PAYING HOMAGE TO THE ARCHITECTS OF SOUL IS A CONSISTENT MANDATE FOR US. With American music being one of the most beloved catalogs of sound around the world––with fans in nearly every nation––we find it important to remember one ssential fact: Soul Music is the foundation and progenitor of nearly all American music. At the root of Rock, Hip-Hop, American Pop, Jazz, EDM, Funk, and Folk has been Early Soul (Rhythm & Blues) feeding generations of music lovers, globally.
Soul/R&B is a hybrid blossomed from two other genres. It was spawned from the hardships expressed in early Black American Blues, mixed with the unbreakable hope and faith found in early Black American Gospel. Key to each originating genre was that signature wailing, that haunting, unmistakable vox, yearning from the core of the human soul. And that primordial sound pierced the “soul” of every human who heard it.
From the spry moaning of Muddy Waters to the rousing screams of Little Richard and James Brown, from the soulful howling of Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Sam Cooke, Otis Redding and Nina Simone to the guttural syncopations of Michael Jackson or Prince, by name, “Soul” was clearly about freeing something “bound” deep, down within the bowels of the spirit. And now it is the genre of choice for many singers––of all enthnities around the world––soulfully unburdening the passions and pains of their own lives.
These American sounds began their gestation on the shores of Goree Island, Senegal, West Africa, the slave-castles in Ghana, West Africa, and other ports up and down the Slave Coast of the continent known as the origin of mankind. This is where the architects of this musical genre were corralled, kidnapped and brought to the shores of America and beyond. These founding architects of Soul/R&B were the enslaved Africans in North America. Their plight was especially hard and brutal. And, as a means of psychological survival, they began invoking the remembered rhythms of their motherland, repurposing the power of music as a healing medium to lift their spirits––“i.e. souls‘––from the unspeakable burdens being heaped upon their bodies in a foreign land.