Senegalese Nuru Kane puts art break in music – RFI


Nuru Kane. © Tchekchouka

Crossed by artistic desires that shake the rules but are meaningful, Senegalese singer Nuru Kane offers a fourth album entitled Mayam, referring to the resources that make wealth on the African continent, and in the image of his approach that borrows from many music genres, from mbalax to blues with a rock sound.

In the small village of ten houses where he settled near the volcanoes of the Auvergne, Nuru Kane demonstrates an activity reminiscent of the telluric fire that comes from these giants, who now sleep if it is not extinct. The “Senegalese” singer, who arrived in France at the end of the last century, found in his adopted region a country, an environment in the service of his creativity, beyond the only channel of music. From the painting he has practiced since childhood, this “brother who created art” evoked, he switched to brutal art which he says he does not “respect the codes”: he restores, welds, mixes techniques and materials.

“I find myself today with more than three hundred paintings,” he smiles, admitting that he was originally reluctant to sell his works, to share them, so much he had with them. Personal report. “Every painting is a song, a writing, a different way of expressing myself”, considers the forty-something, while indicating that adding this string to his bow has “taught him a different way of composing music: sometimes we have beautiful songs, but we want to arrange them so that they are even more beautiful, but in the end we destroy them ”.

Mixtures and shades

The story of his new album Mayam is closely linked to this new artistic direction. When he visited his accomplice Thierry Fournel, a French musician with whom he has been working for the past fifteen years, to discuss his next recording project, he gave him indications similar to his artwork: “I told him to make compositions that mix elements that we not usually mix, gnawa music with funk for example and which we would see in six months. ”

During this time, while shaping his characters with shoes, hats, door handles and other sealing handles, he matured his lyrics, including in connection with Africa, which he reconnected to during an organized tour. At the beginning of the decade, but whose memories continue to live him.

Impregnated with the principles of the Baye Fall culture (a fraternity that is very present in Senegal) whose tolerance values ​​he emphasizes, he is always careful to qualify, avoiding slipping into caricatural systematization when addressing issues such as money laundering. as “some” women in Africa are engaged in, or in the case of politicians, “but not all”, who are “peasants” in the West. Nuru Kane walks along a ridge, guided by the desire to speak powerfully while trying not to “hurt anyone”.


On two of the eleven songs recorded between Dakar and the Paris suburbs, he invited Souleymane Faye, former singer of the group Xalam 2, which is one of the music’s references to his countrymen: “It’s my idol. Our Senegalese Georges Brassens. Since then. that I am small, I have always dreamed of singing like him. He inspired me. With my first group in my country, they said I sang like him. “For ten years he had nurtured the project with a duo with his brilliant elder, but did not dare. For fear of being denied. What was his surprise when his interlocutor told me that he was following his career!

Knowing that he is being listened to continues to arouse a sense of surprise in him every time, even though he has already noticed it on several occasions. When he learns that such a song in his repertoire illustrates a documentary (Le Peintre Paysan), like an American blockbuster (Le Flingueur), he becomes happy, without placing too much emphasis on it.

A few years ago, the American guitarist Carlos Santana decided to meet him during his concert in Bercy … to tell him that he fell in love with one of his songs, discovered during a birthday and that ‘he wanted to cover it for one of his albums! Nuru Kane, as unfaithful as he was happy, apparently agreed. Without being dragged along or trying to take advantage of the situation. “I’m not good at it. It’s the education my mother gave me. It’s both a trait and a shortcoming,” he admits. And an opportunity to stay the course without getting lost.

Nuru Kane Mayam (Tchekchouka / The Other Distribution) 2021 Facebook / Instagram / YouTube


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