Zara McFarlane

When it comes to the evolution of contemporary urban music Gilles Peterson will always be a decisive figure. DJ, talent scout, record producer and festival organiser, he has always championed music rich in the references and sounds that shape black music, from soul to funk.

His new label, ‘Brownswood’ is a real laboratory, producing some of the most creative, accomplished and innovative sounds around and provides that all important opportunity for new musicians to have a bite at the charts. One of the highlights of ‘Brownswood’ in 2014 will be the new album by Zara McFarlane, a new voice in the New British Soul movement that also gave us stars like Emeli Sandé and Jesse Ware.

Titled ‘If You Know Her’, the album has its roots in cool and sophisticated jazz, and is reminiscent of that jazz-soul icon Sade. A collection of deep, passionate ballads which ooze the culture and excitement of London combines with that Gilles Peterson touch to evoke a retro, reggae exoticism. But first Zara is releasing a cover of classic reggae masterpiece ‘Police and Thieves’, by Junior Murvin, which was also covered by the Clash. What an album, what an approach – quintessentially British in its shameless and triumphant synthesis of sounds from times past, the world over.


Pierfrancesco Pacoda

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