Listen: Follow Your Heart’s Desire
Photo of Pura Fé and Charly Lowry by Aaron Greenhood and Tim Duffy
When I sent Taj Mahal the album that includes this track, he described Pura Fé as, “A beautiful songbird who transcends time and brings the message of our ancestors who have sown this beautiful seed… a voice soaring, a foot stomping.”
At the beginning of the first recording session [for the album, Follow Your Heart’s Desire, in 2004], recording engineer Sol Creech and I sat with Pura Fé, coaxing out the songs. She knew exactly in her mind what she wanted to come out of her guitar but she still lacked the expertise to play a song from beginning to end. Sol – who I had been working with since he was a teenager and who had spent his summers with me, traveling the South making recordings – is a talented musician and a man of great patience. He recorded Pura Fé’s guitar parts and stitched them together in the computer for her to listen to, and recorded the parts again until she was satisfied. This process took long hours late into the evening, but Pura Fé and Sol did not stop until every track was to her satisfaction. She was an artist re-birthing herself and she treasured the Music Maker studio, which, at that time, had no cell reception and is filled with photos and relics of the many artists. Pura Fé told me, “I feel like I am working inside an altar surrounded by my musical ancestors.”
The late Willie Lowery was present at the session. An educator, activist, legendary musician, Willie dedicated his career to cultural politics. His presence at the sessions lent a confidence and a sounding board to Pura Fé as she built this album.
When the music was complete Pura Fé was ready to lay down the vocal tracks and she needed no help. When she sings, your senses are filled, all thoughts disappear, and her voice and message and being transfix you.
— Tim Duffy
To see when Pura Fé is performing at Jazzfest, click here!