Sunday, December 10, 2023

Homing – An Enchanting New Project by Drea

Amsterdam- Award winning poet, Andreattah ‘Drea’ Chuma, released her second music-poetry project titled ‘Homing’ on February 25th. Now going by the alias ‘Supermoon Blues’ to give room for a different shade of her creative expression, Chuma’s ten track album is a dedication to her journey of finding and creating nurturing cradles in the spaces she manoeuvres Homing is the sophomore music and poetry album by the poet, released 12 years after her acclaimed, self-released debut album 1981 Was A Good Year. Be it her role in Gaborone’s trailblazing Exodus Live Poetry Collective or her two years of Glastonbury appearances, the signature introspection can be felt in both her projects.

The effortless equilibrium she has found between poetry and music makes her creative direction something new. The Homing of the album title roots her in the one place where she has always felt seen: her parents’ house. The album title also speaks to the importance of returning to and homing in one’s body. In a world that tries to tell her who she is, this music laced on poems is how she affirms herself.Supermoon started writing the album in 2017. “The trigger was missing creating and not finding more of this music-poetry genre that I operate in. I also took part in an event in Brussels around that time and had such a profound response to my work from the audience that it made me realize, ‘You need to stop hoarding these poems. They are not just for you.’” All of the poems on Homing were written during her eight-year sojourn in Belgium except for You Heard Me, which was the final addition to the album and was written in Amsterdam, and Crayons, which was written in Gaborone back in 2009.

The first piece of the album puzzle was the beats. “My first love is music. I spent my whole childhood writing songs and fighting over verses with my older sister,” she recollects. Guided by her ear, Supermoon Blues reached out to a number of producers that she discovered after deep-diving for musical treasures on the internet. She uncovered an impressive haul of beats for the album, ranging from the work of relatively unknown production talents such as 1995 (Crayons, In The Breaking, Warm Suns) to the Grammy-nominated singer and producer Muhsinah (In The Silence).Supermoon recorded half of the album over “four magical days” at St Mary’s Space, a deconsecrated church turned residential recording studio in the Scottish West Highlands where she worked with sound engineer and composer Jamie Smith. The other half of the album was recorded in Amsterdam, Supermoon’s home since 2020, mixed by Smith in Scotland and mastered by Frederik Dejongh at Jerboa Mastering in Ghent, Belgium. The result is a glittering, genre-defying tapestry of what Supermoon Blues calls her “diaspora diary”.

On the jazzy broken beat of Crayons she hop, skips and jumps through a tale of finding, feeding and keeping creativity alive. The title track, Homing, is a collaboration between Supermoon and her younger sister, Angie Chuma, a celebrated poet and singer in her own right. It is the track that best exemplifies the elemental nature of the album – as the music takes listeners on a journey through fire, water and wind. One is grounded and earthed in Supermoon’s words, which feel like incantations. In a world that tries to tell her who she is, this music laced on poems is how she affirms herself.Dancing Standing Still is what Supermoon describes as “my grieving poem”. Written on the cusp of the coronavirus pandemic, just as she was leaving Brussels, she explains “it is about being in a place where you have to be still, but there is also movement and change happening, which is a weird experience”.

The music at the end of the song is a recording of the brass band from Supermoon’s mother’s church, the St John’s Apostolic Faith Mission. The sample represents her connection to home and her love for brass instruments, as well as acknowledging the role that faith plays as the source of her art. You Heard Me, Supermoon’s “struggle-breakthrough psalm”, is produced by artistic collaborator Bonolo ‘B-Note’ Mogotsi, while Return, one of the most powerful songs on the album, sees adult Supermoon seek out her seven-year-old self – not to advise her but to seek her guidance. The music, atmospheric and sparse enough to let the words take centre stage, also marks Supermoon’s first foray into production.

For Supermoon, Homing is more than just a music album. “I use my poetry to explore other mediums,” she says. As such, she has plans to go beyond the music. “I want to explore how to present it visually. Listening to it is one thing but what happens when I put another layer to it whether it is via an art installation or a discussion. I wonder how it will it evolve.”

Homing is currently available on all digital streaming platforms.


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