The Undeniable Magic of Francine Thirteen's Powerfully Feminine Ritual Pop

Dallas native Francine Thirteen celebrates the sacredness of feminine power through psychically charged pop in her video for “Sovereign, Song of Auras.”

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Jul 3 2017, 3:41pm

Dallas native Francine Thirteen celebrates the sacredness of feminine power through the entrancing hooks and backbeats of her psychically charged ritual pop. Shaped by her past—which lies in the tradition of the Baptist church—and her present—which is rooted in Afrofuturism, cellular memory, and the subversion of patriarchal archetypes—this self-defined Vesuvian's mystical hymns cast an irrevocable spell. On cuts like "13 Statements" and "The Shifter," Francine Thirteen revives the cosmic philosophy of Sun Ra and continues the tradition of oral storytelling by cultivating new myths of her own. Her songs are sonic talismans infused with an undeniable juju strong enough to make even the most cynical listener weak in the knees.

Currently at work on her forthcoming debut full-length 4 Marys and The King, Francine Thirteen conjures the spirits of Mami Wata in her latest video "Sovereign, Song of Auras." Inspired by her fascination with women's connection to the occult, the song explores this inextricable relationship through the multifaceted metaphor of blood. Whether it be tied to menstruation, fertility, lunar cycles, or DNA, the image is relentlessly invoked and doubly heightened by pulsating rhythms and jarring brass. Intuitively reminiscent of Vodou ceremony and lore, "Sovereign" taps into one of the many indigenous spiritual traditions linked to Francine Thirteen's ancestral bloodline, which according to the singer-songwriter has worked its way into her music "even when unintended." Opening with the flick of a serpent's tongue, smoke rises and bodies bend as blood spills. Even if viewed only once,"Sovereign" thrives long after its end.

Brought to life through her collaboration with director Dom G. Jones and her co-star Netherina Noble, the breathtakingly eerie perfection of her video amplifies the track's veneration of women and their connection to the earth and to one another. "Sovereign" centers its viewer, reminding them of the words of Jewell Parker Rhodes, a writer who Francine Thirteen cites as a direct inspiration for her work: "You can't escape history or spirits singing in your blood. When the mind refuses, the body knows."

Watch "Sovereign, Song of Auras," and prepare to become a devout believer in Francine Thirteen.

Dianca London Potts is staying connected on Twitter.