Diggin’: Pura Fé’s “Follow Your Heart’s Desire”

inNewson May 1, 2013

Pura Fe and Charly LowryListen: Follow Your Heart’s Desire

Photo of Pura Fé and Charly Lowry by Aaron Greenhood and Tim Duffy

When I sent Taj Mahal the album that includes this track, he described Pura Fé as, “A beautiful songbird who transcends time and brings the message of our ancestors who have sown this beautiful seed… a voice soaring, a foot stomping.”

At the beginning of the first recording session [for the album, Follow Your Heart’s Desire, in 2004], recording engineer Sol Creech and I sat with Pura Fé, coaxing out the songs.  She knew exactly in her mind what she wanted to come out of her guitar but she still lacked the expertise to play a song from beginning to end.  Sol – who I had been working with since he was a teenager and who had spent his summers with me, traveling the South making recordings – is a talented musician and a man of great patience.  He recorded Pura Fé’s guitar parts and stitched them together in the computer for her to listen to, and recorded the parts again until she was satisfied. This process took long hours late into the evening, but Pura Fé and Sol did not stop until every track was to her satisfaction.  She was an artist re-birthing herself and she treasured the Music Maker studio, which, at that time, had no cell reception and is filled with photos and relics of the many artists. Pura Fé told me, “I feel like I am working inside an altar surrounded by my musical ancestors.”

The late Willie Lowery was present at the session. An educator, activist, legendary musician, Willie dedicated his career to cultural politics.  His presence at the sessions lent a confidence and a sounding board to Pura Fé as she built this album.

When the music was complete Pura Fé  was ready to lay down the vocal tracks and she needed no help. When she sings, your senses are filled, all thoughts disappear, and her voice and message and being transfix you.

— Tim Duffy

To see when Pura Fé is performing at Jazzfest, click here!




Showing 5 comments
  • Lucy Duffy

    Great Tim! You write eloquently and with passion about your artists and your mission.

  • Pura Fe

    Thankyou very much for such a really well written piece Tim.
    It brings back some memories…

  • Malinda

    Great memories for me too! Lord, those guitars! 🙂

  • Dana

    I remember hearing this song for the first time and I instantly loved it. Almost a decade later and thousands of plays and its still a favorite. Good to hear some insight on the recording!

  • Jeff Grill

    Great piece, Tim. I well remember Pura Fé’s visit to Athens State University, her lecture, performance, and recording session in Huntsville after the performance. She is an amazing woman and artist.

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