Tré Burt Shares ‘Under The Devil’s Knee’ Featuring Leyla McCalla, Allison Russell & Sunny War
Tre Burt shared a new song, “Under The Devil’s Knee,” featuring Leyla McCalla, Allison Russell and Sunny War. The singer-songwriter penned the Black Lives protest anthem in response to the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor with proceeds supporting the Community Justice Exchange’s National Bail Fund Network.
The song “takes an unflinching look at the systemic racism that thrives throughout the U.S.A., from police murdering the innocent with little to no consequence, economic racism and the purposeful failure to provide for Black communities and Black lives across the country,” as per a statement.
Burt also spoke about the song. Read his words below:
Humanity feels like it’s slipping away from us, as a country. I wanted to reinstate the humanity of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner and so many other brothers and sisters slain by police in the way I know how. I wanted to immortalize their dignity and make the work easy for future historians and remind the present that no matter what side of the aisle you’re on, this is about actual pain and real human suffering caused by a system of governance that is morally bankrupt. This I felt was my duty as an American songwriter to do. Music is a powerful force, especially when you put it through a protest song. It makes the fight more tangible. Reframes perspective. None of which entered my mind when writing this, at all. That was out of anger. I wrote this song out of anger. They should all be alive.
“Under The Devil’s Knee” arrived with an accompanying music video produced by Karlos Rene Ayala, who spoke about the impetus of the song and making the video:
It’s a strange time of change. Our voices appear massive and mouse-quiet all at the same time. Beyond the bunkers of our homes and smartphones, our eyes peer and witness that violence isn’t just a punch or a push, but can also be a law, a flag, an authority. Violence and trauma are available in the ether of algorithms, in these perpetual visuals depicting Black and Brown people being murdered on the streets of America by police officers. What is asked for? To be allowed to live freely and equally, that is all.
For this video, Tré and I desired to focus on everyday banality of Black life in America. We took mundane scenes, unadorned, insignificant, overly ordinary. The videos are archival, mostly; they are of baths, of eating cereal, cleaning house, playing outside, building and rebuilding, making art, of friendship, of love, and of family. These are scenes of Black Americans going about their everyday life, much like George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Eric Garner were before they were taken from their friends, family, and communities by authorities we are taught and told to trust. The peaceful moments throughout the video are obscured and interrupted by burning film reels. Every year, there are posts memorializing Michael Brown and his death in Ferguson. That changed us all, to this day we continue to be changed by it. Everyday, the reels burn and break.
Watch the video for “Under The Devil’s Knee” below: