Afternoon Afrobeat (#60): 'Mélancolie Joyeuse' by Alec Lomami

I think it’s no coincidence that the weather became gorgeous here in Chicago the same week – no, day – that Alec Lomami finally released his long awaited EP! Okay, perhaps it is a coincident, but I like to think not!

It was just a little over a year ago that I was first introduced to Congolese rapper/hip-hop/pop artist, Alec Lomami. He released his first song, Kinshasa, back in 2011 (yes, this EP has been a long time in the making). I immediately loved the song Kinshasa (and no, it’s not just because I believe deep down to have Congolese roots). While Kinshasa is sung in French, it tells the tale of Alec Lomami’s life, his transition to America, and his home – DRC. I speak French, but apparently not well enough to translate every word of Alec’s song Kinshasa. But no worries, I kind of like it because each time I listen to the song I understand a new phrase, word, or meaning. It’s brilliant, really.

A year ago when I first found out about Alec Lomami, I wrote about what was then his new release titled Pop Revolution. I love(d) it…for so many reasons. His transnational life experiences comes out in his Francophone music – it’s pop, but not the heartless crap produced in the U.S., it’s hip-hop, but to a whole new level, and at its core, it is Congolese. 

Then, while I was in Sierra Leone last summer he released a music video for a remix to his song Kinshasa, which is in fact quite different from the original. It was is an awesome video, which I believe conveys Alec’s personal journey as a person and as an artist.

Now, one year after I found out about Alec Lomami and over a year and a half after his original release of the song Kinshasa, his EP Mélancolie Joyeuse is finally out and available for a free download!

Mélancolie Joyeuse obviously features Kinshasa and Pop Revolution but it includes two new songs: CLV(C’est la Vie) and Pardon My French, which uses Miriam Makeba’s song Pata Pata throughout. Honestly, Pardon My French is my favorite of his new releases. It’s currently blasting on my speakers as I write this. Each of the four songs featured on this EP are each drastically different from each other, which further proves Alec Lomami’s talent and versatility as both an artist and producer. I look forward to listening to his two new songs over and over and discovering their meaning throughout the coming days. What I’m even more excited about is introducing my Cameroonian community to Alec’s music in September! Just spreadin’ the love.

I leave you with an excerpt from a fantastic Afripop Magazine article released yesterday on Alec’s EP:

“For the most part francophone music doesn’t fare well in an anglophone market and it’s just me saying “pardon my French,” he said. “ A vast majority of people who listen to me are from Anglophone Africa. I’m doing it in French. It’s an anomaly.”
The song is an almost four-minute “complaint”, to use his words, of his own personal struggles to his experience of his first trip to Congo in 14 years. He puts it all on the table.
His solution to these complaints is in the Lingala rift heard throughout the song “Oleli oleli oko lela yo na nani” which loosely translates to “ you can cry all you want, but no one really cares  so you’d might as well just stop.”
“It is me being cynical. I tell myself ‘no one really cares, bruh, you’re just wasting my time,’” he said. “That’s why it’s called Pardon My French, because sometimes you say things you shouldn’t say.”

Listen below to Mélancolie Joyeuse and grab a free download of it over at Alec’s Bandcamp

Connect with Alec LomamiTwitter || Facebook || Bandcamp


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