Music

Akua Naru Celebrates the Blackest Joy with new LP (album stream)

Jedd Beaudoin
Photo: Katja Ruge / Courtesy of EI-PR

Akua Naru's new LP, The Blackest Joy, highlights a collage of hopes, history, and fears at a deeply tumultuous moment in history.

Akua Naru's 11-song LP, The Blackest Joy, is out now. Her fourth release, the record brings together a dizzying array of influences, including jazz, hip-hop, and world music in a fashion not dissimilar from the pioneering sounds of the Last Poets and Gil Scott Heron. Throughout, Naru touches on themes of femininity, empowerment and black pride. Moreover, she brings with her a message about the enduring power of the human spirit.

"Sweat" is a moving, power-packed collage of images of a life/lives filled with struggles that finds a way to lift the listener up. "Serena" celebrates tennis great Serena Williams while incorporating elements of classic hip-hop juxtaposed with haunting, memorable melodic passages. "The Offering", which features the inimitable Mulatu Astatke, promises to be one of the most discussed moments of the collection. "Baldwin's Crown" brings together a variety of rhythms from African and jazz to funk and soul, while the anthem of empowerment, "Made It" gets a boost from veteran artist Eric Benét.

More important than the guests here and certainly equal to the power of the statements are Naru's performances. She's unwavering, fearless throughout, a voice that delivers a poignant and powerful portrait of life at this moment in history. To do so without flinching, without softening the realities, without apologizing is rare. To do so it as convincingly as Naru does here, even more so. This isn't a statement about life in a consumerist culture on the verge of collapse, this is a dispatch from the planet Earth about a world that's teetering on the edge of a massive evolution, one that brings with it a series of realities and anxieties, hopes and fears.

TOUR DATES

Wednesday 02 May 2018

The Fleece, Bristol, UK

Thursday 03 May 2018

The Garage, London, UK

Saturday 05 May 2018

Bevrijdingsfestival Nijmegen 2018 - Nijmegen, Netherlands

Friday 18 May 2018 – Saturday 19 May 2018

Open Air am Berg Festival 2018 - Open Air Am Berg, Eichstätt, Germany

Friday 18 May 2018 – Monday 21 May 2018

Open Ohr Festival 2018 - Zitadelle Mainz, Mainz, Germany

Sunday 20 May 2018

Kleines Haus, Bremen, Germany

Monday 21 May 2018

Privatclub, Berlin, Germany

Tuesday 22 May 2018

Schanzenzelt, Hamburg, Germany

Thursday 24 May 2018

Paard, The Hague, Netherlands

Friday 25 May 2018

TivoliVredenburg, Utrecht, Netherlands

Thursday 21 June 2018

Katharinenruine, Nuremberg, Germany

Tuesday 10 July 2018

Vienna Sunsplash 2018

Arena Wien Open Air, Vienna, Austria

Thursday 19 July 2018 – Sunday 22 July 2018

Larmer Tree Festival 2018 - Larmer Tree Gardens, Salisbury, UK

Monday 22 October 2018

clubCANN, Stuttgart, Germany

Tuesday 23 October 2018

Brotfabrik, Frankfurt, Germany

Wednesday 24 October 2018

Jazzhaus, Freiburg, Germany

Friday 26 October 2018

Bahnhof Langendreer, Bochum, Germany

Saturday 27 October 2018

Skaters Palace, Münster, Germany

Tuesday 30 October 2018

PPC, Graz, Austria

Monday 05 November 2018

Ampere / Muffatwerk, Munich, Germany

Tuesday 06 November 2018

SO36, Berlin, Germany

Thursday 08 November 2018

Knust, Hamburg, Germany

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