Aaron English – Pride
Once in a while, usually about the time I’m getting disillusioned by the state of music and the music business, an artist or band will drop into my lap and change my attitude, reminding me that there are still great artists out there, great talents, that deserve and need to be recognized. Such is the case with Aaron English, who came to my attention via a house concert invitation. Thank you, Matthew Hough!
Pride (seen/heard here) came together during the pandemic as a collaborative effort with eight artists from around the world plus Aaron. Co-written by Aaron, Nazizi Hirji, and Ali Gul Pir, it is a testament to world unity, on race unity, on divisions brought together, on hope in our world.
I reached out to Aaron to find out a little about the origins of Pride, and here is what he had to say:
“It occurred to me that, for the first time in human history, everyone on the planet was going through the exact same thing. Obviously the Covid journey has been different from country to country, but there was nowhere on Earth that wasn’t touched by it – at least peripherally. I met Ali Gul Pir in a bar in Belgium at the beginning of the pandemic; he and I were both stranded here, in the middle of abruptly-cancelled international tours. I suggested to him that we collaborate on a song. Then I reached out to friends all over the world that I knew were also ‘grounded’ by the pandemic and asked them to collaborate with us as well. And then I reached out to folks that shoot drone footage, asking whether they would contribute video for each country.
Since it was a “we’re all in this together” song, I wanted to finish it as soon as possible, while it was still relevant – that is, while the pandemic was still going on. I optimistically expected the project to take a couple of weeks. Instead, it took eleven months – almost the length of the pandemic!”
While Covid-19 may be nearing an end (let’s hope this is the case!), the sentiments echoed throughout this song should be timeless.
On the opening verse, Aaron sings:
“These are days of strange moon rising
The sun sets in the east and the stars fall from the sky
But I’m not afraid to face this darkness
I could lose all I have, but I still got my pride”
And later Nazizi raps:
“African lioness – no cyat
brown black white stop dat
One people one race – straight facts
Time to break the mental chains and connect
Change the way that we think and protect
The women and the children – that’s the future if u check
Mama africa needs u needs me
Keep fighting, don’t stop grow love”
And there’s much more, lyrically, from rapper Ali Gul Pir, later on, that emphasizes the ending of division and hate.
If all that wasn’t enough, the music is absolutely an anthem of movement, a strong breath, insistent that hope is here, love is here, togetherness is here. And boy does it move! If music is the punctuation at the end of a lyrical sentence, then this sentence is ended with an exclamation mark! These are very diverse musicians and instruments, With Aaron (vocals, keyboards, kalimba, and programming), Vladimir Bodunov (violin, string arrangements), Henning Pauly (bass), Mattia Saravo (drums), Matthew Burgess (percussion), Toby Sanmiya (percussion), and Sam Mehan (didjeridu).
You can find additional information on Aaron English by heading up to his website which has all the usual social, streaming, and purchase links included. There’s also a link to his Patreon account at the top of the page, which takes you to the middle section of the home page and the actual Patreon link. That’s a little confusing. There is a nice biography under the “About/Press” link at the top of the page as well.
Some music fills a particular void, most plays to a narrow audience, but Pride plays as a cross-genre masterpiece. It should also be noted that this track from Aaron English is no one-off. His catalog is full of simply GREAT music. Pick up some Aaron English music now, join his Patreon, and support music that makes you feel good again!
Note: In many areas, things are opening up again, with Covid-19 vaccinations helping to ebb the flow of the virus, But artists like Aaron English and many others are still struggling to keep their heads above water. If your situation allows it, consider purchasing more in these tough times. –Vodka