Sounds of Blackness

For well over thirty years, the Sounds of Blackness have proven to be music’s most diverse and eclectic outfit, mastering music styles ranging from the oft-forgotten Spirituals to classical music and more urban and hip-hop infused stylings.

CDThe Minneapolis based choir drops Unity, their tenth release in the last eleven years. Continuing in their trademark diversity, the decorated aggregation shares the wealth of the African-American musical experience with a globally-charged message.

Unity is special for a number of reasons. Most notably, it marks the return of former lead singer Ann Nesby to the fold. Nesby adds her signature vocals to the title cut, the album’s lead single. This catchy tune features her strong vocals coupled with an equally strong message of solidarity —not solely amongst Christians but among the entire human race.

This same theme is echoed on the 70s-themed “Children of God”, which has Cynthia Johnson on lead vocals and LaSalle Gabriel handling guitar and organ responsibilities. This song speaks to the need for the global community to operate under the auspices of our true common denominator as children of God.

Consistent with their trademark, Sounds drops a hint of their gifting for the Negro Spirituals during their “Interlude”. We quickly are spoiled with 34 solid seconds of “Soon Ah Will Be Done”, made famous by Mahalia Jackson.

Sounds of Blackness“They That Wait” gives listeners a full-length venture into the crisp choral sounds of the choir, with longtime front man Gary Hines arranging the song, which was penned by the legendary Rev. James Cleveland.

Remaining in the traditional vein is “Over My Head”, also arranged by Hines. This takes the Sounds into new territory for them (traditional!) as they turn the cut into a hand-clappin’, foot-stompin’ adventure.

The Sounds regularly drop their share of funk on us and this album is no different. “I’m Movin’ On” delves into the neo-soul realm while encouraging all to progress from detrimental situations into our God-ordained positive destination. Ann Nesby returns on the funky “Heaven”, which speaks to the power of love.

The Sounds of Blackness continue to encourage all to embrace a positive future while offering inspiration as the catalyst to propel all to reach their destiny. Tracks like “Be Encouraged” and “Life” are evidence of this focus.

The Sounds of Blackness is back, continuing to build on a legacy of love, solid music, peace, and Unity. Such is the true legacy of Christ-centered living.

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Producer: LaSalle Gabriel
album release date: Aug, 2005
SLR/ Lightyear /WEA

— reviewed by Gerard Bonner

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