Since the wave of Afrobeats has spilled over the five continents, the perception of African music has changed. Urban, creative, they invent new rhythms and electronic beats at breakneck speed, which themselves spread virally. If the hegemony remains to this day largely held by Anglophones – Nigerians and South Africans in the lead -, some musicians from French-speaking Africa are not letting themselves be done. Starting with Fally Ipupa, friend of Wizkid and others.
The Congolese is, with the Tanzanian Diamond Platnumz, one of the two headliners of the Zimix Festival, which is held in Lausanne this Saturday, June 25. Fans of spectacular shows, get ready: no less than 20 musicians and dancers are expected on the Métropole stage alongside the Congolese star, for a concert that is visually inspired by the tradition of rumba-soukouss big bands. such as Papa Wemba or Koffi Olomidé popularized them – with sumptuous clothes for the star, tight jeans for the dancers whose pelvises seem to be able to undulate to infinity.
It is precisely in Kinshasa, in the Quartier Latin group of Koffi Olomidé, that Fally Ipupa studied. Protected by the maestro, he hesitates before embarking, against the advice of the latter, in the realization of his first album under his name. Right path was published 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 will follow in 2009 and a third in 2013, both of which sell like hotcakes with videos that drive YouTube counters crazy. Awards are pouring in – from MTV Africa to Trace TV – as are prestigious invitations to Africa and the United States. In March 2014, the Huffington Post the class 6th richest African artist. Rich, happy, famous: Fally Ipupa makes his fans dream with love songs and a faultless journey.
Velvet voice, character with multiple 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 don’t count more collaborations. “I listen to traditional Congolese music every day, ekonda, luba, mukaji, anamongo music: all this music that dances, that sings. But aside from that, I also listen to George Benson, B. B. King and everything that’s going on 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 is still in Kinshasa, just a few days before his Swiss concert. In some of his music videos, like 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 otherwise nothing
To refine its artistic program, the Eagle, as it is most often nicknamed, has created its own concept: Tokooos, a neologism created from the word Lingala kitoko, which means beautiful, positive. In 2017, he released an album under this name. Since have appeared control (the strange exception of the series), Tokooos II in 2020 and today its reissue Tokooos II Gold plus 15 unreleased tracks. Long-term crooner, perfectionist who refines the work of each sound, Fally Ipupa defines himself as “an entertainer who sings of love”. This does not prevent him from getting involved and sending messages when the situation requires it.
“Today, as I speak to you, the east of my country is at war: civilian populations are being massacred, women are being raped. Seven years ago I did the track stop the war to denounce this. On Tokooos II Gold, I also invited Youssou N’Dour to interpret with me the title Migrating dreams.” Fally Ipupa is also the head of a charitable foundation and was appointed UNICEF ambassador to Congo last year.
“The show to see once in a lifetime”
The first artist from French-speaking Africa to have accumulated a billion views on YouTube, he is also present across the Atlantic – a tour is also scheduled for the start of the school year before a new album, announced as a return to rumba. For the fourth time, he is one of the artists selected for the BET Music Awards, the awards given by Black Entertainment Television, an American channel primarily intended to highlight African-American pop artists and those of other minorities.
So far, the reward has always passed under his nose for the benefit of his English-speaking colleagues. “Since the BET Awards were created in 2001, no French-speaking artist has won. Yet music should not be judged on language, but on the work done, on the stage performance, on merit. We will see this year if the mentality of the jury has changed!” Answer on June 27. Meanwhile, two days earlier, the Eagle will take off in the direction of Switzerland. And when we ask him for a good reason to come 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 your life. , at least once before dying…”
Zimix, a festival to celebrate African creativity
After a first edition in 2021 at the Salle des fêtes in Renens, the Zimix Festival has decided to strike loud and clear to make the voice of urban African music heard by as many people as possible: understand the Africans of Switzerland, the Afro-descendants and the Swiss. Behind this ambitious project, Mario Momo Kenfack, a Cameroonian almost Waldensian, engineer at CFF, who sees his event as “an exhibition platform for African creativity”.
Before the headliner Fally Ipupa, the Salle Métropole will welcome Diamond Platnumz, the Tanzanian king of bongo flava, a mix of R’n’B, hip-hop and Afropop. With several albums to his credit, this 32-year-old musician is also an entrepreneur who owns a TV channel and a radio. As for the after party (from midnight to 4am), it will be held at the Salle des fêtes of the Casino de Montbenon with DJs Karter and Marcus Lyon.
ZimixFestivalSalle Métropole and Casino de Montbenon, Lausanne, Saturday 25 June from 6 p.m. to 4 a.m.