New York, NY (Top40 Charts)
Rhiannon Giddens joined forces with Amanda
Palmer to cover Portishead's song "It's A Fire," recorded from several continents during the COVID-19 pandemic. All profits from the collaboration go to the Free Black
Palmer, who has been in New Zealand since the end of her world tour there, quarantined far from her home in New York, was listening to Portishead's Dummy on repeat when she was struck by the lyrics:
'Cause this life is a farce
I can't breathe through this mask
Like a fool
So breathe on, sister breathe on
"There is something about this song that speaks to a deeper connection between things happening right now," Palmer says. "Black Lives Mattering, COVID, fear and trust are all colliding with one another."
Palmer contacted longtime collaborator Jherek Bischof, himself locked down in Los Angeles, and asked him to arrange the song for "our times." He got on the job, and hired local string players in LA who would all play in isolation from one another.
Rhiannon Giddens had just finished her Australian tour in March in support of her 2019 release with Francesco Turrisi, there is no Other, when she was locked down in Ireland. She too was craving collaboration. "It was a delight to work on this with Amanda
Palmer ... Felt so good to make some art together, even separated by half a world," says Giddens. "We all need to take a collective breath together, and breathe on ... it's all of us or none of us."
Melz Owusu of the Free Black
University team says: "We are overjoyed at the generosity of Amanda
and Rhiannon in choosing our project to give proceeds from this beautiful song to. The donation will go so far in us building a sustainable program of radical education that aims to transform the world."