Thievery Corporation heals Cincinnati with soulful performance

Despite the Cincinnati Reds having an 8-game losing streak, fans were cheering inside Bogart’s Cincinnati Concert Venue on May 9th, 2024 thanks to Thievery Corporation!

Thievery Corporation is a global band, representing many parts of the world. It’s the music of the people, for the people. They are the singing, reggae, hip-hop infused, multi-lingual, acid jazz, bossa nova group I could listen to all day and all night but the truth is, they are the type of music I prefer to listen to on my vinyl player. You can’t just put one finger on these guys and say they are this kind of music or fall into that category. It teaches me that I don’t have to accept just being one thing in this world. I can be a photographer, a philanthropist, a martial arts instructor, a son, a brother, a loved and loving person. Thievery Corporation’s music has always found a way to help me accept myself for who I am and how my wildly hyperactive my mind works.

And in times like these where the whole world is truly feeling pain, Thievery Corporation soothes and heal the soul.

I don’t merit that acknowledgement lightly. When people ask me about “bands”,  I speak differently than I do when discussing genres like EDM or performances by DJs. Bands to me include languages in harmony with an ensemble of strings, horns, drums and such. The biggest concept is multiple people working together to create music. So, when I think of a band that has inspired me to be the philanthropic, energizing photographer that I am today, I think of Thievery Corporation.

I’ve seen Thievery Corporation perform live a handful of times over the past 16 years. I’ve traveled across California, Red Rocks, Lollapalooza, Las Vegas, and Flagstaff Arizona but none have ever matched my very first experience at Rothbury Music Festival in 2008. Every single time Loulou Ghelichkani sings “Heaven’s Gonna Burn Your Eyes”, it brings tears to my eyes and cleanses my soul. It’s a reminder to me of the humanity we all need to have in a time where the world needs more empathy and love. It was amazing to hear them play that song at Bogart’s Cincinnati, along with some of my other favorites like “Lebanese Blonde” and “Facing East”. Those two songs in particular include Rob Meyers jamming out on one of the most unique instruments, the sitar. In fact, it was Thievery Corporation itself that introduced me to the sitar in 2008. Even though the band was missing some key figures like Eric Hilton at the Cincinnati show that Thursday, Rob Garza, Loulou, and Mr. Lif organized an amazing experience for the music lovers.

When I listen to the music of Thievery Corporation I think to myself there is much more to the world than just being an image maker. Being an artist means having the ability to inspire the world through the tools you have access to and the people you wish to help in the end. They can empower people to make great changes for the better of humanity. Within the first 60-seconds of listening to any Thievery Corporation song I know my taste, my drive, my heart’s desire around photography, the arts, and business changes to help heal people’s pain, as their music does for many. It opens up a world of acceptance I had never known before that night in Rothbury back in 2008. As a young boy with a wild mind I thought the world could never understand me. Thievery Corporation has always proved me wrong by casting a bright light over my life like a hot flaring sun on a humid Lake Michigan shoreline. Every time Thievery Corporation starts playing music I begin to think about the famous words of Bob Marley, “One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.” That’s because they too create music to help inspire the next generation through love and commitment.

Having this opportunity to document Thievery Corporation in my hometown was more than an honor, it was a full-circle moment for me. The band that inspired me to become a music festival photographer back in 2008 was finally in my hometown and I had the chance to use my passion to document their experience. By finally living the life of acceptance that I’ve always wanted, I became more than just a photographer because today I also become a storyteller.

I’ve unlocked a better version of myself that may not have been discovered without the assistance of Thievery Corporation’s music.

Now every time I start to think I have negative thoughts and doubts about myself I lay on my couch and listen to my favorite Thievery Corporation vinyl, Babylon Rewound and let Thievery Corporation save my soul once again through the healing energies of their music.

Photography by Rudy Frank II

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