Mavis Staples: Action
What a terrifying time to rise our voices / But see I’m not left with minimal choices / I gotta put it into action / Doing it A too Z / Until I set myself free
Mavis Staples is one of the greatest gospel, soul and R’n’B singers. With her family’s group. the Staple Singers, she moved from a Christian gospel group to politically active members of the civil rights movement. This perspective is still noticeable in her music today, like this call to Action, The song is written by
tUnE-yArDs’ Merrill Garbus. Marvis Staples’ voice is timeless, the message of her music is still so relevant. Her new album Livin On A High Note is out on Anti- records Febuary 19th.
(I was introduced to Marvis Staples and the history of the Staple Singers by this great interview with Jesse Thorn of NPR’s Bullseye)
Jamila Woods – blk girl soldier
(Direct link to soundcloud)
This is so good and so timely. A day after Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the US, a day that this year was the stage for #BlackLivesMatter protest action, Jamila Woods, a vocalist and poet from Chicago, released this track. The song connects music to protests, both of the civil rights movement era in the 50s/60s and today, as Woods explains:
“I’m interested in figuring out what freedom songs would sound like in 2016. My hope is that ‘blk girl soldier’ is a freedom song for black women today who are fighting the macro and microagressions of daily life in our city/country/world.”
She also sings about #blackgirlmagic, another concept or movement – the positive highlighting of the great and beautiful things Black girls and women – that is controversial because it is so important and effective.
Plus, it’s a really great song with a fantastic beat.