On August 20, 1972, Reverend Jesse Jackson delivered a moving speech to an assembly of nearly 100,000 African Americans who gathered for the Wattstax Music Festival (organized by Stax Records in remembrance of the 1965 Watts riots). Jackson’s words were borrowed from a poem by a fellow reverend named William Holmes Borders called “I Am — Somebody,” among the most invigorating and inspiring messages that perpetuated the Black Power movement of the late 60s and early 70s. “I challenge you now to stand together, raise your fists together, and engage in our national black litany,” his voice calls to action, “Do it with courage and determination.” These are the lines Hussein Ibn Faraji recycles to introduce the newest offering from his Faraji Heritage Experiment solo project, “Ode to Wattstax.” The track is the first release from his forthcoming debut LP Nafsi (which translates as “soul” or “being” in Swahili) out April 20 via Cosmonostro. With its slack, swerving groove, “Ode to Wattstax” is dance music best suited for the bedroom.
The musical aesthetic of Faraji Heritage Experiment was realized when the Moroccan producer discovered the origin of his family name was Swahili rather than Arabic. As such, his music is a striking synthesis of various cultural touchstones and disparate sounds, an uptempo, forward-thinking expression (or reinvention) of world music. Check out Faraji‘s 2012 A/R/T EP below. Pre-order Nafsa here.