The Outcries of Roots Grown Deep

by Joel Karabo Elliott



'The Outcries' are part of the first two movements of Roots Grown Deep, JKE's musical story of unlearning, awakening and ascension. From the pavements of America to the river valleys of the Limpopo in South Africa . . .


What are ‘roots’ exactly? People search for them in family, in home, in history. We of the Diaspora seem forever in search of them, pining for our source of personal meaning in an epoch preferring various forms of mental and physical colonization. Yet it seems to me that roots are not something to found like a lost trinket or forgotten story. Roots are something you grow whenever and wherever you are ready.

The music of Roots Grown Deep is my testimony of unlearning . . . the rumblings of an ancestral hunger manifested within myself as the need to taste an older, more authentic way of living. A U.S. American by birth and culture, I struggled to taste an integrated life in the modern cities and suburbs of my youth. I felt all the contradictions. Discontent with the hollowness of reigning systems, I was also a product of them, bearing in my consciousness and personality all the blessings and curses of modern education, patriotic consumerism and rugged individualism. Eventually I was compelled to seek the most ancient soil, the place of elders and extended family and life lived on the land. Here we experience daily life as unfolding drama rather than rationalization, as a redemption discovered in community more than a salvation found autonomously.

As I lived the elemental simplicity of Limpopo village life…bathing ko Leppelleng, sharing meals around the fire, singing songs of tragedy, love and praise, planting trees and giving them to thousands of households…I finally experienced a life in which spirituality is not a pursuit or belief but is the living fabric itself. - jKe

Produced by Joel Karabo Elliott
Recorded & mixed by Harold Kolkman and Chris Mocke in Makgobaskloof, Limpopo, South Africa


released December 12, 2012


all rights reserved



Joel Karabo Elliott LP, South Africa

Joel Karabo Elliott (jKe) is an Amer-Afrikan composer, musical healer and steward of the global ensemble Roots Grown Deep. Joel's instrumental versatility and unique blend of guitar, voice, winds, piano and percussion gives his music the feeling of a focused wandering between the American and African continents. ... more

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