Battle of the Boroughs: Bronx Edition

Last night, WNYC and WQXR sponsored the fourth annual Battle of the Boroughs competition at The Greene Space. To sum it up, Battle of the Boroughs gathers the best of the best from each borough and audience members (and the public) get to vote for who they’d like to represent their borough at the Ultimate Battle in June.

The musicians representing the Bronx were: Blue Meadow, Corky Has a Band, I am B 13, Yurby, Al-Lisha Burns, Bill Santen, Flow Freequan, Captains of Industry, Tee Dot Ohh and Liya Marie, Emily Angell, marie-claire, and Tyrone-Birkett/Emancipation.

The event was hosted by Terrance McKnight and the night’s commentators were

Though I’d love to give you a full review on each and every act (they were all really great. I’m excited to find out the finalists on Monday!), I don’t think you’re in the mood to read some long tome on the internet. Below are the groups that stood out to me the most:

Blue Meadow



Blue Meadow was  the first group to perform. They began slowly coming to life as each member began to play his instrument. By coming to life, I mean that they were literally slumped over before and sprang up when one of their band members gestured to them. One of the coolest things I noticed about the band is that all of the members sing. The drummer was actually the first person to begin singing, so that was pretty awesome. They have a smooth, rhythmic rock thing going out, kind of like Maroon 5, but with a little more soulfulness. I could definitely see me buying their music.

Corky Has a Band


While live tweeting the battle, I said, “Corky Has a Band Just Did Unimaginable Things to a Piano Just Now” and I was not lying. Described as hyper-vaudevillian, their music is as surprising as it is carefully orchestrated. The duo incorporates the entire instrument into their performance in a purposeful discordant harmony.  And there was a kazoo.  Who can play a kazoo and make it work in 2013? Probably only Sergeant Whiskers and Professor Tickles.

I am B 13


He had me when he said, ” This is dedicated to the rappers who rapped about nonsense.” YES.  Commentator Helga Davis (love her)  said it perfectly after I am B 13’s performance when she said, “I can tell you read.” Educated rap is a beautiful thing. It’s so refreshing to hear multisyllabic words in a rap song. He said ‘pantomime,’ you guys. Plus, there’s just something really endearing about a rapper with braces who says lines like, ” If you got a problem with me, go to a mathematician.”

Captains of Industry 


Captains of Industry utilized a recording someone had made on a seemingly ordinary day in Germany. or Austria. The base of their completely improvised performance was a soundtrack of cars honking, dogs barking, and people walking. The drummer used some sort of plastic tubes instead of drum sticks, which was very cool because you could hear the sound echoing through them. It kind of reminded me of Australian dj group, The Avalanches.

Check out some photos of the other musicians:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Mark Your Calendars: Battle of the Boroughs April 5, 2013!

WNYC and WQXR is hosting the 4th annual Battle of the Boroughs next Friday. Read more about the event and come out to support the Bronx!


The Greene Space at WNYC and WQXR Announces the Fourth Annual


Annual City-wide Competition to Discover NYC’s Best Emerging Talent  

Kicks Off with the BROOKLYN BATTLE on Friday, February 1 at 7pm


For The First Time, Grand Prize Includes Guest Artist Appearance

at Amateur Night at the Legendary Apollo Theater

Let’s get ready to battle! The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space at WNYC and WQXR has announced the contestants of its fourth annual BATTLE OF THE BOROUGHS, New York City’s premiere search for undiscovered musical talent.

The contestants, hailing from all five boroughs, were culled from hundreds of submissions. From country gospel and experimental rock to a Latin string quartet and soul funk jazz, the 64 musical acts representing their home boroughs capture the excellence, vitality and diversity of the New York City musical scene.

these musicians will compete in Borough Battles at The Greene Space, WNYC and WQXR’s intimate and acoustically-superior street-level performance venue. The borough winners will go onto the final showdown, The Ultimate Battle, on Friday, June 21. The winners will be selected through votes from both the live studio audience and the online audience watching via live webcast. Voting will be available online at via mobile phone by texting vote codes to 69866.


For the first time ever, the Ultimate Battle Grand Prize winner will be awarded with the opportunity to perform at the iconic APOLLO THEATER as a guest artist at its signature series, Amateur Night.


Every Battle will be emceed by award-winning WQXR host TERRANCE MCKNIGHT. This year, insightful commentary will be provided by musicians, singers, industry executives, and WNYC and WQXR staffers, including:


  • GERI ALLEN, Composer and jazz pianist
  • CHRIS BANNON, Vice President, Content Development and Production, WNYC
  • HAKIM BELL, Singer, songwriter and producer
  • NONA HENDRYX, Singer, songwriter, and producer
  • FRANCO IEMMELLO, Vice President of Rhythm Promotion, Capitol Records
  • WES JACKSON, Executive Director of The Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival
  • CHRISTIAN MCBRIDE, Bassist and composer
  • STEVE PAGEOT, Grammy Award-winning producer
  • MIKE RINZEL, Senior Director, Digital, WQXR
  • JOHN SCHAEFER, Host of WNYC’s Soundcheck and New Sounds
  • STEVE PAGEOT, Grammy Award-winning producer

The last act standing at the final battle will win an exclusive concert at The Greene Space with live video webcast, a professional, multi-track recording session, a Tekserve package including iPads, a professional photo shoot, a produced music video and, for the first time, a guest artist appearance at Amateur Night at The Apollo.

April 5: THE BRONX

I Am B13 (rap)

Captains of Industry (Free Jazz)

Tee Dot Ohh Liya Marie (Singer/Rapper)

Blue Meadow (Rock)

marie-claire (Jazz)

Kevin Batchelor’s Grand Concourse (Reggae/Ska)

Daphya (Hip hop/ R&B)

Bill Santen (Folk)

Flow Freequan (Rap)

Yurby (Folk/Alternative Rock/Blues)

Al-Lisha Burns (R&B/ Pop/)

Corky Has a Band (Hyper- Vaudevillian Performance Art)

Tyrone Birkett/Emancipation (Postmodern Spirituals, Jazz, Soul, Gospel)

Emily Angell (Folk-Pop)


Where:            The Greene Space at WNYC and WQXR

                              44 Charlton Street (at Varick Street)

                              New York, NY 10014

Tickets:           Tickets for all events are on sale now at

One Borough: $15 ticket includes a complimentary glass of wine or beer; $30 ticket includes open wine and beer bar.

All Borough Badges: New this year! $90 for general admission to all five borough battles and winner’s concert, with a complimentary glass of wine or beer at each event; $180 for VIP admission to all five borough battles and winner’s concert with an open wine and beer bar.

Official Website:


New York Public Radio is New York’s premier public radio franchise, comprising WNYCWQXRThe Jerome L. Greene Performance Space, and New Jersey Public Radio, as well as and As America’s most listened-to AM/FM news and talk public radio stations, reaching 1.1 million listeners every week, WNYC extends New York City’s cultural riches to the entire country on-air and online, and presents the best national offerings from networks National Public Radio, Public Radio International, American Public Media, and the British Broadcasting Company. WQXR is New York City’s sole 24-hour classical music station, presenting new and landmark classical recordings as well as live concerts from the Metropolitan Opera, the New York Philharmonic, among other New York City venues, immersing listeners in the city’s rich musical life. In addition to its audio content, WNYC and WQXR produce content for live, radio and web audiences from The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space, the station’s street-level multipurpose, multiplatform broadcast studio and performance space. New Jersey Public Radio extends WNYC reach and service more deeply into New Jersey. For more information about New York Public Radio, visit