NPR

First Listen: Leyla McCalla, 'The Capitalist Blues'

On her bustling third album, the former Carolina Chocolate Drops member maps her vision of the Afro-Caribbean diaspora while gently taking Anglocentricism (and capitalism) down a notch.
Leyla McCalla's The Capitalist Blues comes out Jan. 25. Source: Sarrah Danzinger

The globalization of pop music has been under way for a while now, with the sounds and sensibilities of K-pop, reggaeton and myriad other styles serving as major sources of fuel. Still, much pop that's aimed at Anglo audiences tends to be and metabolized as mildly exotic seasoning in. The roots-music scene can display assimilationist tendencies, too, but it's also home to a small but growing number of artists — including Leyla McCalla and,, and — who don't stand by and accept the whitewashing of culturally distinct origins. Instead, their work does the intellectual labor of clarifying; of reconnecting the dots, reconstructing context, retelling and sometimes personalizing neglected stories.

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