People Need People is the title of Nicola Conte and Gianluca Petrella‘s latest album on Schema Records. The last time these two released a record together was 16 years ago on the same exact label. Although several years have passed since their last collaboration, this record cannot be any timelier. At a moment in history when most of us cannot see as much of our friends and family as we’d like, Conte and Petrella have put together an 11 track LP that celebrates our innate need to be with one another and how self-love can be the bridge until we meet again.
To tell this story of solidarity, Conte and Petrella rely on an all-star cast of poets, singers, and instrumentalists. In total, there are 15 artists from 7 different countries featured throughout People Need People, which I believe deliberately exemplifies the collaborative experiences our souls require to thrive as individuals. By performing an array of sounds that range from Detroit future dance to afrobeat and spiritual jazz, this album sets out to elevate our state consciousness in the hope of strengthening us during an unprecedented period of social distancing and loneliness.
“Inner Light,” which is their song with US-based MC Raashan Ahmad directly speaks to the central purpose of this album. Using free-form, Afrocentric jazz melodies as a mantric backdrop, the duo allow the spoken word poetry of Ahmad to take center stage – instructing his listeners to “awaken the sleeping giant within, which has feasted far too long on fear, self-doubt, stress worry.” These powerful words of wisdom illuminate that the person we need the most is oftentimes ourselves and that we must shine bright as individuals if we ever hope to break through the darkness that surrounds us all.
This song, along with the other 10 on People Need People, hits stores today and can be purchased here!