It’s amazing what you can discover when fishing around in pursuit of something to please the ears. Today I have learnt something new about a song I know and love via the discovery of London-based Romare.
Romare is an electronic musician who, whilst studying African American Visual Culture at University, came upon the work of Romare Bearden, (an American artist and writer who depicted African-American life). Bearden’s artworks inspired the young Romare to apply a similar technique to his music and this approach has proved to be highly fruitful and remains central to his work today.
After stints as a drummer and guitarist he moved to Paris where he took to the turntables and began mixing his own music. Just like DJ Shadow, for whom Romare has been compared, he began sampling from his own collection of second hand records and has created his own unique sound as a result.
In 2012 he was signed to Black Acre and is to release his debut album, ‘Projections’ from from Ninja Tune this coming Monday.
The single “Motherless Child” has been chosen for his first release and is one of the catchiest tracks on the album. It succeeds in maintaining the underlying sentiment to this well covered song whilst bringing it into modern day; slowed down vocals encapsulate dreamy compassion whilst a fusion of jazz and afro rhythms add good dynamics to the whole mix.
The song “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Chld” (or simply “Motherless Child”) has been covered for many years and is based on a traditional Negro spiritual, spirituals being songs (generally Christian) that were created by enslaved African people in the United States.
When I first heard ‘Motherless Child’ it was when I saw Ritchie Haven’s perform a live cover of it for 1969’s Woodstock Festival. I love that version but have come to realise that there are a wealth of covers out there all performed by a vast array of artists ranging from the likes of Donny Osmond, Tom Jones, Louis Armstrong right through to Ghostface Killah, John Legend and Prince. I have to admit that Romares version is nearing my favourite..
This is to be his first single release from Romares forthcoming album and demonstrates his fine ability to take an old song and recreate it in his own style.
More can be heard on Romare’s Soundcloud page here
“Projections” will be available via Ninja Tunes this Monday 23rd Feburary