Still not sure if, after everything that has gone over the last couple of weeks, if we’re ready to just post music or art that doesn’t say something about these times or past times or wrong times or future times. Statues are falling though, and questions are being asked and people are learning about things that should have always been taught, if and when these days do eventually pass we can but hope we emerge a find a better world, you can’t just hope for these things though, you have to be part of making good things happen, and yes anger is still an energy and statues don’t get pulled down by themselves…
‘This Too Shall Pass’ is the rather beautiful second single second single lifted from Laraaji’s forthcoming ‘Sun Piano’ album, it “effortlessly evokes the tree-lined New York City sidewalks outside the church it was recorded in. An uplifting three and a half minutes of earworm jazz piano, it takes the listener on a mini movie reel through a late Autumn day in the city”, and right now, this morning in the light rain of London, this will do for me for a couple of hours before I look at the news again….
“Although entirely improvised, the melodic nous and harmonic skill displayed by Laraaji at the keys utilises a lifetime of experience with the instrument, from playing upright piano in the baptist church as a child, to taking a piano major at the acclaimed Howard University in the 1960s (where his classmates included Donny Hathaway), and going on to play Fender Rhodes electric piano in fusion band Winds Of Change in the early 1970s. Combined with his spiritual sensibilities and ever-present aura of cosmic calm, this is a truly classic piece of Laraaji music.
The video was filmed at the First Unitarian Congregational Society Church in Brooklyn, NY during the ‘Sun Piano’ recording session. Filmmakers Adeline Bailleul and Tarek Bouraque capture Laraaji in solitary communion with the grand piano positioned by the church altar. Although filmed in black and white, the sunlight streaming through the stained-glass windows is subtly suggestive of the album title”.
And this as well “To celebrate the new record from Laraaji, All Saints Records commissioned Jake Moore and Oliver Rivard to make this film, following Laraaji as he explores, dances, and – most importantly – laughs his way through Central Park, High Bridge and other spaces in New York City, including the rooftop of his own Harlem apartment block. The aim of Laraaji’s music is simple; to spread as much joy as possible, and this film follows in that ethos, with Laraaji radiating happiness through his movements, facial expressions, and playful showmanship – he worked as a stand-up comedian in his formative years – while the animations and effects add a level of surreal intrigue and humour. Watching Laraaji’s physical interpretations of his own music bring you into his way of thinking, he described the filming experience as “like being on an outdoor action movie set, following and trusting the director’s vision, all the time enjoying the wonderful sunny daylight and for some of the time being in my favorite park CENTRAL PARK and other Interesting spaces in Manhattan” but it is really us who is following and trusting Laraaji’s vision, enjoying six joyful minutes with our spiritual guide/new best friend”.
Laraaji is a musician, mystic and laughter meditation practitioner based in New York City. He began playing music on the streets in the 1970s, improvising trance-inducing jams on a modified autoharp processed through various electronic effects. Brian Eno saw him playing one night in Washington Square Park and invited him to record an album for his seminal Ambient series (Ambient 3: Day Of Radiance, released 1980). Laraaji has gone on to release a prolific series of album for a wide variety of labels, many of which he recorded himself at home and sold as cassettes during his street performances.