Funky values 

Why should the conservatives have a monopoly on proclaiming family values? Can't the left get in on the debate? Better yet, how about the funkateers?

And to the musical minds of husband-and-wife team Fatin Dantzler and Aja Graydon — known as Kindred the Family Soul — rhythm has its very foundations in the lives they share with each other — and their three young children.

Dantzler, 32, and Graydon, 27, will join R&B's Anthony Hamilton and Heather Headley at the Fox Theatre in Detroit for the Change Your World Tour on Sunday.

As the musical progeny of such legendary R&B husband-and-wife duos as Ike and Tina Turner and Ashford and Simpson, Kindred has an old soul flavor, but Dantzler and Graydon claim membership in the "hip-hop generation." They attribute the success of their debut CD, Surrender To Love, and their 2005 follow-up, In This Life Together, to balancing past and present influences.

"We just write stuff that comes out of us," says Graydon. "We're not inclined to be raunchy."

Instead, the message in songs like the infectious "Sneak a Freak" is that sexual passion has its time and place. Does having three little ones at home — Aquil, 7, Diya, 3, and Nina, almost 2 — keep Kindred's lyrics tasteful?

"We're definitely conscious of it, but we don't go out of our way to say, 'We have to make this family-friendly,'" Graydon says.

Dantzler recalls '70s and '80s soul music that families could enjoy together at cookouts, or while listening to the 8-track during weekend drives: "When we think about Marvin Gaye and Donny Hathaway and some of the music we grew up with, they weren't songs that our parents had to put us out of the room to enjoy."

They celebrate their eighth wedding anniversary in September and say it's been an exciting journey from their home in Philadelphia to stages throughout the country.

Though they started out as solo acts, the couple's stage name pretty much explains it all:

"We just felt like we could get a lot further by making a statement between the two of us," Dantzler says.

Kindred souls — family or otherwise — tend to bond that way.


7:30 p.m., Sunday, May 14, at the Fox Theatre, 2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-471-6611.

Eddie B. Allen Jr. is a freelance writer. Send comments to

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