Fertile Ground is one of my top 10 groups of all time. From the instrumentation and production led by genius producer James Collins to the mesmerizing vocals of Navasha Daya, I became a fan in 1999 when a good friend invited me to check them out in Baltimore, MD where they would perform regularly at free outdoor concerts at Hopkins Plaza. From the upbeat "Peace and Love" to the somber ballad "June," every Fertile Ground song I heard became my favorite. I've been a groupie ever since.
After the bounce
So imagine my surprise when I attended last week's amazing Soul Symphony
concert at Howard University, where Navasha was introduced by
the emcee as the lead singer of Fertile Ground who is
embarking on a new solo career. I had not a clue that Fertile Ground
may be losing their lead singer--who the group is mostly
known for--or, worse yet, breaking up. While Daya and Collins divorced recently and James
will be marrying radio host Maria More of
Atlanta's Hot 107.9 this May, the band has always appeared to present a public
image that has never indicated disharmony or the threat of break-up.
Nevertheless, Navasha has been actively performing and traveling
nationally these past two years as a solo artist or as part of the Three
Generations, a group dedicated to the preservation of Native
American and African song.
that Navasha's solo run is not an end to the organic Soul machine known
as Fertile Ground. However, if it does come to that, Navasha's
career will most definitely take off. At the Soul Symphony concert, she
threw it all the way down with her rousing renditions of "Betcha By Golly
Wow" in tribute to Phyllis Hyman and Chaka Khan's
"Tell Me Something Good." Her performances were captivating during this show, which recognized the power of Soul music while honoring legend Roberta
Flack. I would have loved to have taken photos or video of the
performance to show you, but the venue--and
Flack--prohibited all of that. Photographer to
the stars and popular podcaster, Stevie Robinson, however, was front and center and
able to catch some of the goodness on stage through still photography,
including Navasha doing her thing. Peep her photos below and check out Stevie's Soul podcast when you get a moment. Enjoy.