South African artist Desire Marea is releasing a new album called On The Romance of Being next month and today shares the follow-up to the lead single “Be Free”. The new song, “Rah”, is a nine-minute epic duet with fellow South African Zoë Modiga, that takes a mournful view of the state of the planet.
Desire explains: “Rah is a song lamenting the decay of the earth and the anxiety of existing in it, with it, and as it. Is self cannibalisation just the order of nature? Is it part of the healing? Is there renewal on the other side of disaster? Still, we beg for repentance.”
The song is sung entirely in Zulu, but the words don’t need to be understood for the message to resonate with your core. Across the nine minutes, “Rah” gently but forcefully builds and subsides in waves of subtle voice, wind instrumentation and powerful percussion. Desire and Zoë’s voices lead the way in an almost operatic recounting of the myriad human factors that plague the nature of our planet (“Only the scars remain / Where rivers and streams once ran”). It is both an apology to Mother Earth and a plea for forgiveness – and it is deeply moving.
Listen to “Rah” below or find it on streamers. (Find a translation of the lyrics in the info of the below YouTube video.)