The current state of a majority of mainstream R&B/Soul music in the States is rather discouraging when compared to its heyday, as it’s now comprised of little in the way of refreshing or original-sounding talent, so who knew that a young London artist raised by Ugandan parents could inspire a little hope for this genre by building off the styles of venerable singers like Otis Redding, Bill Withers, and Marvin Gaye. The artist is Michael Kiwanuka, and there is a lovely hazy quality to his debut album Home Again as if it’s straight out of the 1960s or 1970s, thereby evoking a timeless quality. Kiwanuka’s music can be described as rootsy, folk-inflected modern soul with hints of jazz and contemporary R&B.
The concept of Sankofa is derived from King Adinkera of the Akan people of West Afrika. Sankofa is expressed in the Akan language as “se wo were fi na wosan kofa a yenki.” Literally translated it means “it is not taboo to go back and fetch what you forgot”.”Sankofa” teaches us that we must go back to our roots in order to move forward. That is, we should reach back and gather the best of what our past has to teach us, so that we can achieve our full potential as we move forward. Whatever we have lost, forgotten, forgone or been stripped of, can be reclaimed, revived, preserved and perpetuated. Thus, Sankofa Music Series will examine our modern roots and the early influences of rock music, in the hopes that we can find something that’s been lost or forgotten, and use it to move forward and create something new. Today’s subject is Jimi Hendrix.