[You can listen to Damon’s latest music here and here.]
Keep your mind free is a phrase that stays ringing in my head. I orchestrated an evening of online performance and an image promoting decarceration with the same phrase. Thinking not only of those late nights when the weight of the new alternate pandemic lockdown dimension we found ourselves in pressed heavy but thinking of the people without my options. My students at Stateville Correctional Center remain in my brain while structuring correspondence classes as creative outlets, as escape, with the theme of liberation in the time of covid-19, inside of prisons, hoping to help them keep their minds free as the virus spreads. I purchased one new album in the first 2 months of the pandemic which served as a beautiful dream state inside a state of shock before the deaths of more Black people caused us to realize we never left our same racist dimension that we have always been in. Pandemic or no, the time is way overdue for structural change. Here are some records that are relevant to me some right now and some always. Thank you for reading. Love, Damon
Little Dragon’s new record is called, New Me, Same Us. This record just sat on my stereo getting flipped over and over. I am not sure where the magic of this record comes from, it just is. I paid for this record online and biked to the shop and picked it up curbside. It was a thrill to buy a record after a couple months.
Jeff Parker’s Suite For Max Brown is great. A sonic companion to his last record. Jeff’s concert was the last show I saw before the pandemic became the reality. It was a great show and it is a great record.
The Black Fairy is a record I have been looking for for a long time. I bought it a couple months ago after a long irl search. It is the songs from a theater piece done in the early 70s in Chicago about a Black fairy who loses her confidence because a little boy tells her fairies never help Black people and she has no power to make change. This is the story of how she regains herself.
He’s A Black Man, Volume 1 is one part of a volume of records (a friend has another from the series). It is a series of radio spots illuminating the achievements of Black people. It was made in Chicago and paid for by Sears. It’s amazing.
Sit-In Songs w/ booklet. An instruction guide for sit-ins. See how the notes on the staff are stools? Come on!
Bernice Johnson Reagon is one of my inspirations. She was a member of The Freedom Singers who would perform at SNCC events in the height of the Civil Rights Era. The Freedom Singers set the template for how many singers I wanted in Black Monument. She later formed Sweet Honey In The Rock. This solo record uses the voice and her gospel training to address political issues. It’s a great record, very past, present, and future.