“There are all sorts of emotions that can be encapsulated by art,” Imani Winds’ oboist Toyin Spellman-Diaz said in a recent interview. On February 5 2021, the Imani Winds released BRUITS, a recording project that indeed captured the emotions of Black and Brown people while emphasizing a needed change to an underlying American history. It features three world premieres by composers Vijay Iyer, Reena Esmail, and Frederic Rzewski.
Lucky Daye’s new album Table For Two, released on February 12, 2021, is his widescreen vision of R&B. Daye emerges with a signature sound of his own, painting his life story about growing up in a cult and surviving Hurricane Katrina, as well as making music in Atlanta. Now based in Los Angeles, the singer-songwriter remains the synthesist of traditional and progressive R&B modes while staying true to his foundation in classical soul. It encompasses everything from the explosive, funky bombast of seventies favorites to the vibrant swagger of late nineties classics.
Kevin Parker, the brains behind the psychedelic music project Tame Impala, welcomed his newborn daughter, Peach, into the world just over a month ago. However, that’s not the only thing the Australian multi-instrumentalist is celebrating. In February of 2020, Tame Impala released The Slow Rush, which won five Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Music Awards as well as two GRAMMY nominations.
22gz, also known as “the General,” openly claims to be one of the pioneers of the Brooklyn drill music scene. That claim was backed by his 2017 single Suburban, which created an explosion of remixes and a surge in popularity for the genre. As early as 2014 Blicky affiliates have been releasing music, however 22gz is the only one of the group to gain traction beyond Brooklyn, thus explaining his position as the “General of the Blick army,” as he states on the recent track “LLNB.”
Silk Sonic’s Debut Performance at the 2021 Grammy Awards Show
Artists Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak have combined their musical talents to form the duo Silk Sonic. This collaboration has led to their debut single Leave the Door Open, a track that reminds many listeners of the soulful R&B of the 70s. With matching copper suits and a vibe reminiscent of the syndicated television program Soul Train, Silk Sonic delivered their debut TV performance at the 2021 Grammy Awards show on March 14th after successfully petitioning the Recording Academy through the power of Social Media.
Yoasobi, a Japanese music duo composed of Vocaloid producer, Ayase, and singer-songwriter, Ikura, became the biggest hit of the year in the country. The group formed in 2019, releasing their debut single, “Racing into the Night,” which topped the Japanese Billboard charts for three consecutive weeks in June 2020. Their popularity was sealed with an attention-grabbing animated music video that created a bonafide sensation and their notoriety has only gotten stronger throughout the course of the year.
Every second spent hearing Edel Muñoz perform is so mesmerizing, it feels like a moment suspended in time. A captivating, world-class performer, Muñoz played the season-ending concert of the Cleveland Classical Guitar Society’s International Series on April 17th. Premiered on YouTube and available on-demand for 30 days, the enchanting program featured music from across the Americas, including Mexico, Venezuela, and Muñoz’s native Cuba.
Despite the instability of the world, artists continue to create — expressing their experiences and declaring the meaning of life in unique ways. Grammy-nominated R&B singer-songwriter Jazmine Sullivan released a versatile album on January 8 2021. Heaux Tales follows the untold stories of empowerment among Black women while laying waste to the patriarchal definitions of female sexuality.1
Ambrose Akinmusire’s trumpet has a voice, and that voice has stories to tell and feelings to share. Akinmusire’s 6th album, on the tender spot of every calloused moment, is many things: critically acclaimed, the 2020 Grammy award winner for Best Instrumental Jazz Album, and a showcase of profound technical skill and experience. But beyond accolades, the record is a collection of gentle whispers, heated shouts, pleas, promises, disappointments and triumphs.
Critically acclaimed and Grammy Award-winning musician Rhiannon Giddens released her fifth album, They’re Calling me Home, in collaboration with Francesco Turrisi, on April 9th on Nonesuch records. In a small studio on a farm along the outskirts of Dublin, Ireland, Giddens and Turrisi produced the twelve-track record that longs both for the literal comfort of home and the metaphorical “calling home” of death. In the middle of a pandemic, and with songs ranging from Appalachian folk tunes and American bluegrass to Italian lullabies and traditional Celtic music, Giddens and Turrisi emotionally reveal the traditions and intimate roots that beckon each other home.