‘Black Treasure’ is inspired by an exploration of Zara’s Jamaican heritage, which included an extended trip in 2018, meeting academics, and researching the early folk rhythms unique to the island. Her new sound is the culmination of this research and a reflection on how the history of Zara’s ancestors affects her story today.
“Black Treasure” is a pulsating, organic blend of rhythms from the Jamaican folk traditions of Bruckins Party, Dinki Mini & Kumina, with the added futuristic, wonky signatures on production from Kwake and Wu-lu. Inspired by images of piracy and treasure-hunting from times past, her lyrics unmask the exploitation of African and West Indian countries by the British Empire through the Slave Trade. The first verse is a reflection on this history – from the first colonial ships that set their sights on foreign lands. The track progresses into a proclamation of pride – a celebration of the Black British experience, tracing the links from the past, through to the present day. As McFarlane expresses:
“Black Treasure’ explores how the echoes of colonialism still resonate in society today but it is also a declaration, proclamation and celebration of black British womanhood acknowledging what historically has been taken and what remains innate within.”
Created at Kwake & Wu-Lu’s South London studio, ‘The Room,’ based in Hither Green Studios – home to a vibrant community where creative energy pulses through the bricks and mortar. Drummer, producer and musical director Kwake Bass has worked with Mica Levi, MF Doom, Sampha and Kate Tempest. Wu-Lu is a multi-instrumentalist artist and producer, with a solid body of genre-bending music, working with the freshest names emerging from UK Jazz, Soul and Hiphop such as Ego Ella May, Lex Amor, and Poppy Ajudah.
Zara’s critically acclaimed third studio album ‘Arise’ met with universal critical praise, and was supported by an impressive live tour performing at festivals such as Love Supreme, Field Day and SXSW. Zara is the winner of multiple awards including a Mobo, 2 Jazz FM Vocalist of the Year Award (2018 & 2015), an Urban Music Award, and Session of the Year at Worldwide Awards. Drawing respect from a wide range of artists, Zara has collaborated with Gregory Porter, Shabaka Hutchings, Moses Boyd and Louie Vega, and been sampled by Floating Points and Russ.
These new sonic explorations signal a direction of travel for this innovative founding member of the UK’s vibrant homegrown scene. Zara is currently finishing her 4th Studio album for Brownswood, slated for release later in 2020.