Damon Locks & Black Monument Ensemble share new song, “Stay Beautiful”, a love letter to his hometown. The new track was recorded live at Chicago’s Red Bull Music Festival in late 2018 at Garfield Park Conservatory, and was released alongside a video which features that performance plus behind-the-scenes preparation.
Black Monument Ensemble started as a solo sound collage project by Chicago-based sound & visual artist Damon Locks piece, where artist used samples from Civil Rights era speeches and recordings to create an improvisational pallet for performance on his drum machine. Over 4 years the project has turned into his 15-piece Black Monument Ensemble – featuring musicians (including Angel Bat Dawid on clarinets and Dana Hall on drums), singers (alumni of the Chicago Children's Choir), and dancers (members of Chicago youth dance company Move Me Soul).
Their phenomenal debut album “Where Future Unfolds” (International Anthem) is a live capture of the ensemble's epic debut at the Garfield Park Botanical Conservatory on the West Side of Chicago. Recalling the spirits of Band inspired by works of Phil Cohran's Artistic Heritage Ensemble, Eddie Gale's Black Rhythm Happening, or Archie Shepp's Attica Blues mixed up in innovative way jazz, spoken word, gospel, dance, samples.
Listen to Damon Locks & Black Monument Ensemble new song “Stay Beautiful” below:
Message from Damon Locks:
“An ode to Chicago: In a hospital room, doctors and nurses come in and out, evaluating, recommending, prepping, and testing. But once visiting hours are over the patient is left alone with their thoughts, ruminating on the intimidating lack of agency and loneliness of losing control of their own circumstances. Drifting towards despair, they discover flowers in the room. There is a note attached that expresses what I would say to Chicago in its most precarious condition.
We see you. We love you. Stay beautiful.
I am very happy to be able to share this song at this time. It is a fitting message for this moment we are living through. I hope you all stay safe.”
Watch Damon Locks & Black Monument Ensemble performing a new song “Stay Beautiful” below:
Damon Locks & Black Monument Ensemble “Stay Beautiful” personnel:
Angel Bat Dawid (clarinets),
Dana Hall (drums, percussion),
Damon Locks (electronics, bells, voice),
Arif Smith (percussion).
Phillip Armstrong, Monique Golding, Eric McCarter, Tramaine Parker, Lauren Robinson.