South African artist Desire Marea has announced that he’ll follow his 2020 self-titled debut with his sophomore album (and first for Mute Records), On The Romance Of Being, due April 7 (pre-order). The album was recorded live with thirteen musicians, including Sibusiso Mashiloane, Sbu Zondi, Portia Sibiya, Andrei Van Wyk, Sanele Ngubane, and more.
Alongside the album announcement, Desire Marea shared new single “Be Free,” a sprawling track with incisive lyrics and constantly-shifting instrumentals. The song swings from jazz to gospel to almost-punk to rival and complement Desire’s expressive vocals. He shares:
One of my heroes, Marlon Riggs, said ‘Black men loving black men is THE revolutionary act.’ ‘Be Free’ is a love story about two black men loving each other through the crisis of masculinity. It’s set in South Africa’s hypermasculine world of taxi gangs, one of the many places where gay men exist often under a layer of oppression that’s in addition to the homophobic violence of the world at large. It was important for me to tell this story because love, even under such conditions, is always a story worth telling. And freedom is always something worth fighting for. I am grateful to the team and to [director Imraan Christian] for the passion, care and nuance he gave to this story.
About the video, director Imraan Christian adds:
When Desire reached out to me about creating a film together, I was overjoyed as I’ve always found his work to be at the forefront of creativity. He told me about the story he had written and it resonated with me deeply as I’ve lost a loved one recently to the struggles of addiction and love. There was something universal in Desire’s writing and my intention was then to bring a strong emotional and cinematic approach to making the film.
Check out the new song/video, album art, and tracklist below…
On The Romance Of Being Tracklisting
2. Be Free