Kashimana Ahua is releasing her album, “Phantom Cries,” at the Cedar Cultural Center, July 28. Ahua says the album reflects her experiences with the multiple stages of motherhood, including pregnancy, labor, and birth, as well as postpartum depression, recovery, loss, and early motherhood. Ahua says listeners are going to experience both the real and the raw of the first five years of her daughter's life.
“It is going to be a journey through the messiness of motherhood and labor and joy and questioning. We're going to laugh, we're going to cry, we're gonna wonder. And most importantly, we're gonna connect with one another in this shared experience. People can be vulnerable with one another in their experiences of motherhood,” Ahua said.
Ahua says her experience as a solo caregiver has transformed not only her artistry, but her relationship with herself and her life.
“You have songs like ‘A Fire,’ which are about the joys of oh, my God, this person is here, we are a mother, all this love is just coming, and I feel on fire with the love. And then there's ‘Honey Bunny,’ which is a lullaby for parents that are going through right now and trying to get their kids to sleep,” Ahua reflected. “This memory of the song ‘The Let Down, Get Down,’ and the complications of nursing and the timing. And then ‘Bigger Than My Body,’ speaking towards expanding and changing, and being reborn.”
Ahua says the album also captures her newfound sense of grace.
“There's a song called “Only Human” that talks to ‘I'm human. I'm not perfect, I'm going to make mistakes,’” continued Ahua. “There's a song called ‘Strong Black Mother,’ and it speaks to more of enjoying the softness, and giving myself some of that grace that's needed. That tender loving and caring.”
Ahua will be performing with Aja Parham, Sarah O'Neil, Khary Jackson, Glory Yard and Alicia Steele. Shavunda Brown, who is also a mother, opens the evening. Ahua says performing amongst other artists is the gift of collective healing.
“People say build your village, build your support system, and you take the steps to do that, right. And life happens, and so the flexibility and availability changes. I feel like we've been set up to isolate us into these silos of not talking with each other or collectively sharing information and resources,” Ahua said. “It's just been such a cool experience to bring their voices and sing with them in this project.”
The release party for Phantom Cries takes place at the Cedar Cultural Center on July 28. Doors open at 7pm.