Cutting through the noise of pandemic devastation, political stalemate and social strife, the moving lyrics and electrifying notes of the Black Pumas remind us that there is still beauty left in humanity.
Labeled group of “psychedelic soul” by Rolling stone, singer Eric Burton and producer Adrian Quesada reunited the Austin, Texas-based musical group with a self-titled debut album in 2019.
The genre group performed their hit song “Colors” at the 2021 Grammy Awards, earning three Grammy nominations in 2021 and one in 2020. The unique sound instantly transcends the superficial, aimed directly at the soul.
Deaths in the United States from the COVID pandemic have approached nearly 700,000, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Transformative legislation in the areas of climate, voting rights and infrastructure remains muzzled by a blocked Congress. In addition to this, communities must continue to fight individual and systemic racism, as nationwide restitution for blacks remains out of sight.
Enter: the Black Pumas. In 2017, singer Eric Burton was a street performer who moved to downtown Austin. He previously grew up in the San Fernando Valley. Adrian Quesada was already an accomplished Grammy Award winner for a 2011 Latin album.
Quesada was looking for a partner to start a new soul-funk and R&B business. Since then, they’ve won Best New Group at the 2019 Austin Music Awards. A year later, the group was nominated for Best New Artist at the 2020 Grammy Awards.
“Soul music is very central,” singer Burton said. Independent in 2020. “It’s by people who have a certain sense of their existence – they might not feel so accepted… it’s that reflection of old gospel and blues music.”
At this year’s Grammy Awards, they carried out their hit single “Colors” and received three nominations for: Album of the Year, Record of the Year and Best American Performance Roots.
The two released their sultry debut single, “Black Moon Rising”, under ATO Records in 2018.
“Cut me down and break my heart. / It’s the dark moon rising, ”proclaims Burton’s sultry voice in the chorus. “You defy the sight, I paint the picture / of the dark moon rising. “
“Colors”, one of their most popular singles, sensually reminds us of the beauty of our common existence.
“I was the first to wake up in the morning sky. / Baby blue as we’ve rehearsed, ”Burton begins, depicting a nature-filled trip to town before arriving at the choir. “With all my favorite colors. / All my favorite colors. / My sisters and brothers / see them like no other.
Meanwhile, “Fire” stirs up the passion that burns within us, reminding us to feel human emotions with each vibration.
“If there’s a fire, call the firefighter. / If it hurts baby, call the doctor. / Don’t be afraid to say I need you. / I will understand.”
The powerful duo did not intend to draw parallels with the revolutionary political movement known as the Black Panthers.
Still, producer Quesada said their goal is to bring people together.
“One of our goals is unity at a time when there are a lot of divisions,” Quesada told Independent last year. “We’re not trying to make a political statement, but you watch our show live and you see these people from all walks of life, different ethnicities and different genders – it’s about inclusion.”