Tuomo & Markus Share Covers of Prince and The Youngbloods (KEXP Premiere)

KEXP Premiere
11/01/2018
KEXP
photo by Renata Steiner

The mid-term elections are just around the corner, and KEXP implores everyone to just f*cking vote. Even those outside the country share this plea, like the Helsinki, Finland-based duo Tuomo & Markus, a project of soul artist and jazz musician Tuomo Prättälä and singer/songwriter Markus Nordenstreng from Finnish rock band The Latebirds.

Right before Election Day, on this Friday, November 2nd, they'll be releasing the three-song EP America/Get Together which will feature covers of the song "America" off Prince and The Revolution's 1985 LP Around the World in a Day and the mid-'60s hit from The Youngbloods, "Get Together." You can hear the world premiere for both those songs on The Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole later today. We asked the band what inspired them to cover these songs:

"We decided to record a special covers EP as a followup to our debut album release in North America. With the upcoming midterm elections and the current political turmoil in America that has turned into sheer violence, these old songs seemed very topical again. As world citizens, we acknowledge that US politics tend to have global implications. 

When Prince wrote "America" in the 1980s nuclear arms race was at its worst. Many of the nukes treaties that were eventually signed are now again challenged. Not to mention the current administration’s indifference towards climate change that should concern every person on the planet. 
Also, Prince's hook line in the chorus — "keep the children free" — seems extremely fitting in 2018, considering that Trump's immigration policy has been separating families on the US-Mexico border. 

Meanwhile The Youngbloods’ "Get Together" was conceived in the 1960s when America seemed about as divided as it is now. In the aftermath of the tragic events that took place in Pittsburgh last weekend, this track seems all the more powerful as it was once used as a radio public service announcement as a call for brotherhood by the National Conference of Christians and Jews. 

We also recorded Bob Dylan’s "Political World" in July upon the Trump-Putin summit in our hometown of Helsinki, Finland (watch here). To quote Mr. Dylan, we are currently living in a political world "where love don’t have any place," leaders commit faceless crimes, wisdom gets thrown into jail, courage seems like a thing of the past, peace is not welcome at all, and the next day could be our last. 

Please make a difference and vote!”

-Tuomo & Markus 

Watch the video for "America" (featuring trumpeter Verneri Pohjola), shot and edited by Markus himself, and check out their 2017 KEXP in-studio below. America/Get Together will be out Friday, November 2nd via Schoolkids Records. And you can catch Tuomo & Markus in Prince's hometown of Minneapolis on Friday, December 21st, playing at the legendary First Avenue with The Jayhawks. 

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