June 17, 2024


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CD review: Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah – Ancestral Recall 2019: Video, CD covers

“All forms of expression in sound are valid, as all people are… this is the mantra of Ancestral Recall.”

Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah sets the tone for his new project – Ancestral Recall – with this powerful statement. In his mission to unify cultural voices and tear down the sonic and social constructs that separate based on race, class, and culture, Adjuah asserts music has historically been disseminated to people with harmony and melody prioritized over rhythm. The value distinction leads to harmful hierarchal sentiments and perpetuates the view that cultures who prioritize harmony and melody are more nuanced and sophisticated than those who prioritize rhythm. It is an inaccurate portrayal.

Ancestral Recall looks to excavate and update hidden histories in sound by displaying a sonic tapestry that illuminates the har-melodic movements found within rhythm, rendering previous contexts baseless, Adjuah explains: “In its inception, Ancestral Recall was built as a map to de-colonialize sound; to challenge previously held misconceptions about some cultures of music; to codify a new folkloric tradition and begin the work of creating a national set of rhythms; rhythms rooted in the synergy between West African, First Nation, African Diaspora/Caribbean rhythms and their marriage to rhythmic templates found in trap music, alt-rock, and other modern forms. It is time we created a sound that dispels singular narratives of entire peoples and looks to finally represent the wealth of narratives found throughout the American experience. One that shows that all forms of expression in sound are valid, as all people are.” The goal is to connect people in one understanding rather than dividing them by definition.

The music of Ancestral Recall focuses the mind. As the ear adjusts to the shifting tapestries of rhythm, Adjuah stands firm in the mix, heralding the histories of rhythm and song. Walking hand-in-hand with listeners through his and their musical histories, clearing the way for a new reading of what all musical futures can become. Ancestral Recall is an album that might easily be misunderstood in its own time, but will certainly be seen as a moment in history that marked a momentous shift in musical and perhaps social understanding.


  1. Her Arrival (04:36)
  2. I Own the Night (feat. Saul Williams) (05:01)
  3. The Shared Stories of Rivals (KEITA) (feat. Saul Williams) (04:38)
  4. Forevergirl (feat. Chris Turner & Mike Larry Draw) (05:37)
  5. Diviner (03:55)
  6. Overcomer (04:58)
  7. Songs She Never Heard (feat. Logan Richardson) (06:04)
  8. Ritual (Rise of Chief Adjuah) (06:02)
  9. Prophesy (04:11)
  10. Before (feat. Elena Pinderhughes) (06:23)
  11. Double Consciousness (03:56)
  12. Ancestral Recall (feat. Saul Williams) (06:07)

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