Monroe Avenue, Wonder/ Cowork/ Create’s Grand Opening Weekend includes:
Friday, 09.28.18
$10 cover, complimentary High Cotton Beer (byob ok)
Come on out for a night of drawing games, puns, & prizes. Awards for BEST and WORST drawings!

Saturday, 09.29.18
  • 11AM-4PM: Open House & FREE Coworking
Take a tour of our space, enjoy some complimentary Edge Alley coffee or High Cotton beer, and try a membership on for size! Feel free to ask questions to founders and connect with other creatives!
  • 6PM-10PM: Live Music & Fun!
Pay what you can, complimentary High Cotton and local live music.

For more information, please visit

Wonder / Cowork / Create is a for-creatives, by-creatives co-working hub in Memphis, TN. Wonder CC provides service-based programming and a collaborative atmosphere where artists, creative freelancers & organizations can cross-pollinate and develop innovative projects.
Founders Eric Clausen, Cat Peña and Nick Peña are local artists and with a wealth of knowledge focusing on art education, public art, project management, and collaborative practices.
Memphis Music Initiative: Chic New Space Remakes Fire House into Musical Hub
(image) Today marks a turning point for the Memphis Music Initiative (MMI), now in its fourth year of nurturing musical skills and development in the city. It's the grand opening of the organization's new space, the newly refurbished fire house at the corner of B.B. King and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue. As the staff flitted around us, preparing for today's festivities, Amber Hamilton, MMI's Chief Operations and Strategy Officer, showed off the new offices.
It's a beautiful, light-filled space, cleanly modern, but with details from the building's original design still intact. Construction on the fire house at198 Doctor M.L.K. Jr Ave. was begun in 1923. It ultimately served other uses after being retired from public service, including Chips Moman's studio. The MMI staff all recognize the storied history of the place.
Darren Isom, MMI's executive director, feels the building "at the corner of King and King," is perfectly situated for MMI's mission, combining "social justice with musical genius."  It's also "musically agnostic" and inclusive, he says, befitting it's hub-like location. The MMI's 33 fellows teach at 49 schools throughout the city, and a downtown location is accessible to the whole of Memphis.

The main goal was to create a space conducive to the fellows, students, and staff hanging out. Community, after all, is what MMI is about, says Isom. "It's not just for 'leaders' or career musicians. Even those who go on to other things are part of the creative economy."

Tonight will be filled with music (and much good conversation, one imagines), not to mention food and drink. There will be performances by many of MMI's Music Engagement Teaching Fellows, partner school ensembles, MMI Works youth and more (see below for the line-up).

Parking is free in the FedEx Forum media lot, the gated parking lot at the south corner of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Avenue and B.B. King Blvd. There will also be food trucks aplenty: Polar Tropical Shaved Ice & Sweet Treats, Primal Flames Grill and Pablo's Cuisine & Grill.

Ribbon Cutting 5:15 PM
Stax Music Academy 5:30 PM
Young Actors Guild 6:00 PM
Frayser Mass Band 6:30 PM
Harmonic South String Orchestra 6:50 PM
Trap Jazz 7:05 PM
Lucky 7 Brass Band 19:30

Perfecting Gifts, Inc. 5:30 PM

Calvin Barnes 5:15 PM
Soulsville Choir 6:00 PM
Memphis Jazz Workshop 6:15 PM
Dancing Highlife in Memphis, Obruni Style
(image) One night this summer, with some time to kill, I dropped in to the Wiseacre Brewing Company on Broad Avenue. Walking across the parking lot, I heard grooves not often played in our neck of the woods, and opening the door to the bar, the music suddenly springing into the night, only confirmed that we weren't in West Tennessee anymore. It had to be West Africa.

Filling the room were the sounds of an ace Ghanian highlife band. The band was collaborating that night with dancers who sang along with many of the classic highlife numbers. Hypnotic, joyous guitar arpeggios shimmered over fiercely syncopated beats — this was the real deal! But scanning the players, I saw only familiar faces from other combos around town.

The Obruni Dance Band is indeed comprised of local talent. And, given that many American fans have had African music on their radars since the 1960s, it shouldn't come as a surprise that enough Memphis musicians were big enough fans to eventually create their own band. Here, along with a slideshow using Jamie Harmon's images of the show I chanced upon that night in July, are the details of how that happened. I asked Obruni's founder and lead singer, Adam Holton, about the origins of his interest and what his vision for the group might be.

Memphis Flyer: How did you first get into highlife music, and how deep did you go with it?

