Written by M.D. Caprario: M D Caprario is a free lance writer working in NY, LA, and San Francisco
The City Walk/City Loft at Universal City has something for everyone. A brilliant-lit carnival for grown-ups, there are dance clubs, movie theaters, and restaurants of every kind imaginable, including- be still my heart- a Starbuck’s combied with a gourmet bakery. (Can you spell ‘double yum’?) Said Starbuck’s was still open at 11:30 p.m. on the Saturday night I visited. There are also a number of very interesting retail shops, including a store devoted to the sale of all things chocolate and a children’s bookshop.
BB Kings House of Blues is upstairs in the City Loft area. A jumpin’ hot night spot featuring fine music and good libation and eats, the club’s top floor offers bar style seating looking down onto the stage three floors below. It’s from this vantage point that I watched spoken word artist and singer Ambokile and her group ‘Ambolism’ in action.
The house was so packed, I had to ask someone to save my seat so that I could pop downstairs to shoot some photographs. Coincidentally (although we know there are no coincidences) the person I asked for this help was none other than the husband of Diane Carter, one of Ambokiles back-up singers. Thanks, Donovan!
With Sir Harry Bowens having taken her under his wing as vocal coach, and a new CD, ‘Simply’ Ambokile,’ just out (produced by Myc Hulsinger of Private Moment Productions), the buzz for Ambokile’s 9:00 p.m. performance was predictably amazing. The sold-out audience was ready for the main treat and they were not disappointed.
Ambokile- all six feet of her- strode gracefully onto the stage, her long, long legs clad in hip hugger jeans topped with a wide belt, her buff arms left bare by a spaghetti strap top. Her long dark hair was pulled into a ponytail and topped with a cap that stated perfectly ‘I am Ambokile.’ Her diamond hoop earrings sparkled and sent light everywhere as she took the mike into her hands like she’d done it a million times and greeted the crowd and began to move with the drummer’s backbeat.