Trumpeter, composer and bandleader Jaimie Branch was onstage in Paris, France, when an onstage rant evolved into an improvised song. It was the first time she introduced her singing voice to the world. “It wasn’t necessarily an intentional move at the beginning,” she said. “I had some tequila.”
At the time, Americans were casting their votes in the Nov. 6, 2018 midterm elections, and Branch needed to get some things off her chest. Branch, 36, said she wanted to send a message to “ranting right-wingers” and white supremacists who felt emboldened by the rhetoric of President Donald Trump. What began as a diatribe on the state of American politics became the song “prayer for amerikkka,” the centerpiece of her new album FLY or DIE II: bird dogs of paradise.