Home » Poetry » BROTHER IS HIS FIRST NAME (Eintou for Brother Kelan Phil Cohran)

BROTHER IS HIS FIRST NAME (Eintou for Brother Kelan Phil Cohran)

FB_IMG_1494122905850I wrote this series of Eintou poetry to be performed on May 8, 2017 at the Chicago Academy of Music Conservatory’s celebration of music icon Brother Kelan Phil Cohran’s 90th birthday at the historic St. Adalbert’s Catholic Church in the Pilsen community. I was honored to perform with Robert ‘Baabe” Irving III on keyboards, Junius Paul on bass, Duke Payne on saxophone, and Kahil El Zabar on percussion as Brother Kelan watched from a “throne” onstage.  Unfortunately, I ran over my allotted time (imagine that, a long-winded poet), and I was unable to present them during the actual performance. As an artist, I owe a great debt to Brother Kelan. The reason the Funky Wordsmyths album features two odd-metered compositions is because our late Musical Director, Oscar “Bobo” Brown III, was another one of his students (like Earth Wind & Fire). Brother Kelan Phil Cohran’s vision, dedication, and commitment to using his gifts for the benefit of black people (and society as a whole) have been a great inspiration for generations of musicians and artists.

Peace, Blessings & Thanks to Brother Kelan Phil Cohran!



Is his first name.

One time he told me that,

“The Blackman is a creator!

Make your own instrument.”

No Frankephone

For me.



A healing art.

Rhythm and harmony

Uplift the spirit, heart, and mind.

In the right hands,

It’s a weapon

Of peace.



Is a song that

Features the frankephone,

A thumb piano invented

To create great music

By Kelan Phil



He’s taught

More teachers than

Some teachers have students.

His impact is exponential!

That’s because he gives back:

Each one; teach one

Times “x”



Living legend

Black Power Music man

Waging war one note at a time


Understates his




Are called “blessings.’

His cup runneth over!

And his tribe flourishes and grows

The village it takes to

Raise a child is

His home.



To influence

Society without

Resorting to street violence.

Contemplating stars as

African Skies

Go bye.



For the Cohrans,

Is the family business.

Generations of them have shared

Their musical blessings

I’ve witnessed it



The harp

Sounds so soothing

As it’s plucked and strummed by

The hands of a master harpist.

Musical therapy

his listeners

can feel.



Carry your gear

In and out of your gig

So… you can just be, “an artist”

Or so you don’t have to

Carry in all

Your stuff.


I think

Kelan stays fit

Because he eats right and

He is often… his own roadie.

Whatever he does… works!

Still gigging and



Thank you

For teaching us

That musicality

Is not limited to four-four

Signatures and c-scales.

There’s so much more

To play.


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