Ever since the wave of Afrobeat swept across the five continents, the perception of African music has changed. Urban, creative, they invent new rhythms and electronic beats at breakneck speed, which spread virally. If the hegemony remains largely with Anglophones – Nigerians and South Africans at the top – some musicians from French-speaking Africa will not be defeated. Starting with Fally Ipupa, friend of Wizkid and others.
The Congolese is one of the two headliners with the Tanzanian Diamond Platnumz at the Zimix Festival, which takes place this Saturday, June 25th in Lausanne. Fans of spectacular shows, get ready: no fewer than 20 musicians and dancers are expected alongside the Congolese star on the Métropole stage for a concert visually inspired by the tradition of rumba-soukouss big bands such as Papa Wemba or Koffi Olomidé has made them popular – with lush clothes for the star, tight jeans for the dancers, whose pelvis can seem to swing indefinitely.
It was in Kinshasa, in Koffi Olomidé’s Quartier Latin group, that Fally Ipupa studied. Protected by the maestro, he hesitated before setting about making his first album under his name, against his advice. Right way was released in 2006. Its success in French-speaking Africa is dazzling. A year later, Fally Ipupa is at the Olympia. The wheel of success continues to turn in the right direction and very quickly… A second album follows in 2009 and a third in 2013, both selling like hot cakes with videos that drive YouTube counters crazy. Awards rain down – from MTV Africa to Trace TV – as do prestigious invitations to Africa and the United States. In March 2014 the Huffington Post the richest African artist in class 6. Rich, lucky, famous: Fally Ipupa makes his fans dream with love songs and a flawless journey.
Velvet voice, character with several names, dressed like a prince, Fally Ipupa is also the king of the duo: Booba, Youssoupha, Aya Nakamura, MHD, Dadju, Ninho, Wizkid, Mr. Pokora, Youssou N’Dour… We count you no more collaborations. “I listen to traditional Congolese music every day, Ekonda, Luba, Mukaji, Anamongo music: all this music that dances, that sings. But apart from that I also listen to George Benson, BB King and everything that’s happening right now. I bridge the gap between rumba, traditional and urban music, that’s my musical universe,” explains Fally Ipupa on the phone while he’s still in Kinshasa, just a few days before his Swiss concert. In some of his music videos, such as Nzoto, The artist does not hesitate to juxtapose scenes shot in the village to traditional rhythms with others in ultramodern sets and electronic rhythms.
Tokooos nothing else
To refine its artistic program, the Eagle, as it is most commonly known, has developed its own concept: tokooos, a neologism of the word lingala kitoko, which means beautiful, positive. In 2017 he released an album under this name. There have appeared control (the strange exception of the series), Tokyo II in 2020 and today its reissue Tokooos II Gold plus 15 unreleased tracks. A longtime crooner, a perfectionist who refines the work of each sound, Fally Ipupa defines himself “an entertainer who sings about love”. That doesn’t stop him from getting involved and messaging when the situation calls for it.
“As I speak to you today, the east of my country is at war: civilian populations are being massacred, women are being raped. I made the track seven years ago stop the war to denounce this. On Tokooos II Gold, I also invited Youssou N’Dour to interpret the title with me Wandering Dreams.” Fally Ipupa is also the director of a charitable foundation and was named UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in Congo last year.
“The show to see once in a lifetime”
The first artist from French-speaking Africa to rack up a billion views on YouTube, he also has a presence across the Atlantic – a tour is also planned for the start of the school year ahead of a new album touted as a return to rumba. For the fourth time, he is one of the artists selected for the BET Music Awards, the awards presented by Black Entertainment Television, an American broadcaster primarily designed to highlight African American pop artists and those of other minorities.
So far, the reward has always passed under his nose in favor of his English-speaking colleagues. “Since the inception of the BET Awards in 2001, no French-speaking artist has won. However, music should not be judged by the language, but by the work done, the stage performance, the merit. This year we will see whether the mentality of the jury has changed!” Answer on June 27th. In the meantime, the Eagle takes off for Switzerland two days earlier. And if we ask him for a good reason to see him on stage in Lausanne, we can imagine him smiling a few thousand kilometers from our ears: “My show is THE show to see at least once in a lifetime must have. , at least once before dying…”
Zimix, a festival celebrating African creativity
After a first edition in 2021 at the Salle des fêtes in Renens, the Zimix Festival has decided to hit loud and clear to make the voice of urban African music audible to as many people as possible: understand the Africans of Switzerland, the Afro descendants and the Swiss. Behind this ambitious project is Mario Momo Kenfack, a Cameroonian, almost Waldensian, engineer at CFF, who sees his event as “an exhibition platform for African creativity”.
Ahead of headliner Fally Ipupa, the Salle Métropole welcomes Diamond Platnumz, the Tanzanian king of bongo flava, a mix of R’n’B, hip-hop and Afropop. The 32-year-old musician, who has multiple albums to his credit, is also an entrepreneur who owns a TV station and radio. The after-party (from midnight to 4am) takes place at the Salle des Fêtes of the Casino de Montbenon with DJs Karter and Marcus Lyon.
Zimix Festival, Salle Métropole and Casino de Montbenon, Lausanne, Saturday 25 June from 6pm to 4am
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