Zimbabwe’s Bongo Love, out of Africa and into Boston

By Talia Whyte

The Bay State Banner

Thanks to the instant, worldwide connections made possible by the new frontier of online social networking, more musicians than ever are finding audiences in far-flung places.

Case in point: the Zimbabwean quartet Bongo Love, who are now traveling the U.S. on a tour that has featured a number of Boston-area stops, including a date this coming Tuesday at the South End nightspot 28 Degrees. The tour is the result in part of a growing fanbase that used a combination of new technology and old-fashioned word of mouth to get them here.

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Pride, family values shine in Hub’s gay black culture

By Talia Whyte

The Bay State Banner

The recent decision by Gov. Deval Patrick’s daughter to come out of the closet marked a significant milestone in what has been a productive year for Boston’s black lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, as it makes strides in the struggle for acceptance and forges stronger allegiances with the larger black community.

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New guide helps tenants fight off foreclosure

By Talia Whyte

Bay State Banner

The number of foreclosures continues to rise in Massachusetts, and the troubling tide is affecting not only homeowners, but renters as well.

There were 1,334 foreclosure deeds in April, a higher number than ever previously recorded in any single month, and the number of deeds through the first four months of 2008 outpaced those in the same period of 2005 by nearly 1,200 percent, according to The Warren Group, a Boston-based publisher of local real estate data and the Banker & Tradesman newspaper.

“The Massachusetts foreclosure mess is just not getting better,” said Warren Group CEO Timothy Warren Jr. in a late May statement accompanying the release of the new data. “Thousands of homeowners are entering the foreclosure process every month, and about one-third of them are losing their homes. It’s staggering to see how the numbers have exploded in the past three years.”

Some housing advocates argue that the explosion has unfairly victimized tenants, many of whom don’t know what rights they have when the buildings that they live in go into foreclosure.

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Spreading the word: With broadcast outlets dwindling, local musicians and fans look to revive Boston’s gospel scene

By Talia Whyte

Bay State Banner

Gospel music is alive in Boston.

Barely.

Since the demise of WILD, the genre’s listeners and performers have had to find innovative ways to keep joyful noises on local airwaves.

The scramble started in October 2005, when media corporation Radio One — owner of about 70 radio stations across the U.S., including Boston’s WILD-AM — decided to move the station’s popular format of largely R&B and soul music off of the AM dial and onto a stronger FM signal.

The switch opened up WILD’s 1090 AM signal, which Radio One decided to re-brand as an urban contemporary gospel music channel called “Praise 1090” and sought to emulate ratings successes enjoyed by other powerful gospel stations around the country.

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