Song of the Day: Ghostpoet – Immigrant Boogie

Photo by Steve Gullick

Photo by Steve Gullick

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJ’s think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on The Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is “Immigrant Boogie” by Ghostpoet from the 2017 album Dark Days + Canapés on PIAS.

Ghostpoet – Immigrant Boogie (MP3)

Obaro Ejimiwe returns with his fourth full-length under the name Ghostpoet. The UK artist has been nominated twice for the prestigious Mercury Music Prize, and may just land a third with Dark Days + Canapés.

The new album is a more straightforward delivery from the mysterious MC. In a press release, he shares, “I’m usually more comfortable writing in ambiguous terms, but this time around I felt there were specific stories that needed telling.” In the case of today’s haunting Song of the Day, that story reflects the plight of a refugee. Ejimiwe continues, “It’s a first-person account of a difficult journey across borders, partly intended to ask those who have questioned the arrival of refugees in recent times what they would do in the same situation. The song is written in two halves — the first hopeful for a brighter future, while the second sees hope snatched away by forces beyond the control of the storyteller. There is an important story to be told there, but I wrote the song in a way that aims to capture a broader human truth: that while we are all working for a better life for ourselves, we have to accept that we are not in control of the outcome.”

The stand-out single features Charlie Steen of south London band Shame on backing vocals, as well as the guitar work of Leo Abrahams of Wild Beasts and Frightened Rabbit. Abrahams also produced the album, helping Ghostpoet achieve a fuller, more guitar-based sound than we’ve ever heard from him. “There’s a sort of life-force that Leo and the other musicians brought to this record, and that was crucial,” Ejimiwe adds.

Ghostpoet is on tour in the UK through October and November; no U.S. dates yet, but you can follow him on Facebook and Twitter for the latest. In the meantime, check out a video for today’s featured song below. The clip, directed by Zhang + Knight, captures the track’s heartbreaking tale of humanity.

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