Oakland / San Francisco Bay Area arts collective SambaFunk! mastered a new version of the classic "Lift Every Voice & Sing" to coincide with Black History Month in February and to celebrate the song's 120th anniversary.
"Lift Every Voice and Sing" often referred to as the "Black National Anthem", was originally written as a poem in 1899 by James Weldon Johnson to be recited by 500 students at the Stranton School in Jacksonville, Florida as a welcoming poem to educator Booker T. Washington in commemorate of Abraham Lincoln's birthday. It was later put to music by John Rosamond Johnson and adopted as the Black National Anthem by the NAACP.
The SambaFunk! version of "Lift Every Voice & Sing" comes on the 120th anniversary of the song being written in hopes that the new release will shine a light on the Black Experience and ignite a sense of pride among Black and oppressed people worldwide. Historically music often plays a significant role in bringing people together for positive change. The group hopes this song evokes conversations between Americans of all backgrounds.
Theo Aytchan Williams, Samba Funk! Artistic Director said, “2019 is the perfect time for the message of this monumental work to be heard around the world to help raise our collective consciousness and present a living example of how music can play a significant role in unification. After finishing our lengthy recording sessions for ‘Lift Every Voice & Sing,’ it was fantastic to have the talented Paul Grundman bring his expertise to the mastering of this historic work.”
Many are already celebrating the song and its goodwill message including several NBA teams who will be performing the song as part of their Black History Month presentations.
Samba Funk! will also be seen in the EPIX documentary series, "Elvis Goes There" on February 11th with host film critic Elvis Mitchell, performing "Lift Every Voice & Sing".
Mastered in the world-renowned Bernie Grundman studio in Hollywood, the song was released on Spotify, Pandora, Tidal and Apple Music. To learn more about Samba Funk! and listen to “Lift Every Voice and Sing”, visit the website at http://sambafunk.com/. To download the song, go to https://ffm.to/mdhfyuyq7z.
SambaFunk! is a collective of dancers, musicians, artists and community members. Through African Diaspora infused artistic techniques, it provides opportunities for artists to grow and communities to build. Their mission is to preserve, connect and present African Diaspora culture, music, art, dance and drumming to audiences locally and abroad.