Sault ft Michael Kiwanuka – Bow

11th March 2024 · 2020, 2020s, Funk, Music, Soul

When I first heard this joyful celebration of Africa and freedom, on a mixtape made by Polly Harvey, I thought it must be by an African group. In fact it’s an entirely home-grown affair – a collaboration between the British neo-soul collective Sault and the British singer Michael Kiwanuka.

To be fair, the latter is channelling his Ugandan heritage, calling out the names of various African countries, and so are the band with their busy afro-futurist vibe.

The chorus – “We got rights” – betrays the origins of Sault’s third album, Untitled (Black Is) which was a direct response to the murder of George Floyd by white cop Derek Chauvin – the spark that lit the BLM movement.

Sault started out as an anonymous outfit, offering listeners no names, no photos and no interviews. Since then they have been unmasked as Kiwanuka studio collaborator Inflo and West London singer Cleo Sol, assisted by bassist and keyboard player Kadeem Clarke and Illinois rapper Kid Sister, aka Melissa Young.

They cover so many styles, all of them with passion, power and energy in both music and lyrics. And they deserve to be so much better known than they are.

As do PJ Harvey’s playlists: a series of typically eclectic and diverse selections which she posts regularly on her website.