Brittney Parks is on a mission “to show the Blackness of the violin”, she says. As a child in Ohio, she learned to play the instrument by ear. She moved to Los Angeles in her late teens where, escaping her stepfather’s dream that she and her twin sister Cat should form a pop duo, she started to research the history of string music. “I found violinists who looked like me in Africa, playing it so wildly,” says Parks. “It’s such a serious instrument in a western concert setting, but in so many other places in the world it brings the party.”
This discovery pushed Parks towards her true musical path, though it would take a while to get the party started. She named herself Sudan Archives and, after an initial EP in 2017, her elegant, poised debut album, 2019’s Athena, established her exploration of non-western string traditions through the inclusion of instruments such as the bouzouki and oud. But it’s her new album, Natural Brown Prom Queen, that fully embodies the riot of sound that this family of instruments can create.
Read the interview in the Guardian.
[This piece was published on 09/09/22]