During quarantine, the staff at the IAHI have been busy both in and out of the “office” and have been staying sane with some much needed music. We’ve compiled a list of our favorite jams that keep us focused, calm or put us in a dancing mood!

Today’s list is brought to you by Shonda Gladden, a graduate research assistant at the IAHI and PhD student in the IUPUI American Studies Program.

*Warning: Some of these songs contain strong language and may require adult supervision*

“Back in the 1990s, I remember hearing a song, I think it was by Madonna, that said, “music makes the people come together.” Unfortunately, with COVID-19 and stay at home orders being in place around the world, the people shouldn’t be coming together at all. Here’s my list of ten musical treats to stay home with (in no particular order)”

1. Anthony Brown and group therAPy- Trust In You 
This has become my quarantine anthem. I probably play it at least three times a day to remind myself that there’s a Higher Power in whom I must place my trust in this season. It doesn’t hurt that this group is composed of members of my college choir, the Morgan State University Choir.

2. The Morgan State University Choir- A Silver Celebration 
If you’re missing being able to go out to experience live concerts then this is the track for you! Although I’m biased (if you look hard enough you just might catch a glimpse of me from almost twenty-five years ago), this is choral music at its finest!

3. 2Pac- Trapped 
Although 2Pac was rapping about the state of Black manhood in the nineties, at this point most of us are trapped… hopefully with enough toilet paper and food. If you want another 2Pac song to consider, try Ghetto Gospel  (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Do5MMmEygsY), his mother, Afeni Shakur’s words are projected as an important message for all of us to heed. (trigger warning, violent death is depicted in video)

4. Chuck Brown and the Soul Searchers- Bustin’ Loose 
After more than a month of quarantine and self-isolation, the godfather of Go-Go presents a rhythmic anthem to which everyone can probably relate.

5. Bill Withers- Just the Two of Us 
As I look at my soon to be twelve year and realize how long we have been in the house together I am encouraged that we have (so far) leaned into the best of Bill Withers’ declaration. May he rest in peace among the ancestors.  

6. Tank and The Bangas- NPR Tiny Desk Concert 
Honestly, I really wanted to just list all of my favorite NPR Tiny Desk Concerts as my entire playlist, but I thought that might be overkill. This one is a must consider though. It’s real good, feel good music; and I’m not the only one who thinks so- this was selected as the 2017 Tiny Desk Concert of the Year!

7 and 8. Esperanza Spalding- Wild is the Wind 
Esperanza is my absolute favorite living artist so of course she must be on my playlist! This live version of one of my “go-to” soothing songs at the end of a long day; I recommend it to mellow even the most stressful mood one might find themselves in. If you needed another Esperanza recommendation for a mellow moment, try Thang 

9 and 10. Thelonius Monk- Round Midnight 
When you’re ready to shut things down for a good night, whether you’re looking to sleep or spend the night doing something else, this is the track for you. If you want to keep that same energy, but maybe modernize it a bit, check out Beautiful by Robert Glasper

BONUS: Sunny Neji- Wash Your Hands O 

“Last, but certainly not least, as we are still being admonished to do our part in flattening the curve by staying home, don’t forget that we still need to remember to wash our hands!”

We hope you enjoyed this list and stay tuned for more staff music picks!

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