Music, News

Lara Downes’ New Record Label, Rising Sun Music, Celebrates Black Composers

Lara Downes is also the host of the NPR Music show "Amplify."
Lara Downes is also the host of the NPR Music show "Amplify."
Credit Jiyang Chen

Pianist Lara Downes is a visionary artist. She’s worked to provide context for our experience with music with her new record label Rising Sun Music. The label offers digital download recordings of Black composers. She joined “City Lights” host Lois Reitzes to talk about her research, the tracks and the stories behind these composers.

She created the label as a way to celebrate the forgotten and overlooked Black composers of the past and present. “All of these stories, all of these people, all of their work, it’s all connected and somehow escaped our attention all of these years,” Downes said.

The music is accompanied by commentary, which is narrated by Downes. “I’m learning more all the time and discovering more,” she said. “I want to be able to bring everybody along with me on this journey. It’s really an astounding revelation.”

Each month, Rising Sun Music offers a new set of tracks that can be streamed on Spotify.

The March tracks are:

  • Hazel Scott’s Peace of Mind with Lara Downes
  • Florence Price’s Barcarolle with Lara Downes
  • Margaret Bonds’ What Lips My Lips Have Kissed with Lara Downes & soprano Nicole Cabell
  • Nora Holt’s Nora’s Dance with Lara Downes

The playlists and tracks can be streamed here.

On March 22, the SheFest of Women in Music will feature “A Conversation with Lara Downes, Hosted by Lia Uribe.” She will discuss her work and advocacy as a pianist and NPR commentator. Downes is also the host of the new NPR Music show “Amplify.