Sampha’s 'Treasure' Performance Is a Collaborative Moment of Black Excellence
Reenacted on stage with some of the most emotionally-intelligent and culturally-influential black artists, "Treasure" turns into a live relationship.
Sampha's live televised performances are few and far between.
It seems like he is always silently working on something emotive and remarkable in the background. But when he finally does face the camera, the moment is heart wrenching and unforgettable. You are surrounded by his full, delicate yet unwavering voice, like walking into a dimly lit room.
Last week, he appeared on The Late Late Show with James Corden, along with a flurry of some of his magnificent musical friends. Kelsey Lu, Robert Glasper, serpentwithfeet and Kamasi Washington joined Sampha on stage in a moment of beautiful, monumental harmony.
They came together to perform Sampha's latest, "Treasure," written for Beautiful Boy, the Steve Carell and Timothee Chalamet film on a father-son relationship.
Sampha is an expert at extrapolating complex, difficult and often wordless emotions into illustrious lyrics and stirring instrumentals, and unsurprisingly "Treasure" feels more his song than a commissioned work. Reenacted on stage with some of the most emotionally & musically intelligent, and culturally-influential black artists turns "Treasure" into a live relationship. This performance articulates the magic that occurs when powerful, aesthetically disparate yet intentionally connected musicians collaborate in unison.
Robert Glasper, known for his indulgently romantic, jazzy black power ballads with The Robert Glasper Experiment, reveals himself as a gentle yet firm pianist perfectly mirroring Sampha. Kamasi Washington's sporadic, hypnotic saxophone becomes a hushed, tantalizing whisper amidst the echoes of spiraling instruments. Kelsey Lu, a force of queer, eclectic nature, known for her classical-gospel-folk songs, is partnered with serpentwithfeet, the eccentric and loving avante garde singer using his upfront vocals to express worship for men. Together they harmonize with Sampha gorgeously, without losing their own tone and personality.
It is a mesmerizing audio-visual experience of black excellence. Watch Sampha's "Treasure" performance above.
Read: Sampha's Process and the Necessity of Vulnerable Black Masculinity