Rev. Sekou And The Seal Breakers


Rev. Sekou And The Seal Breakers

The horns burst, the voices wail and, as if about to launch into a sermon, this author, activist, intellectual, pastor and singer introduces himself: “My name is Rev. Sekou and these are the Seal Breakers, now they from Brooklyn.” He points to his band and continues, “but I was raised in in a little old place called Zent, Arkansas that’s got about 11 houses and 35 people, and they’d work from can’t-see morning to can’t-see night and then they’d make their way to the juke joint. And then early Sunday morning they’d make their way to the church house.” As he stokes up the NPR crowd, mixing church preaching with juke-joint jiving, he adds, “there’s a lot of trouble in the land, but we’ve got one question for you: Do you want to get free? Say Yeah!”

And then Rev. Osagyefo Uhuru Sekou tosses off his large-brimmed, black hat, shakes his dreadlocks and demands freedom with these words: “We want freedom and we want it now!”

“Resist,” is just the opener to one of the most rousing Tiny Desk Concerts I’ve seen. During this 20-minute set Rev. Sekou took us all through an even wider range of emotions as he recalled the horrors of the white nationalist march in Charlottesville, Va. last summer. He said he spent weeks in preparation, organizing clergy for what he says was “the largest gathering of white supremacists in modern history,” then watching the activist “Heather Heyer take her last breath” after she was struck by a car that plowed into a crowd of marchers. The song “Bury Me” is a bluesy anthem to freedom that honors those who have died in that struggle for racial equality and freedom. In his free-form preamble to the touching ballad, Rev. Sekou works himself into a passionate frenzy, before airing his intense indignation for President Trump.

I saw Rev. Sekou perform in Austin during this year’s South by Southwest music festival. I believe him when he tells the NPR crowd “I’m Pentecostal, we can go on for two or three hours!” His call to action is fervent and wholehearted, steeped in history with hopes for brighter days.

Set List

  • “Resist”
  • “Bury Me”
  • “The Devil Finds Work”


Osagyefo Sekou (Vocals), William Gamble (Keys), Reggie Parker (Bass), Cory Simpson (Guitar), James Robinson Jr. (Drums), Gil Defay (Trumpet), Chris McBride (Saxophone),Matia Washington (Background Vocals), Rasul A Salaam (Background Vocals), Craig Williams (Percussions)


Producers: Bob Boilen, Bronson Arcuri, Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Bronson Arcuri, Khun Minn Ohn, Beck Harlan, CJ Riculan, Kara Frame; Production Assistants: Catherine Zhang, Téa Mottolese; Photo: Eric Lee/NPR.


Bob Boilen- Host, All Songs Considered – TINY DESK


To make his debut album, In Times Like These, noted activist, author, documentary filmmaker and theologian Rev. Osagyefo Sekou went back to his Southern home searching for his family’s musical roots in the deep Arkansas blues and gospel traditions. Produced by six-time Grammy nominated Luther Dickinson of the North Mississippi Allstars, featuring Luther’s brother Cody Dickinson, and supported by Thirty Tigers, Rev. Sekou’s debut solo album is a new vision for what Southern blues and rock can mean today. The album’s sonic landscape captures the toil of Southern field hands, the guttural cry of chain gangs, the vibrancy of contemporary street protest, backwoods juke joints, and shotgun churches—all saturated with Pentecostal sacred steel and soul legacy.


Rev. Sekou Tour Dates

July 13-15 Hillside Festival – Guelph, ON Canada *
July 17 The Crow Bar and Variety – Collingwood, ON Canada *
July 20 Holy Ghost Café – Coleman, AB Canada *
July 21/22 South Country Fair – Fort Macleod, AB Canada *
July 25 Arts Station – Fernie, BC Canada *
July 26-29 Calgary Folk Music Festial – Calgary, AB Canada *
Aug. 1 Butchart Gardens – Victoria, BC Canada *
Aug. 3 Char’s Landing – Port Alberni, BC Canada *
Aug. 5 Providence Farm Chapel – Duncan, BC Canada*
Aug. 10 Regina Folk Festival – Regina, SK Canada #
Aug. 11/12 Edmonton Folk Music Festival – Edmonton, AB Canada #
Aug. 15 Lion’s Bay Hall – Lion’s Bay, BC Canada #
Aug. 17-19 Salmon Arm Roots and Blues – Salmon Arm, BC Canada #
Sept. 8 – The Music Hall – Portsmouth, NH USA **
Sept. 22 – Prophetic Imagination – Minneapolis, MI USA
Oct. 18 – Blues Kitchen, London, UK *
Oct. 20 – Ramblin Roots Festival Utrecht, NL*
Nov. 15 – Lucerne Blues – Lucerne, CH*
Nov. 16 – Blues Alive – Sümperk, CZ *
* w/ Dimpker Brothers
** w/ The Seal Breakers
# w/ Dimpker Brothers + Gtar Phil


Rev. Sekou’s Website – Facebook – Twitter

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