The Great Bailout by Moore Mother album review by Greg Walker for Northern Transmissions


The Great Bailout

Moor Mother

“Rich during the crime / And rich after,” Camae Ayewa, also known as Moor Mother, an artist eight searing socio-political albums in, sings on her latest piercing poetic offering, The Great Bailout. It is referring to Britain’s Slavery Abolition Act of 1833, where slave owners (not the slaves who had suffered such indignities) received reparations up to twenty million pounds. With music that is at once beautiful and haunting, imagery that is historical and allegorical, and with a slew of impressive collaborators, she does what some schools and politicians in America are trying to shut down, and tells the history of imperial colonialism and slavery from the black perspective.

“Coming around to tell me how whiteness / Bridges the geographical,” she sing/talks on the song “GOD SAVE THE QUEEN,” and throughout the album, like on this song, she often merely repeats the propagandist terminology of slave owners, but it becomes a judgement instead of a praise in her mouth. On the second track, ALL THE MONEY, she names off museums and cathedrals where millions of African artifacts that were stolen were gathered, and asks, “I wonder where they get all the money?”

She uses the religious language that was used to justify such atrocities to implicate the colonizers, and says with a bit of irony and a bit of earnest compassion, “My God / Save our souls / Save our future / Rotting in your mouth.” She attempts for her tongue not to be rotten, but true, and tries to give voice to her ancestors. “How do we keep ourselves tethered to the narrative? / Where and when do the ancestors speak for themselves?” she asks on the second to last song.

There is a horror movie feel to much of the music, though it is a powerful backdrop to Moor Mother’s honest poetry. There are classical and jazz elements, even gospel musical features, on the album. Like the titles of the songs, which are in all caps, she means to drive her point home, and has, like she says, “tethered” herself to the telling of her people’s story. It begs the question, who knows the truth about slavery? What reparations have been done or need to be done? And, Is there any way out but through? It is a discomforting album for a discomforting history, and Moor Mother delivers it with astonishing clarity.

order The Great Bailout by Moor Mother HERE


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