Ebru Yildiz

Moor Mother addresses both reckoning and relief on “Guilty”

Back in 2019, Moor Mother performed at the Korzo Theater in The Hague as part of a unique live project with the London Contemporary Orchestra, where she delved into the dark history of the British slave industry. The so-called Slaver Abolition Act by the British Parliament in 1833 was, in reality, a mere evasion, as it astonishingly resulted in compensation for the slave owners, rather than justice for the countless men, women, and children who had endured generations of exploitation. This is a glaring example of history’s tendency to gloss over the horrifying truths, relegating them to mere footnotes rather than acknowledging the painful realities that were conveniently pushed aside.

Moor Mother’s new album The Great Bailout, out March 8 via ANTI-, revolves around the artist’s continued research on the United Kingdom’s stained colonial past. “Research is a major part of my work, and researching history – particularly African history, philosophy and time – is a major interest,” Moor Mother said of the music’s focus on the effects of British colonialism. “Europe and Africa have a very intimate and brutal relationship throughout time. I’m interested in exploring that relationship of colonialism and liberation, in this case in Great Britain.

The first track – featuring Lonnie Holley and Raia Was on vocals, plus Mary Lattimore on harp – is a freeform track that meditates on the crimes that were acknowledged, yet its effects are still present many generations afterwards. “Did you pay off the trauma?” Moor Mother hisses whispered vocals, snapping us into the present, counterbalancing the reflective singing of Holley and Was. “Guilty” is a lamentation where recollections of both oppression and release coexist, illustrating Moor Mother’s ability to make her music a potent vehicle for greater discourse within our collective experience as a species.

“Displacement and its effects are not discussed enough,” Moor Mother says. “The PTSD of displacement should be a focus, and as we have the opportunity to learn about things happening in the world, we also have the opportunity to learn about ourselves. We’ve been through so many different acts of systematic violence.”

The Great Bailout features a number of guest performers: next to Holley, Was and Lattimore, Vijay Ayer, Angel Bat Dawid, Sistazz of the Nitty Gritty, Aaron Dilloway are among Moor Mother’s collaborators. Preorder the album here.

Watch the visualiser for “Guilty” below.

Follow Moor Mother on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and her official website.