Force Majeure

Force Majeure

Stuck in their Harlem apartment during the COVID-19 crisis, bassist Dezron Douglas and harpist Brandee Younger did what many musicians did: They took to the internet and livestreamed. And they ended up with an album, Force Majeure, culled from their intimate living room shows. The title comes from the obscure emergency clause in a contract that allows for abrupt cancellation of gigs—a disaster for performers worldwide. Douglas and Younger rise above it with an uplifting set, leaning into the intimate, sparkling sound of their paired string instruments, offering solace to listeners and themselves. The repertoire’s multi-genre breadth is striking: pieces by Alice and John Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders right alongside tracks by Sting, Kate Bush, The Stylistics, the Jackson 5, and Joe Raposo of Sesame Street fame. Amid casual banter and impassioned exhortations—Douglas sets up Coltrane’s “Wise One” with a call for justice for Ahmaud Arbery—the duo goes about it all in a spirit of honesty and vulnerability, shorn of any pretension.

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