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Jamila Woods’ cultural time capsule makes for a commanding set at The Foundry

Jamila Woods | photo by Ashley Gellman for WXPN | agellmanphotos.com

Chicago’s Jamila Woods makes enchanting, eclectic rock and R&B music grounded in strong songwriting, but to sum up what she does by calling her a “musician” would be a massive oversimplification. Woods has a poet’s grasp of vivid and evocative language, a cultural historian’s drive to contextualize the stories of the past into lessons for the present. She has a compelling visual sense, from coolly calculated movements onstage, to the eye-popping pillars with lyrical snippets that stand behind her four-piece band.

More than a typical concert, Woods’ performance to a packed house at The Foundry of The Fillmore Philly last night was a seminar, a workshop, a multimedia encapsulation of a time and place in history, weaving together stories of personal frustrations with observations about the collective struggles of marginalized citizens over the past century. This is a central theme of Woods’ new album Legacy! Legacy!, where almost all the songs are named for important voices in black and brown cultural history — Octavia Butler to Miles Davis to Jean-Michel Basquiat. Continue reading →

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The Week Ahead: Jamila Woods, Darlingside, Rosali and more

Rosali | still from video

Could it be? Is it actually a reasonably chill week in the concert calendar? Indeed, and you’ve earned it, Philly. After months of multiple show options per night, it’s nice to have a breather, especially when the weather is so agreeable. All that said, get yourself to a show, whether its futuristic pop from Jamila Woods at The Foundry tonight, the whimsical folk of Darlingside on Wednesday, or the smorgasbord of West Philly Porchfest on Saturday. But enjoy your you-time this week as well.  Here are six concerts to see in the next seven days, all around Philadelphia.  Continue reading →

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Jamila Woods channels The Fire Next Time on “Baldwin”

Jamila Woods | photo by Bradley Murray | courtesy of the artist

Chicago singer-songwriter Jamila Woods releases her new album, Legacy! Legacy!, this Friday on Jagjaguwar records, and true to its title, it’s a celebration of influential artists, musicians, poets, political leaders, and philosophers who have uplifted black and brown people and given voice to their concerns for the past century and beyond.

Songs are named for jazz visionary Sun Ra, abstract painter Jean-Michel Basquiat, and authors Zora Neale Hurston and Octavia Butler, to name a few. Her latest teaser of the record is a shimmering pop song named after arguably one of the most important voices of the twentieth century, not just in black literature, but literature writ large. Continue reading →

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Jamila Woods returns with “ZORA” from new album LEGACY! LEGACY!

Jamila Woods | photo by Bradley Murray | courtesy of the artist

Chicago singer-songwriter and #NPRSlingshot alum Jamila Woods returns this spring with LEGACY! LEGACY!, her sophomore album and followup to 2016’s acclaimed HEAVN. The album will be released via Jagjaguwar Records on May 10th, and finds Woods in a lyrically poetic place moreso then ever, as well as a collaborative one; the album features contributions from her fellow Chicagoan Saba, her prior tourmates in theMIND, as well as Nitty Scott, Nico Segal, and more.  Continue reading →

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Just Announced: Gallant and Jamila Woods will play Union Transfer in October

Gallant | photo by John Vettese for WXPN // Jamila Woods | photo by Koof Ibi Umoren for WXPN /

R&B artist Gallant announced his upcoming Fall headlining “Too Good To Be” tour, which includes a stop at Union Transfer. The name of the tour is quite fitting, considering fellow ascendant R&B star Jamila Woods is joining Gallant for the first leg of the tour.

Gallant broke onto the scene with the release of his debut album, 2016’s Ology, and rode that wave of success well into 2017, opening for John Legend on his “Darkness and Light” tour. While no official release date has been set for the highly anticipated follow-up album, Gallant has released two new songs, “Gentlemen” in April, and “Doesn’t Matter” just earlier today. Continue reading →

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Watch Jamila Woods deliver an empowering Tiny Desk Concert

Jamila Woods | photo by Koof Ibi Umoren for WXPN

Featured in NPR’s inaugural Slingshot class in 2017, Jamila Woods stopped by NPR’s D.C. offices recently to perform an entrancing midday set. Joining Jamila is a 4-piece backing band, providing a more stripped down sound than those featured on her debut album, HEAVN. This arrangements allow more space for Woods to display her full vocal range and allow her lyrics to be at the forefront. Continue reading →

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Catch up on the latest news from #NPRSlingshot artists Jamila Woods and Big Thief

The artists in NPR Music‘s inaugural Slingshot class — Jamila Woods, Big Thief and Lo Moon — have had a busy 2017. In addition to recording and releasing new music and traveling the world on tour, they’ve been chosen as the featured musicians in the artist-championing collaboration between NPR and several of its member stations, including XPN. Slingshot was announced in September and will continue throughout the coming year as an effort to support and promote the work of some of the most promising emerging artists out there.

Until recently, Jamila Woods was known primarily as a frequent guest collaborator in hip-hop and R&B, appearing with the likes of Chance the Rapper. Woods has been touring behind her debut solo album HEAVN, and made a stop last week at BLK Wednesday in her hometown of Chicago, adding some unexpected covers to her set. Watch Woods’ take on Rage Against the Machine and Nirvana below, where she mashes up “Killing in the Name” with “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” Continue reading →

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#NPRSlingshot artist Jamila Woods teams up with Chicago friends NE-HI to reimagine their hit “The Times I’m Not There”

 

Jamila Woods | photo by Koof Ibi Umoren for WXPN

Chi-town indie outfit NE-HI has had a very successful year after releasing their second full project Offers back in February. To follow up the commercial success from Offers, the group reached out to R&B favorite Jamila Woods to sing on a reimagined version of their track “The Times I’m Not There” off of NE-HI’s 2014 self-titled record. The collaboration also benefits Chance The Rapper’s Chicago-based charity foundation SocialWorks; all revenue from the song will go to SocialWorks, an arts empowerment organization for inner-city Chicago children.

NE-HI took more of a modern route with this re-recording of “The Times I’m Not There.” The beat of the track is also notably slower, with Woods’ soothing vocals providing a perfect compliment, along with gorgeous keyboard accompaniment and the catchy riffs from the sole guitar. The intersection of neo-soul and indie makes for a great sound and Woods definitely adds a whole other layer to the track that was not on the original recording. Continue reading →