The Invisible Session

Notes from the producer

There are two themes that are very close to my heart: my sensitivity towards African culture (black music has helped me grow so much from an artistic point of view) and the need to spread the message related to the protection of our Mother Earth.

The African impact emerged from the records I listened to when I was young – although not aware of it at the time, the way the music penetrated my skin was of massive significance. The first records of Earth Wind & Fire, the soul of Donny Hathaway, Aretha Franklin and Marvin Gaye, the blues of the delta, the rock–blues of Jimi Hendrix, the Chicago jazz of the 70s – this was music asking to be understood. The recordings of Strata–East, John Coltrane and Miles Davis have been the faithful companions of my musical growth. The African diaspora has had a momentous impact on music all over the world.  And today I can see why I was drawn to certain Brazilian, Cuban, Caribbean and reggae recordings. Alkebu–lan (Mother Africa) is the universal glue.

In 1965 Son House declared that the blues was the story of what was happening at the time, but the “things that happened” were hiding the suffering of a people brutally transplanted into oppression and slavery. Inevitably, black music represented the historical synthesis of an experience of resistance and struggle, so much so that in the 70s an important means of disseminating the typical ideals of African American culture was through the form of jazz, where the messages of protest and recovery of African roots came through texts or poems performed in concept albums – spiritual jazz, modal jazz, free jazz, revolutionary jazz, liberation jazz, afro jazz, funk, soul jazz, street funk and Afro funk. The lyrics of the young Benjamin “Bentality” Paavilainen in ‘’Hearing The Call’’, represent that sense of belonging and black pride. Bentality was born and raised in Helsinki by an African American father from Los Angeles, and introduces himself with these words: I write rhymes, make beats and produce music for whoever is listening. I speak for those who can’t get their voice heard. For the love of music!

Issues surrounding climate change  and the salient themes of our planet had already been addressed in The Invisible Session’s 2006 album. The self-titled debut release (Cat no. SCCD / LP401) available on Schema Records includes “To the Powerful’’. This track was a prayer of sorts with an Afro-jazz hypnotic groove, addressed to the leaders of the world to preserve our Mother Earth, reinforcing the need to keep the right balance of the elements. The new songs ‘’Ideas Can Make the World’’ and ‘’People All Around The World Can Make It’’, with their strong afrobeat/funk personality, are intoxicants, choral aphorisms, reminiscent of American funk bands of the ‘70s. It doesn’t take much to change direction, to erase the negative effects caused by the recent years’ globalisation… We can make it! Further reflections on this theme can be found in ‘’Mother Forgive Us’’, with lyrics and interpretation chanelled once again through the young Bentality.

As much as I shed tears while listening to blues and soul records, my “blues” is my childhood, marked by the joyful cries of children playing with me in the park, and that deep sense of belonging found in the black community is something I will never understand. This musical journey is my homage to Africa, a spontaneous tribute that comes from within and that is perhaps too complex to explain. I only hope that this effort reaches the hearts of the listeners with the same naturalness as its inception, based on the contrast between groove and melody, which for me represent the cosmic integration of Alkenbu–lan in a dream–like journey.

Luciano Cantone