You can pre-order the limited edition transparent coral green vinyl now at PearlJam.com. You can also purchase on iTunes and stream on Spotify.
Spanish. It is one of the most beautiful languages in the world and it is the oldest colonial language in the Americas. It is the language that Nobel Prize winning author Gabriel Garcia Marquez used to write his exquisite Magical Realism in his homeland of Colombia. It is also the native tongue of the great Uruguayan historian Eduardo Galeano, who wrote fierce, vivid essays about the Latin American experience. Spanish was the language of the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda and the novelist Isabel Allende, both of whom created exquisite, timeless works. The great Mexican diva Lila Downs sings her gorgeous songs in Spanish, and it is also the native language of the newest Levee Walker singer, Raquel Sofia.
Raquel is a singer-songwriter from Puerto Rico and she is a 2015 Latin Grammy nominee for Best New Artist. Her songwriting style is distinct and powerful, and its no wonder she is sought out to write songs for other Latin singers. When Levee Walkers had the chance to work with her, it was a unanimous yes. We sent her some raw music and she sent us back sparkling, musical gems. And when Raquel asked us if she should sing the final versions in English or Spanish, we universally shouted (through email) – en Español!
We now present to you two new Levee Walkers songs with Raquel Sofia on vocals: El Viento (the wind) and Alma (soul), both qualities of which Raquel has in great abundance. The music is rock and roll, because rock is a universal language that everyone understands. But the words and stories that Raquel sings honor her native Caribbean roots, so that all from Central and South America, Spain, and of course the United States can enjoy.
Levee Walkers are Mike McCready on guitar, Duff McKagan on bass, and Barrett Martin on drums, and we will continue our work with singers in other languages as we show how the world is connected through language, story telling, and of course, rock and roll.
Barrett Martin, Seattle
The Levee Walkers first met Jaz Coleman at the Classic Rock Awards in London in November of 2012, although we have been listening to his music for decades. We were seated at the same table and introduced by our fellow band mate Duff McKagan, and we immediately hit it off with a night of memorable conversation, which is how great collaborations usually begin. Jaz is of course the singer for the legendary British band Killing Joke, a band that was highly influential to Duff, myself, and our other band mate, Mike McCready, when we were young lads absorbing the hardest and edgiest music of the 1980s and 90s. Killing Joke represented what all of us wanted from a band - a conscious and powerful singer/lyricist, a ferocious musical delivery, and a sound that could not be imitated because it was so unique unto itself. Killing Joke embodies all of these qualities, hence their enormous influence on countless bands that came up in that era, and their ongoing relevance today. So there we sat, at a formal awards dinner, but rather than focusing on the award ceremony itself, Jaz and I became enraptured in our dialogue. We had both spent time living with indigenous communities around the world, we loved the Amazon Rainforest, we agreed that shamanic power was essential to all great music, and we shared a world view that the industrialized, capitalist agenda was destroying the environment, the global economy, and people. This is particularly true with indigenous, marginalized, and working class folks, which is the class we all grew up in. Thus, we agreed at that dinner table in London to record a couple songs together and see what we might conjure. And now you have it, the first two songs from The Levee Walkers, featuring Jaz Coleman on words and vocals. A Levee Walker, by the way, is a phantom that occasionally appears on the tops of levees in the deep American South, which is the mystical heartland of all American music. And like a levee walking phantom, this band will appear, disappear, and reappear again, as the musical inspiration suits us. Please enjoy this first offering.
Barrett Martin, Seattle
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