Austin’s Black Pumas Tapped To Play At Virtual Inauguration Celebration

The psychedelic soul group played Eric Burton’s song “Colors” after a special request from the Biden team.

By Leah Scarpelli, Laura Rice & Shelly BrisbinJanuary 22, 2021 11:25 am, ,

Wednesday’s midday inauguration ceremony featured musical performances from the likes of Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez and Garth Brooks. When it came to the fancy inaugural balls, though, the celebrations looked a lot different. There were plenty to be had online, continuing well into the evening. That’s when Texas’ own Black Pumas had just over three-and-a-half minutes to shine.

It’s hardly the first time the Grammy-nominated psychedelic soul band has been in the national spotlight. Eric Burton is frontman for the Black Pumas. He told Texas Standard that the band’s management had secured gigs for the Black Pumas, performing at pre-inauguration events for Vice President Harris. Positive reaction led to an invitation to the main event on inauguration night.

“I didn’t know that we were going to be performing for the inauguration until maybe a day and a half before it actually happened,” Burton said.

The Pumas recorded at Austin’s Moody Theater, where “Austin City Limits” is filmed.

“It is very weird, still, to perform anything live without an actual audience,” Burton said. “But we’ve done it so much that it’s become somewhat of a normality.”

The band performed Burton’s song “Colors” for the inauguration.

“‘Colors’ represents my journey and pursuit to my highest self,” Burton said. “At the time that I wrote it, which was about 13 years ago, I was leading praise and worship at a Presbyterian church, and was kind of seeking my own inner truth.”

The Pumas didn’t choose their inauguration song. Burton says “Colors” was a “special request.”

Burton says he’s thankful for the success Black Pumas have had, even during the pandemic, which includes the group’s first Grammy nomination.

“All these beautiful things that are happening, we definitely don’t take it for granted,” he said. “[We’re] very thankful that people fancy us enough to support us and give us that space and time within this retrograde period that we’re all experiencing.”

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