Thomas Sayers Ellis

Thomas Sayers Ellis

AKAMU representation: European exclusivity
For info and costs please contact Alberto Lofoco

• projects as a leader/co-leader •

Thomas Sayers Ellis - lyric essays / creative lectures with poems on various topics

The Dead Lecturers
"Baby Lonely Iambs" or "Worry-Nation Cycle Liberation" (with a tribute to Jean-Michel Basquiat)
Thomas Sayers Ellis - spoken word
James Brandon Lewis - tenor sax
Melanie Dyer - viola
Alexis Marcelo - piano

Founded in 2012 by James Brandon Lewis and Thomas Sayers Ellis, three years before their larger ensemble Heroes Are Gang Leaders, The Dead Lecturers is an improvisational exchange between units of sound and units of language with the goal of stimulating, within the listener, new ideas of action and non-passive living. Ellis and Lewis have a unique chemistry of agreeing and disagreeing with one another while delivering a potent, creative messages that extend the "Black Literary Oral Tradition".

Heroes Are Gang Leaders
Thomas Sayers Ellis - spoken word
James Brandon Lewis - tenor sax and composition
Randall Horton - spoken word
Bonita Penn - spoken word
Nettie Chickering - vocalist
Melanie Dyer - vocalist and viola
Heru Shabaka-Ra - trumpet
Devin Brahja Waldman - alto sax & synthesizer
Brandon Moses - electric guitar
Jenna Camille - vocals, piano and keyboards
Luke Stewart - electric bass
Warren Trae Crudup III - drums

The passing of Imamu Amiri Baraka in 2014 was a major loss for various facets of Black Radicalism. In politics, culture, and community, Baraka was a strong figure who was a shining example for so many to follow in his footsteps.
Formed from the love and respect of Baraka, a group of poets and musicians, led and founded by James Brandon Lewis & Thomas Sayers Ellis, have come together with a name lifted from one of Baraka's stories. The group embarked on a recording session last fall that blended poetry and music to "outishly" echoe and honor his legacy.
In the tradition of a signifying protest groove comes Heroes Are Gang Leaders. Their style has many mothers, many fathers, and nonecombining jazz, groove, black hollerin and extensions of paged and oral literary text by Gwendolyn Brooks, Bob Kaufman and Amiri Baraka.
Further info at Heroes Are Gang Leaders website
Facebook page

• video Heroes Are Gang Leaders •

Channel of Heroes Are Gang Leaders on YouTube
Live at JazzFest Berlin (31-10-2017)
Live at Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts - Milleniium Stage (28-7-2017)
"The day we gave the globes back, a sing along!" + conversation: The freedom reform forms of performance at Issue's 22 Boerum Theater (Issue Project Room)
same as above on Vimeo

• video Thomas Sayers Ellis •

Video of Thomas Sayers Ellis on YouTube

Thomas Sayers Ellis - James Brandon Lewis - Nothing Personal - Part 4 (12-12-2013)

• audio •

Album "Secret Heroes R U A" (feat. Thurston Moore)

• discography •

2015 - The Avant-Age Garde I AMs of the Gal Luxury (dedicated to Bob Kaufman)
2016 - Highest Engines Near / Near Higher Engineers (dedicated to Gwendolyn Brooks)
2016 - Flukum (dedicated to Etheridge Knight)
2019 - The Amiri Baraka Sessions
2020 - Artificial Happiness Button

• interviews •

Notes Toward a New Duty Now for the Future: An Interview with Thomas Sayers Ellis by Kelsea Habecker Smith (30-6-2018)

• texts & poetry •

All Elders be Eloquence, or One Way to Pay Dem You Owe - On Recording the track "Sad Dictator"
Amiri's Green Chim Chim-knees Growth Tribe
Poetry, Poems, Prose, Blog Posts and other texts
Vernacular Owl - for Amiri Baraka (July-August 2014)

• review •

Skin, Inc. - presentation of the book (2013)
Black History Month Florence: "The Dead Lecturers", tra poesia e musica al PARC di Firenze (in italian)

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