Burn / Build

“Pan is ours.” Three-words. Three-syllables. Brought to you via Trinidad & Tobago, the steelpan is the air of Burn / Build. It is the sometimes subtle, sometimes confrontational presence on an album that from the very beginning spirits you away from what you know.

Roger tells tall tales; tall for their scope and power, not because they’re untrue. “Nina” represents for any lover of city who has seen it going, going, gone to the plague of gentrification. Each line is a lesson. “The bike shop used to be a bodega” he begins, explaining to his daughter what once was. “This subway stop used to be dangerous,” is a postcard greeting from a city that, in its haste to lose itself, convinced the country that broken windows have nothing to do with glass. “Coffee used to be 50 cents, Nina” is a math problem and a turn away from nostalgia toward the new normal that his daughter has inherited: “Brooklyn used to be Black, Nina.”

Languages of affection (“Nigga and God both mean love coming from our mouths”) and close rhythmic structures pace the march of “Blackboy Shapeshift,” while “Revolver” holds in tension offense and care, deprivation and desire, loss and triumph.

It is a meditation on our racial present and our past, of course; we burn and build with every successive generation, knowing that destruction—that is, abolition—is sometimes the only way to mount the futures that we need. Today we yell and sing and play through our ancestor’s means and methods as well as those we invent because we know we’re close. We can hear it.

Yes, “Pan is Black.”

Dr. Shana L. Redmond
Los Angeles, CA
February 1, 2020

credits

released July 31, 2020

Miyamoto is Black Enough is:

Andy Akiho, Steel Pan
Roger Bonair Agard, Vocals
Sean Dixon, Drums, Bass, Synths & Programming
Jeffrey Zeigler, Electric Cello

Produced by Sean Dixon
Engineered by Garth MacAleavey, Amon Drum, Owen Forgione Hill and Sean Dixon
Mixed and Mastered by Marc Urselli