The London Roots Festival presents:

Fantastic Negrito

Islington Assembly Hall, London, GB

£30 Adv (+ Booking Fee)
Entry Requirements: 16+
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Part love story, part history lesson, Fantastic Negrito’s extraordinary new album, White Jesus Black Problems, is an exhilarating ode to the power of family and the enduring resilience of our shared humanity. Inspired by the illegal, interracial romance of his seventh generation grandparents—a white indentured servant and an enslaved Black man—in 1750s Virginia, the collection is bold and thought provoking, grappling with racism, capitalism, and the very meaning of freedom itself, all without ever losing sight of the desire and determination at the heart of the tale. While each track could stand easily on its own, stepping back to absorb the album and its companion film in their full context yields a far more transcendent experience, one that challenges our notions of who we are, where we come from, and where we’re headed.

Born Xavier Amin Dphrepaulezz, Negrito grew up in an orthodox Muslim household in Oakland, CA. After a car cash nearly robbed him of his ability to play guitar, he began an unlikely redemption arc in 2015, when he won the first NPR Tiny Desk Contest. In the years to come, Negrito would go on to take home three consecutive GRAMMYs for Best Contemporary Blues Album, tour with everyone from Sturgill Simpson to Chris Cornell, collaborate with the likes of Sting and E-40, launch his own Storefront Records label, perform at nearly every major festival on the map, and found the Revolution Plantation, an urban farm aimed at youth education and empowerment. Fantastic Negrito just received his 4th Grammy nomination, Best American Roots Performance, for the song “Oh Betty” from White Jesus Black Problems.

Line Up

Fantastic Negrito is a man’s truth told in the form of black roots music. Each song is a story about a musician from Oakland who experienced the highs of a million dollar record deal, the lows of a near fatal car accident that put him in a coma, and is now in the phase of rebirth despite his playing hand being mangled. Negrito’s music emphasizes rawness and space. Rather than update the Delta Blues, Fantastic Negrito leaves the original sounds of Lead Belly and Skip James intact, building bridges to a modern sound with loops and samples of his own live instruments. But the primary element that drives Fantastic Negrito’s music is uncut realness and zero concern for “pop” anything.

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