There are times when songs come out that end up being even more relevant to current events than they were perhaps originally intended. Such is the case for Zara McFarlane, whose latest single “Black Treasure” has taken on deeper meaning in light of the recent uprisings against racism in the United States, an issue that sadly feels timeless. The new track, which is a fascinating musical departure from what we have come to expect from the U.K. vocal dignitary, finds McFarlane exploring her Jamaican heritage after having visited the country in 2018. With help from visionary producers Wu-Lu and Kwake Bass, “Black Treasure” features elements of Jamaican folk traditions as well as impactful lyrics about the history of the British Empire’s involvement in the slave trade in Jamaica.
While Wu-Lu and Kwake Bass deliver an absorbing production that percolates with infectious rhythms and harmonies, McFarlane’s heavenly vocals gracefully glide over the top of the mix as she explores the grim history between the two countries and how those roots manifest themselves today. Throughout the track, though, she maintains a sense of perseverance, offering a beautiful declaration and celebration of modern day black British womanhood. While she couldn’t have predicted the events of the past few weeks, they make her themes in “Black Treasure” even more salient. With a grippingly expanding sonic palette, Zara McFarlane has proved once again that hers is a voice that absolutely needs to be heard.
"Black Treasure" is available to stream or download here via Brownswood Recordings.