Sounds of Blackness: Inspire and Deliver

Sounds of Blackness have been making music since the early 1970s. They have performed on the world’s largest stages, including the opening ceremonies for the 1994 World Cup and the 1996 Summer Olympics. They have sold millions of records, won three Grammys, and been nominated for awards ranging from The Emmys to the NAACP Image Awards. Sounds of Blackness are more than a band, they are a movement. With melodic melodies they draw upon genres of jazz, gospel and field hollers to celebrate African and African American culture. Becoming a voice for both comfort and inspiration, they speak to the problems of the world, and uplift their audiences with messages of hope and acts of service.

Building upon this foundation, Sounds of Blackness are ready to release their new album “The 3rd Gift: Story, Song & Spirit.” Their CD release celebration, free and open to the public, will be held on Tuesday, August 25 at 6:30 pm at the Mall of America rotunda. Recently I got a chance to speak with the band’s music director and producer, Gary D. Hines. He explained that the title of their new album comes from the prolific civil rights activist W.E.B DuBois, who “pointed out the countless contributions that people of African descent have made to the world and American culture, a notion that at the time was largely dismissed. But in addition to all of those things [DuBois] said, we have brought our three greatest gifts, the gifts of story, song and spirit.” A clear example of how Sounds of Blackness stays cognizant of the past while keeping an eye on the future.

Like W.E.B DuBois, Sounds of Blackness are unafraid to tackle social or political injustices. “We have always been directly and clearly out in front of political/social issues in our music and in our message,” Hines explains. “In our forthcoming album we address the war, the economy, racism, sexism, etcetera, and do our best to offer solutions.” The band uses music to get involved in the solutions they envision. For example, they have helped many organizations on a global level, such as the United Nations, and in their community of Minneapolis with Children’s HeartLink. On their new album they have recorded a few songs regarding domestic violence. Hines explains, “We not only address the problem of domestic violence, but we put our music tangibly to work by partnering with The Institute on Domestic Violence in the African American Community. We have songs that are not only about domestic violence, but are utilized by domestic violence agencies in their treatment programs and in their struggle against domestic violence.” Their music both delivers a message and helps offer a solution. “We not only address issues, but we get into the fight,” Hines adds.

Sounds of Blackness have offered to “put their music to work” once again at the upcoming event Street Music For Street Kids, which will take place on Thursday, August 20 from 6 to 8 pm at Peavey Plaza in downtown Minneapolis. The evening is part of NEED’s Your Powers for Good event series, and will feature free music by artists such as Aby Wolf, Mighty Fairly, and of course Sounds of Blackness. The beneficiaries of the event are street children in Jakarta, Indonesia, many of whom beg using music to help support themselves and their families. All donations will go to the Nurani Insani School for Street Children in Jakarta, a refuge for street children to learn, eat and interact in safety.

Come out on August 20 and watch Sounds of Blackness do what they’ve been doing since 1971: inspire hope, and deliver change. Maybe you will be moved to do the same.

Download an MP3 of Optimistic, the first single from the forthcoming “THE 3RD GIFT: STORY, SONG & SPIRIT” CD.

Sounds of Blackness

No comments:

Post a Comment