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How UGOCHI & A.S.E. Made It Rain

Updated: Jun 28, 2023

Most people think of rain as an inconvenient and unnecessary moment in the life of a day. It stops outdoor plans and groups from gathering, messes up hair, drenches clothes, causes traffic jams and is just irritating, in general. But the rain is so necessary and cleansing to the earth. I consider it a great day whenever the heavens open up and release a divine solution onto the earth, literally pouring out a blessing, leave a rainbow in its absence. That morning, sun scorched concrete streets of Chicago. I watched tempers rise with temperatures from the pavement and felt the heat of the sun on the nape of my neck as I moved about Chi-City. There was not even a hint of rain.

Earlier in the morning, I completed "Sacred Selah & Sage," the two day, five stop clearing and saging of the four corners that encompass Chicago. A small, purposed collection of soul sisters, led by Pilar Audain Reed, gathered, burned sage, prayed, played music, sweat, sat in silence and eventually departed, leaving all of that energy to resonate into infinity. Pilar brought her rain stick. It is very sacred and rarely leaves her home. I utilized this sonic technology during the corner pop up and connected with it immediately. It's intricate design and enticing sound of rain washing a sandy beach soothed my spirit. I was so enamored by the stick, that I wanted to add it to my set later on that evening at the Navy Pier Miller Lite Beer Garden.

I arrived for load-in and caught the band that was ending their set. Beautiful Spanish and Portuguese music enveloped the environment. All was good. All was clear. Once the band ended their set and broke down their equipment, my band and I took the stage. I set up my percussion instruments as I normally do, but this time I had the special rain stick on the stage leaning on my percussion stand with my other instruments. The moment I opened my mouth and sang the first lines of African Buttafly, I saw the clouds began to swirl and form. Without warning, the wind began to whip dried leaves and debris in the air and around the platform. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. I wanted to open up the set playing the rain stick, but I dared not touch it, fearing it would crack open the sky.

We managed to get through our first set before the heavy rain shower forced the sound engineer to shut down the sound. The rain is becoming something of a regular occurrence when we play at Navy Pier. But that is not a problem for me. Watching the rain fall into a large body of water is quite calming to watch. I didn't understand the depth of sacredness represented by the rain before but I am beginning to get more comfortable with this happening to and around me.

Big up & massive thanks to Navy Pier and everyone who took time out of their precious lives to share a moment with us. We had a wonderful time with you all under the elements of intense sun, whistling wind and warm rain. All of it and your presence blessed us richly.

📷- Ajani Akinade (Profile Pic) / Janet Mami Takayama (Gallery Pics)

(Pictured from left to right)

Shawn Wallace

Deshon Newman

Justin Boyd

Jeff Harris


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