Five Questions With HuDost

HuDost is made up of Kentucky-based musicians and activists Jemal Wade Hines, and originally from Montreal, QC, Moksha Sommer. They have unveiled a powerful video for their single, “Our Words Will Be Louder”.

The new song is a vital message for positive, collective action to be taken in this vulnerable and polarized time. “Our Words Will Be Louder” was co-written with Dan Haseltine (GRAMMY Award-winning band Jars of Clay) and Guitar World magazine’s “Acoustic Guitarist of the Year,” Christie Lenée.

Specifically, the song addresses how inadequate people can feel until they give their voices to a larger purpose, and the video has several cameo performances from artists and activists — including Jars of Clay, Kevin Hearn (The Barenaked Ladies), Kevin Clash (creator of Elmo), Cy Curnin (The FIXX), Gangstagrass, Jai Uttal, Hymn for Her, The Accidentals, JP Durand, Liza Carbe (Incendio), and others.

Proceeds from “Our Words Will Be Louder” will be directed to The Poor People’s Campaign, a non-profit organization committed to lifting up and deepening the leadership of those most affected by systemic racism, poverty, the war economy, and ecological devastation as well as to building unity across lines of division.

At the end of HuDost’s music video is riveting footage of peaceful protests and the voice of The Poor People’s Campaign’s main leader, Reverend William J. Barber II, saying these words:

“We will stand up again, we will march again, we will preach again, we will organize again. We are black, we are white, we are latino, we are native American, we are democrat, we are republican, we are independent, we are people of faith, we are people not of faith, we are natives and immigrants, we are business leaders and workers and unemployed, we are doctors and the uninsured, we are gay, we are straight, we are students, we are parents, we are retirees, we are America, and we are here and we ain’t going nowhere!”

The power of his voice and this unyielding proclamation, summarizes the message of the song and music video. Sommer and Hines both have learned a great deal by acting as congressional district representatives for ONE, a non-profit advocacy organization working to end extreme poverty globally, in Kentucky for almost six years. Through advocacy work, they have come to know how to be a voice for people who are not being heard and have been amazed by what can happen with the power of collective voice. In this desperate time, they feel profoundly pushed and inspired to work locally and nationally. Their music is a direct expression of this drive and they hope that it will be part of what motivates others to take action in this time.

In addition to benefiting The Poor People’s Campaign, HuDost also hopes that this song will encourage early voting. There has never been a greater need for all voices to be heard.

Check out the video below and find out more about HuDost via our Five Questions With segment.

Care to introduce yourself to our readers?

Absolutely! We are HuDost. Our music is a fusion of Folk, World, and Rock. I am from Montreal and my husband is from KY and we have toured the U.S., Canada, and Europe constantly since April 2006. We have a truly awesome 7-year old son. In addition to being deeply committed parents and musicians, we are highly engaged activists, doing advocacy work as KY Congressional District Representatives for ONE (a non-profit organization working to end extreme poverty and, specifically, the sexism of poverty).

Tell us a bit about your music and writing style.

There is a lot of variability in our style but we, somehow, make it cohesive in terms of our overall sound and way of performing. For example, our most recent album, ‘of Water + Mercy’, received rave reviews and, as an independent release, reached #24 in the BILLBOARD SALES CHARTS for Folk/Americana. It just won The Independent Music Award for Social Action Song. We had never previously called what we do ‘Folk/Americana’ or ‘Social Action’! To give you deeper insight, the album we did prior to that was called ‘Sufi Kirtan’ and was entirely world fusion. So, we love to explore musically. We create music that is a rich, eclectic blending of pop and rock with traditional Sufi music, Bulgarian, Croatian, Macedonian, and Balkan folk music, Farsi, Turkish, Arabic, and folk. As songwriters, we are not bound to one way of writing and I love to challenge myself with discovering new ways of crafting songs. I regard it as part of my creative process journey.

How are you keeping creative without shows? What are you spending your time on?

This has actually been an insanely busy time for us! We were supposed to be touring all over North America, Europe, and Africa this year. When Covid hit, all of those dates were canceled but we didn’t let it stop us. This spring we were supposed to perform an interdisciplinary piece at OZ Arts in Nashville. We suddenly had to completely re-think how we were going to present the piece and, instead of performing, the dancers were videoed in isolation, we recorded the whole score, and we presented the whole piece as an online premiere. It was a collaboration with visual artist Jana Harper and choreographer Rebecca Steinberg that received an NEA Grant. With those adaptations and changes, it received a Writer’s Choice award for “Best Move From Live Performance to Video” AND a Readers’ Poll tie for “Best Streaming Event” through NASHVILLE SCENE. We have also written almost an entire album, done several live-streamed concerts (both on our own and through some of the art centers and festivals that we were supposed to be touring/playing this summer), and have created new music videos that we are really proud of. We have also been kayaking and hiking! 😉

If you were asked to suggest only one of your songs for someone to hear, which would it be?

We are very proud of our new single and music video, ‘Our Words Will be Louder’ (co-written with Dan Haseltine (GRAMMY Award-winning band Jars of Clay) and Guitar World magazine’s “Acoustic Guitarist of the Year,” Christie Lenée). We wrote it in response to the state of the world as a means to speak out against injustice and encourage early voting in the US. It is a strong cry for positive collective action to be taken in this vulnerable and polarized time. Creating this song and music video has been inspiring, terrifying, and moving in more ways than I can possibly voice. All of the amazing people involved have shown me the true power of unified voice and vision. Specifically, the song addresses how inadequate people can feel until they give their voices to a larger purpose, and the video has several cameo performances from artists and activists — including Jars of Clay, Kevin Hearn (The Barenaked Ladies), Kevin Clash (creator of Elmo), Cy Curnin (The FIXX), Gangstagrass, Jai Uttal, Hymn for Her, The Accidentals, JP Durand, Liza Carbe (Incendio), and others.

Proceeds from “Our Words Will Be Louder” will be directed to The Poor People’s Campaign, a non-profit organization committed to lifting up and deepening the leadership of those most affected by systemic racism, poverty, the war economy, and ecological devastation as well as to building unity across lines of division.

Canadian Beats is all about Canadian music, so who are your current favourite Canadian bands/ artists?

I have so many longstanding Canadian artists that I absolutely adore and the list is far too long to write. I would slap myself if I didn’t mention Joni Mitchell, Lhasa, and Leonard Cohen (since they are some of my biggest songwriting influences). But in terms of current Canadian artists, here are a few astonishing ones: Bell Orchestre, Digging Roots, and I will say that Kevin Hearn (from The Barenaked Ladies) is one of my favorite Canadian Artists….and not just because he is in our music video! He has awesome side projects that everyone should check out (including collaborations with the Rheostatics, touring with  Lou Reed, and his own group, Kevin Hearn and Thin Buckle).

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