"As with so many of our songs, the message of “Resilient” has taken on a new poignancy in this time of disruption, isolation, and uncertainty,” says David Brown, bassist and baritone guitar player for the global folk band Rising Appalachia, about the remixed version of “Resilient” that was released Friday. NPR Music praised the original track when it was released as an “uplifting, original folk anthem,” and this remix is no different. The music matches the mood of the times while the lyrics remain planted in hope, deepening the notion that music—Rising Appalachia’s in particular—can be both timeless and timely. The remixed version of “Resilient” is now available for streaming and purchase.
Leah Song’s quote around the 2018 original version, the band’s most successful streaming track to date, rings truer now than ever. “We want to bring attention to issues facing our homelands and our world—indigenous justice, public education, environmental reclamation, reforming and redefining justice, and most importantly finding local solutions. After everything that's happened these past couple of years, and is still happening, we need to remember that we the people are resilient, and can become more so. To live with hope in a time where apathy is rampant and even excessive is a great act of resistance. What we choose to bring into our focus in this life will greatly affect our very own reality let alone the world around us. Let hope and resiliency be contagious.”
In an effort to stay creative while quarantining, Brown—who produced “Resilient Remix” under the moniker of his side project, CASTANEA—began remixing and reinterpreting old Rising Appalachia tunes, adding new instrumentation and beats to the songs, and also changing their time signatures and harmonic structures. He saw new potential in the powerful lyrics of “Resilient” and chose to shift the tone from major to minor, giving an introspective and manta-like feel to an otherwise uplifting song. Brown spliced in parts from other band members including Arouna Diarra’s ngoni recorded in between takes while in the studio for Leylines and Duncan Wickle’s home-recorded, remix-specific string parts.
This single comes on the heels of the band’s Earth Day release, “Stand Like An Oak,” an intimate track encouraging listeners to “put away your cares” and “fold up your fears”; to “stand like an Oak” in the face of trying times—which featured soft harmonies and a focused message of support. Watch the video here.
For other isolation ideas, if you haven’t yet seen Rising Appalachia’s Tiny Desk Concert which features songs from Leylines, their most recent record, might we suggest checking that out on NPR Music.
More About Rising Appalachia: Sisters Leah Song and Chloe Smith, known musically as Rising Appalachia, are just as much stewards for their earth and its peoples as they are musicians. Framing their foundation of traditional American music with West African n’goni and Celtic-Irish fiddle, Rising Appalachia have landed on something that has the potential to grow its own roots, rather than leaning on one particular past—folk music from different corners of the world all working together as one, used as a sharpened tool for cultural and environmental preservation and education.
Their newest album, Leylines, has been a defining record for the sister-led band, garnering praise from a wide swath of critics and solidifying their place in the greater Americana musical movement. Brooklyn Vegan called “Speak Out,” one of the album's standout tunes featuring Ani DiFranco, “an appealing dose of fiddle-fueled folk and close harmonies.” NPR praised album closer, “Resilient,” as an “uplifting, original folk anthem” and Rolling Stone called their sound “protest music for the modern age bolstered by delicate, skillful musicianship and otherworldly vocal harmonies.” On Leylines, Leah and Chloe are joined by longtime members David Brown (stand-up bass, baritone guitar) and Biko Casini (world percussion), as well as two new members: West African musician Arouna Diarra (n’goni, talking drum) and Irish musician Duncan Wickel (fiddle, cello). The sonic textures of these two cultures are woven into Leylines, enhancing the stunning blend of folk, world, and urban music that has become Rising Appalachia’s calling card.