With her raw, punch-to-the-gut, spoken-word approach to performing, Marla Mase seems like 2013’s answer to the great Patti Smith. Like Smith, she is a New York-based writer, singer, and performer whose primal poetic fury has already proven to be globally influential. On her 2013 album Speak Deluxe, a re-release of 2011’s Speak featuring six new tracks, Mase experiments with elements of rock, punk, funk, and reggae in order to tackle the issues ravaging society today. Songs like the guitar-heavy “Piece of Peace,” debuted at the United Nations Global Peace Day 2012, and the ironically upbeat, reggae-rock anthem “AnnaRexia,” written for Mase’s “Love Your Ass” campaign, display the singer’s rebellious refusal to meet both musical and societal expectations.
Accompanied by guitarist Tomás Doncker and his band, Mase is set to present “SPEAK,” a multimedia concert and performance piece incorporating live music, spoken word, dance and visual imagery at this weekend’s NYC SummerStage 2013. For the sake of the show’s energy, I sincerely hope it pours, as fans of Mase are more likely to be those who would dance in the mud than be sticks in it.