“Like a blossom emerging from between the floorboards of a slaughterhouse, Moor Mother’s music is an act of transcending a violent, intolerable present.” - The Fader
“Moor Mother’s work is often stark and excoriating … Camae Ayewa forces the listener to confront blood-soaked history and the bottomless sorrow of multi-generational mourning, coming at you like a priestess of the apocalypse.” - Stereogum
Moor Mother creates a Black utopia with the beauty and scope to blot out our irrevocably broken reality, rooting her vision in this world only so as to better transcend it in her own.” - Paste
How do you engage the evocative gift that is Moor Mother’s latest album The Great Bailout? Only by following the trail of verbal and sonic poetry delivered. Only by letting Moor Mother and her co-conspiring collaborators – Lonnie Holley, Mary Lattimore, Alya Al Sultani, Kyle Kidd and more - be the tour guide.
Coming out on March 8, The Great Bailout is Moor Mother aka Camae Ayewa’s ninth studio album and third with ANTI- Records, with production contributions on various tracks from Mary Lattimore, Lonnie Holley, Vijay Ayer, Angel Bat Dawid, Sistazz of the Nitty Gritty, Aaron Dilloway and more. Called “the poet laureate of the apocalypse,” by Pitchfork, Ayewa’s music contains multitudes of instruments, voices and cacophony that take on themes of Afrofuturism and collective memory with the forebearers of jazz, hip hop and beat poetry in mind.
“Research is a major part of my work, and researching history - particularly African history, philosophy and time - is a major interest,” Moor Mother said of the music’s focus on the effects of British colonialism. “Europe and Africa have a very intimate and brutal relationship throughout time. I’m interested in exploring that relationship of colonialism and liberation, in this case in Great Britain.”
Today she has also shared the album’s first track. “Guilty” - featuring Mary Lattimore, Lonnie Holley and Raia Was - is a tender, atmospheric song that starts our tour through the haunting, rendered by the gentle, almost melancholic instrumentation and calling forth the crimes that were paid off but still live. Listen + watch the song’s new lyric video below.
Watch “Guilty”: https://youtu.be/0ox6Xpwphuk?si=hHQb0A6tkZsBAVr-
The exquisite beauty and horror conjured in the song is simultaneously dream and traumatic nightmare. “Guilty” is astounding for the poignancy and tenderness in which it invites us to dwell in our journey of facing Britain’s not just complicity in enslavement and its afterlives, but also its very making as a built environment and social-political formation.
“Displacement and its effects are not discussed enough,” Moor Mother says. “The PTSD of displacement should be a focus, and as we have the opportunity to learn about things happening in the world, we also have the opportunity to learn about ourselves. We’ve been through so many different acts of systematic violence.”
So what is the terrain we are invited to navigate? The backdrop is of two Acts of Parliament: the 1833 Slavery Abolition Act that established a four-year period of ‘apprenticeship’ during which the enslaved in the British Caribbean would transition from being ‘slaves’ to being free. And the 1835 Slavery Abolition Act – a loan that allowed the British Government to borrow £20 million [£17 billion in today’s money] with which to ‘compensate’ 46,000 slave owners who were losing their ‘property’ because of the legal abolition of slavery. A loan that was one of the largest in history. A loan that equaled 40% of the Treasury’s annual income. A loan that was only finally paid off in 2015. A loan that all payers of tax in the UK helped to pay off — which means that all those descendants of the once enslaved, including the so-called Windrush Generation, also helped to pay off.
So: Come! Come look! Come see! Come hear! Come see London, come see Liverpool, for the first time even if it for the millionth. Know its provenance, know its haunting. Clear the mist over your eyes and heart as if the famous London Fog has been cleared by the clarion call of Moor Mother. For this is what The Great Bailout is: a call to knowing through a sonic scene that is unafraid to look a violent legacy in the eye.