Adam Holton: I’m from Memphis and I first learned about highlife and other types of Afro-pop when I was in school at University of Colorado, Boulder. There was an ethnomusicology professor from Ghana named Kwasi Ampene who had a “West African Highlife Ensemble”. I went to see a performance of theirs, and I was blown away by this huge ensemble of 20+ musicians, dancers, and drummers playing this infectious dance music with killer bass lines! I joined the group the next semester and stayed in the group under Kwasi’s leadership until after I graduated. I traveled with Kwasi to Ghana as a part of a study abroad program, and got to sit in a few times at clubs in Accra. I also took some bass lessons from Ralph Karikari, a killer highlife bassist and guitarist who is famous for his role in Dr. K. Gyasi’s Noble Kings band.

It sounds like Boulder must have quite an Afro-pop scene.

The West African Highlife Ensemble would invite guest artists each year for a big performance, and through these special performances I got to back up some heavy hitters including Mac Tontoh of Osibisa, Okyerema Asante, and Paa Kow. Paa Kow is a drum prodigy who was playing professionally before he was a teenager, and he and I started the By All Means Band together in Colorado, playing Afro-funk-fusion. We eventually moved to Memphis in 2007 and played here for a little more than a year before breaking up.

Where did you go from there?

I went in other musical directions with other musical projects (Mister Adams, Big Barton) just following my muse where it wanted to go. Some time in 2016 (about seven or eight years after the band broke up), I kind of looked up and realized that this music that I had devoted many years of my life to learning and playing was no longer a part of my life, and I missed it terribly! No one in town was really doing the Afro-pop thing, so I decided to start a new band. Initially, I tried to find any West African musicians who might be in the area, but to date I haven’t had any success with that. So I just started calling on players who had some world music experience or who have jazz backgrounds and can really play just about anything you throw at them.

Obruni means foreigner in the Akan language of Twi. As a white American in Ghana, you’re kind of a sore thumb, so strangers will playfully call you Obruni as you pass them in the street or markets. I decided to name the band Obruni Dance Band because I figured American audiences wouldn’t know what it meant, and I thought that it would be kind of an inside joke to Ghanaians who would immediately know that the band wasn’t from Ghana. Highlife bands are often really large by comparison to rock bands, which translates to a lot of concentrated human energy during performances. The band started with five members (Logan Hanna, Stephen Chopek, Felix Hernandez, Gerald Stephens, and myself), but we have since added Victor Sawyer and Jawaun Crawford on trombone and trumpet.

So does the band mainly play classic highlife music, or do you write originals in that style?

Right now Obruni plays about 50/50 original music versus covers. We are somewhat limited in the covers that we can do because I am by no means a fluent Twi speaker, and so I mostly focus on songs that are sung in pidgin English. Sometimes, I take a popular rock song, and give it a heavy highlife makeover so that pretty much no one would ever recognize it. We do songs by The Beatles, Nirvana, Dire Straits, and Warren Zevon alongside songs by Osibisa, Prince Nico Mbarga, The Sweet Talks, and George Darko.
See events listed below to discover two ways to hear the Obruni Dance Band this weekend.
Lester Julian Merriweather at ArtUp

Lester Julian Merriweather
RECENT WORKS: 2010-2018

OCTOBER 5 - 18, 2018

FRI, OCT. 5, 2018 | 5:30 - 7:30PM

SAT, OCT. 6, 2018 | 10:00 - 11:00AM

Lester Merriweather's collages use imagery from printed advertising material in fashion and lifestyle magazines. In re-contextualizing these images, Merriweather examines ads, media corporations and their practices of promoting notions of racial prominence, inclusion and exclusion.

Lester Julian Merriweather (b.1978) is a Memphis-based visual artist. He attended the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture. He holds an MFA from Memphis College of Art and a BA from Jackson State University.

Merriweather has exhibited extensively throughout the U.S. at various venues such as the Studio Museum in Harlem, NYC, TOPS Gallery, Powerhouse Memphis, Diverseworks in Houston, Stella Jones Gallery in New Orleans, and the Atlanta Contemporary. He has also exhibited abroad at the Zacheta National Gallery in Warsaw, Poland.

He recently served as the Curatorial Director of the Martha & Robert Fogelman Galleries of Contemporary Art at the University of Memphis and on the Board of Directors for Number, Inc. independent journal. He also served as a founding member of the ArtsMemphis Artist Advisory Council and the artsAccelerator Grant Panel. Merriweather is currently on the Advisory Panel for the CLVT. He is the Curatorial Consultant for the PPF Art Collection in Memphis, Tennessee. 

"Untitled (Big Pink)" 2014-17
Cut-paper Collage on Canvas
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