Sons of Kemet, “Your Queen is a Reptile” [impulse! 2018]
This week on Morning Mari* we’re celebrating the new album from Sons of Kemet featuring Shabaka Hutchings on tenor sax and Theon Cross on tuba, with Tom Skinner and Eddie Hick on double drums. Out on impulse! on the 30th March, this is the band’s third studio album, bringing together the sounds and influences of bebop, hip-hop, and UK Grime.
Your Queen is a Reptile is a concept album which offers a scathing critique of the British cult of monarchy and the social hierarchy it brings about. In the opening track, performance poet Joshua Idehen addresses themes of racial oppression, identity and the experience of Britain’s immigrant diaspora.
Encouraging listeners to consider who their queens are, bandleader Shabaka Hutchings presents alternative ‘queens’ in each of the nine tracks. These women are those Hutchings identifies as inspirational. The women that have influenced him and who he considers his leaders. American abolitionist Harriet Tubman and writer, educator and activist Anna J Cooper both feature, as well as Hutchings’ own great-grandmother.
1. My queen is Ada Eastman,
2. My queen is Mamie Phipps Clark,
3. My queen is Harriet Tubman,
4. My queen is Anna Julia Cooper,
5. My queen is Angela Davis,
6. My queen is nanny of the maroons,
7. My queen is Yaa asantewaa
8. My queen is Albertina Sisulu
9. My queen is Doreen Laurence
Shabaka Hutchings: Saxaphone & clarinet
Theon Cross: Tuba
Tom Skinner: drums
Eddie Hick: drums