The Hamiltones Make Music For The Movement With New Album ‘1964’

« History is not the past. It is the present. We carry our history with us. We are our history. If we pretend otherwise we are literally criminals. » James Baldwin.

A year after the EP « Watch the Ton3s », North Carolina R&B/Soul trio The Hamiltones comes back with a powerful project entitled « 1964 ».

Released on August 28, date of the 57th anniversary of Martin Luther King « I Have A dream » speech and of the 65th anniversary of Emmett Till’s murder, 1964 commemorates The Civil Rights Act signed by then president Lyndon Johnson. The album will serve as the official soundtrack for the Restore Black Wall Street 2021 campaign.

Soulful to the core, Two-E, J.Vito and Tony Lelo made a name for themselves by developing an aesthetic forged by the duality between past and present. Behind that duality lies the motion of being contemporary while embodying history and tradition, the motion of being a vehicule through which old spirits circle back into the physical. This fascinating amalgam is at the center of a style that they aptly call « Young vintage ».

With 1964, This vision reaches its full potential as it serves a greater purpose. In a statement the group said :

We made this album to reflect the current movement and commemorate those that have struggled in this fight for freedom before us. This is our soundtrack.

From beginning to end, this soundrack takes us through an incredible journey, immersing us in an array of emotions that speak perfectly to the times. On the visceral « The Warning » – that features Ricco Barrino and Petey Pablo – the trio spreads a potent sense of urgency, making George Floyd’s cry for help resonate : « I can’t breathe, please officer get up off me ».

The cohesiveness of the project is a testament to the group’s vision as most of the tracks are combined with the voices of iconic african-american figures. Thus, listening to « Imagine » right after hearing Congressman John Lewis’s voice can only fill your soul with the kind of warmth that the activist professed towards his community during his life.

Drawing on a canvas of jazz, soul, hip-hop and funk rhythms, the grammy nominated trio shapes a poignant « Message to america » as it expresses how far the black community has come but also how much the fight is far from being over, especially in terms of racial justice and equality. Through all of this stands an identity and a culture to defend and celebrate.

As if it was meant to be, The Hamiltones support the movement with their most powerful effort to date. 1964 speaks to the present time while manifesting past frequencies. Lastly, it doesn’t fail to look towards the future. The key lies in the title itself as each figure is embedded in the Supreme Mathematics. Do the math or better yet, the knowledge.

Alfred Dilou

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