Sounds Like: Where ancient West African fiddles meets future R&B
For Fans of: Kelela, Tune-Yards, Massive Attack
Why You Should Pay Attention: In September, revered funk, rap and avant-pop label Stones Throw will be releasing the self-titled debut from Britney Parks' Sudan Archives, a unique melding of West African strings and contemporary beatmaking. A self-taught violinist, Parks picked up her instrument after a group of fiddlers played Irish jigs before her fourth grade class in Cincinnati. But her family (including her stepfather, who worked at LaFace Records in the early days) envisioned a different sort of musical career for her, originally pairing her with her twin sister as a teen pop act. When Parks rebelled at the age of 16, she was kicked out of the group and out of her house, finding herself on her first plane ride ever out to Los Angeles, where she juggled odd jobs and slowly taught herself how to use her violin and laptop to make her own beats.
She Says: "I realize now those old Irish jigs I first heard remind me of the West African fiddle music I like now; it's a 'rooted' sound as opposed to violin in the classical way. … My mom nicknamed me Sudan when I was 16. When I moved out to L.A. at 19, I started to just YouTube Sudanese music just to see what came up. Ironically, most of the music has violins on it. But I was shy about my stuff. The confidence came from my stepdad [who passed away in 2015]; he was the biggest supporter of my music. He encouraged me to work towards that, to not go to college but instead take a break and find myself."
Hear for Yourself: The plucked and sawed "Come Meh Way" is assured yet spare. Andy Beta