Originally recorded by David Bergeaud on 2014-03-05 in Topanga, CA as a live improvisation with Derek on oud and David on tongue drum. The raw track was 7:45 long. Derek edited that down to 6:38, arranged all the Pernambucano percussion parts (mostly maracatú and afoxé), and overdubbed those on 2014-11-19 at the Alchemy Castle in Hollywood, CA.
On 2014-08-09, after the original duet was recorded and while Derek was deciding what to do with the track, Mike Brown was murdered by the police in Ferguson, MO, sparking a rebellion of people demanding justice that grew into the #BlackLivesMatter movement. This eruption of protest against police brutality (and the national debate it generated) was incredibly inspiring, and at the same time, tragic. So many Black lives being murdered by the state, so few of the murderers ever being held accountable. But after years of small, isolated protests against these murders, things were finally starting to coalesce into a national movement. Derek felt that this mood of both defiance and tragedy resonated with the melodies of the song, and he decided to write the percussion arrangement to further reflect the determination of the people of Ferguson in their search for justice.
Oxóssi is the Yoruba spirit of the hunter, the forest, and abundance. Derek wanted to invoke the idea of Oxóssi visiting Ferguson to support the peoples' hunt for justice. The track is dedicated to Mike Brown and all of the countless people who have lost their lives to the racist and oppressive political and social structures in the United States and around the world.
Some alternate ideas for the title, in no particular order:
- Procession for the Wrongfully Dead / Processão dos Mortos Injustamente / Procesión de los Muertos Injustamente
- We Are Here
- Right to Breath