“Hub-Tones is me trying to connect my ancestors via music”. So says Kamasi Washington about his new music video, directed by filmmaker Jenn Nkiru. “As an African-American, a lot of us don’t know the country of our origin, that’s why most of us take on the ideology of Pan-Africanism. I was trying to connect to my ancestors by connecting African rhythms with a Freddie Hubbard tune, which gave me that connection in a different way.”
Acclaimed artist filmmaker Jenn Nkiru, fresh off collaborating with Beyonce and Jay-Z on their Apeshit video earlier this year, says she invoked notes of her Nigerian heritage to tell the story of connection through Washington’s jazz lilts.
“With the visual for Hub-Tones, I wanted to invoke the immediate ecstatic connection it gave me” she says, “There’s a traditional ceremony called Oboni in the Ikwerre tribe, my parents’ tribe – the tribe of my heritage. The idea is through repetition, instrumentation and movement, to channel spirit, going deeper and deeper with the changing of each tone within the music ’til it becomes hypnotic and transcendent. I then went about giving the women featured the choreography, movement and codes to take us deeper into that spirit-space”.
The visual includes the Pan African Flag For The Relic Travellers Alliance by artist Larry Achiampong, and make-up and crystal adornment “in the style of Nina Simone"; "the lighting seen in the courthouse of the hearings of Anita Hill and of course — the call to Nation Time emblazoned on the sashes of each woman”.
The nine-minute long film takes the audience through a spiritual experience as we mediate on the music, joining the women in shot as they close their eyes, swaying in unison in shared moments of euphoric tranquility.
You can watch the video below and Hub-Tones is taken from Kamasi Wshington’s new album Heaven and Earth, released in June on Young Turks.