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by World Music Network February 08, 2012


Esperanza Spalding Celebrates US Black History Month

spaldingJazz/World vocalist and bass player Esperanza Spalding has released 'Black Gold' as the first single from her forthcoming album, Radio Music SocietyThe Afro-centric implication of the title is no coincidence. Black History Month is a national annual celebration for the remembrance of significant people and events in the history of the African diaspora. It is celebrated annually in the United States and Canada in February and the United Kingdom in the month of October.

The remembrance originated in 1926 by historian Carter G. Woodson as 'Negro History Week'. Woodson chose the second week of February because it marked the birthdays of two Americans who greatly influenced the lives and social condition of African Americans: former President Abraham Lincoln and abolitionist and former slave Frederick Douglass. Woodson also founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, which is now known as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History.

'Black Gold' was released on February 1 — the first day of Black History Month in the US. The music itself connects jazz aesthetics to the sounds of black popular music today. Spalding wrote some commentary on the track for members of the press:

This song is singing to our African American heritage before slavery. Over the decades, so much of the strength in the African American community has seeded from resistance and endurance. I wanted to address the part of our heritage spanning back to pre-colonial Africa and the elements of Black pride that draw from our connection to our ancestors in their own land. I particularly wanted to create something that spoke to young boys. 

A sample lyric from 'Black Gold':

Think of all the strength you have in you
From the blood you carry within you
Ancient man
Powerful man
Builders of civilization