Stories » Shabaka & The Ancestors - We Are Sent Here By History makes NPR: 'The Best New Songs You've Missed During Quarantine'

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Shabaka & The Ancestors - We Are Sent Here By History makes NPR: 'The Best New Songs You've Missed During Quarantine'

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Music still moves. While some musicians have decided, reasonably, to delay albums during the coronavirus pandemic, many more are choosing to create, inspire and uplift by moving up release dates or surprising us with unannounced songs. We're all overwhelmed with the news and retreating to creature comforts, and you might not have made time to find or listen to new songs and albums in a while. Press Pause, a playlist updated daily, keeps track of new music released during the quarantine, as selected by the NPR Music staff. As is the NPR Music way, we skip across genres from track to track: pop, hip-hop, R&B, classical, punk, ambient, jazz, rock, urbano and whatever else offers an escape or reckons with our current condition.

Shabaka & The Ancestors - We Are Sent Here By History makes NPR: 'The Best New Songs You've Missed During Quarantine'

Shabaka & The Ancestors will make their Impulse! debut with the band's sophomore album We Are Sent Here By History. Their breakout 2016 album, Wisdom of Elders, established Shabaka & The Ancestors as a sudden force in spiritual jazz. But where that record warned of impending societal collapse, this one unfolds within it. Shabaka refers to the album as a "meditation on the fact of our coming extinction as a species. It is a reflection from the ruins, from the burning." On the lead single "Go My Heart, Go To Heaven," Siyabonga pays homage to his father's favorite church song. The word "hamba" (or "go") is repeated, and within the context of this track, it's "about the point where one gives in and wants out of this world," Siyabonga says. "But in times of darkness is a call to the light and the heart."