1 Cameroon by Miriam Makeba
Makeba was an African superstar, an activist and revolutionary who relentlessly advocated for change throughout her life. My parents used to play her records when I was a kid. In this song she is singing about my other home country.
2 Got ’til It’s Gone by Janet Jackson
This track is an absolute gem. Janet was one of the first records I bought as a kid with my own money. And of all Jackson’s albums, The Velvet Rope is the best. I am a hiphop head through and through, Got ’til It’s Gone is the perfect RnB track with an old skool beat featured by Q-Tip.
When the music video for this song came out in 1997 it really blew my mind. During the sleek and shiny MTV era it showcased Blackness and Black people in a way that I had never seen before. Different skin tones, natural hair, the colour palette of the video… ah, it’s just raw, powerful and beautiful.
3 Kuusi, Op 75 No 5 by Jean Sibelius
Sibelius is probably Finland’s most famous composer. His body of work is vast ranging from symphonies and concertos to choral music. This short composition for a piano with the title Kuusi (meaning Spruce) somehow sounds like Finland. Melancholic yet beautiful, a lone spruce standing on the shore of a lake. I used this song in the only solo work I have done.
4 Traveling by Quentin Harris, Cordell
I had just turned 21 and was spending my first summer in New York when house music and dancing hit me hard. Going into clubs, seeing people on the dance floor expressing themselves in a way I had never seen before, I was blown away. It changed me and my relationship with dance. One night at an iconic club called Shelter, the DJ played this track by Quentin Harris and now whenever I hear it, I am transported back to that moment.
5 The Blacker The Berry by Kendrick Lamar
Kendrick Lamar is one of the most important rappers of our times, a lyricist and a genius wordsmith who has managed to unite the true soul of hiphop with new sounds and influences. Political, raw and the track is still a banger. This whole album that came out in 2015 is pure genius. Hiphop turned 50 years this year so with this song also shoutouts to the culture I love and that has changed the world.
A teaser for One Drop
One Drop is in Dance Umbrella at Battersea Arts Centre, London on 19-20 October and in
the Take Me Somewhere Festival, Glasgow on 28 October. https://www.sonyalindfors.com