“Èṣù” – featuring Sharada Shashidhar – from the forthcoming album Primordial Waters (October 29).
Residency at Gold-Diggers, Los Angeles, on Sepember 1, 15, 22, and October 10, 17, 24. Jamael Dean – keys; Sharada Shashidhar – voice; Devin Daniels – sax; Chris Palmer – bass; Alex Smith – drums.
Jamael Dean announces his debut album, Primordial Waters, arriving October 29th on Stones Throw. To coincide with the announcement, Jamael shares the album’s lead single. “Èṣù” is a jazz fusion interpretation of a traditional Yoruba spiritual melody. The song tells the story of the wise ancient child-like divinity who was the first to be present during creation, and who currently resides at the crossroads of life and one’s decisions. These Orisha stories and Los Angeles roots are the guiding principles of Primordial Waters’ composition. Heavily infused with Yoruba spirituality and celestial themes, the album sees the prodigiously talented young musician take his explorations in jazz and hip-hop to dazzling new heights. Frequent collaborator Sharada Shashidhar contributes her stunning vocals to the single’s rich-layered instrumentation and is featured all throughout the album. Alongside the album announcement and new single, Jamael Dean and The Afronauts will also be performing a six-date residency at Gold-Diggers in Los Angeles.
Primordial Waters showcases Jamael’s prowess and cements his force as an uncommon talent. It was on his debut for Stones Throw, the EP Black Space Tapes, that Dean first attempted to create music inspired by ancestral Yoruba stories. He continued these ideas on the 2020 cassette Oblivion, combining them with an interest in numerology. On Primordial Waters, Jamael’s identity as someone of the Yoruba diaspora takes centre stage. Its title is a reference to the creation story of the Yoruba people, a West African ethnic group with a revered religion.
Though his music is deeply personal, he finds some of his truest expression when collaborating: he currently leads the music collective The Afronauts, has participated in the Pan Afrikan People’s Arkestra, and has collaborated and performed with the likes of Kamasi Washington, Thundercat, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson and Carlos Niño. Dean’s passion for music was sparked when his grandfather, legendary drummer Donald Dean, began taking him to see live performances. He also fell in love with hip-hop, which has been an ongoing influence.