Dave Okumu & The 7 Generations “Black Firework”
Dave Okumu & The 7 Generations has shared the second film from a four-part series titled “The Intolerable Suffering Of (The) Other” which features the new single “Black Firework”. Both releases are from Okumu’s forthcoming project I Came From Love which will be released Friday 14 April via Transgressive Records. The album is a portrait of the Black experience that explores ancestry, the legacy of slavery, what it means to exist in an unjust society, and Okumu’s own family history.
On Okumu’s new project I Came From Love, he calls on a star-studded array of guests, including Grace Jones, Eska, Kwabs, Wesley Joseph, Robert Stillman, Anthony Joseph (who just won the TS Elliot prize) and Raven Bush. Rather than release solely under his name, Okumu has chosen the moniker ‘Dave Okumu & the 7 Generations’, which Okumu sees as “my actual ancestors, the ancestors of others, my musical ancestors, and my descendants”.
The album is a body of work presented in chapters; “You Survived So I Might Live” [tracks 1-4], “The Intolerable Suffering Of (The) Other” [5-8], “Seduced By Babylon” (9-11), and “Cave Of Origins” (12-14). Each chapter will be accompanied by a short film directed by Nicolas Premier, who worked across all the visuals on the project. The latest film to be released is “The Intolerable Suffering Of (The) Other”.
On the new chapter Dave says, “Chapter 2 from my album continues to explore aspects of the Black experience from different perspectives. It contains a vital recitation by the poet Anthony Joseph of an extract from Aime Cesaire’s glorious poem ‘Return To My Native Land’ (“My Negritude”), a rumination on the price of minority survival (“The Cost”) featuring Madinkra aka Kwabs, a stunning performance from Cesa Empress aka Wesley Joseph (“Prison”) and the central track, “Black Firework”, with contributions from Magic Woman aka Eska, Madinkra and Cesa Empress. The genesis of this song is attributed to my 5 year old son, Django who claimed to see black fireworks whilst watching a display. This became a vivid metaphor for a feeling I hold around the valuation of Black culture, something which is in magnificent repetitious ascendancy but is rarely engaged with in its full radiance. Two of the four tracks feature the sublime drumming of Tom Skinner (The Smile/Sons of Kemet), as well as contributions from Aviram Barath (Wesley Joseph and Loyle Carner’s MD) and Nick Ramm (The Cinematic Orchestra) on keyboards. This music is an invitation to see the unseen.”
On the film Nicolas adds, “’7 Generations’, the track which features in chapter one of the album and also in this video, probably reflects one of the project features that resonates with me the most, which is the notion of transmission, the process by which you pass the light, your experiences to the next generation. It gave me a great context to work around a concept that I really like, the idea that life is a never-ending cycle where everything is continuously transforming, an approach that challenges the common understanding of generations in the West, which is more or less linear and chronological, with something much more circular. I also question the possibility for one to recognize oneself in the eyes of the next generation. It’s a game between seeing yourself in today’s children and an introspective quest, looking inward to see how far you have or have not diverged from the original values of the kid you were, what has survived from that pivotal time and to what extent you will pass that on to the world that will follow you.”
Many musicians find creative freedom working alone in the seclusion of their room, but for Mercury nominated singer-songwriter and producer Dave Okumu, the most fruitful moments in his career have occurred in crowded rooms. “In my teens I was already on this journey where I was reflecting on the significance of relationships,” Okumu explains. “I want to learn how to connect with people and how to communicate because this is what life is about.”
Okumu is the youngest child of eight siblings, born in Vienna, Austria, to Kenyan parents. The family later moved to London when he was 10. Growing up in a musical household, Okumu recalls being introduced to 80s funk and soul by his older sisters and being taught how to play guitar by his brother.
Okumu was certain he didn’t want to make a standard producer record full of features, but he also did not want to be tied down working with a set band. To aid his vision, Okumu decided he wanted his backing band to change with each record. The musicians featured on I Came From Love were also asked to adopt an alter ego to help them express themselves and their ancestry, and access parts of their personality that they might not otherwise bring out.
“I hope that listeners will feel like they’re part of the 7 Generations and when I perform on stage that every member of the band is part of the 7 Generations,” he adds, “That’s really what the idea is about and that’s why it’s not just Dave Okumu. It stands for more than that.”
Dave Okumu The 7 Generations
I Came From Love
Things ft. Grace Jones
Blood Ah Go Run
Eyes On Me
Paradise ft. Grace Jones
Dave Okumu 2023 Tour dates:
18th March 2023 – Tamsta Jazz Weekend at Tamsta Club, Vilnius, Lithuania
20th April 2023 – The Roundhouse, London, UK
10-14th August 2023 – We Out Here Festival, Dorset, UK
Pre-order I Came From Love HERE.
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