Ooooooo CHILE! You guys, it’s the May Bank Holiday long weekend here in London, and the sun is shining! I’m deliriously happy right now and feeling so blessed. Life is fabulous. God is so good; can I get an exuberant “Amen” in this place?
*breakdances down church aisle, holding onto ludicrously large hat*
In celebration of the long weekend AND my birthday month, I’ve decided to share one of my very favourite songs with you. I don’t even know where to start! How do we love it? Shall we go ahead and count the ways?
1. This track, by the legendary Awilo Longomba, is one of West Africa’s favourite songs: Originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Awilo rose to stardom in the late 90s and pretty much refused to quit. Congolese makossa music (or zouk-soukouss as it’s sometimes known) has ruled the charts back home for years now. Just the other day I ran into an old friend, and while reminiscing he said “Ah yes, back when makossa was still relevant.” I got all intense like:
2. The love for this track is universal: From Lagos to Accra, from Freetown to Cotonou, this is the song that’s guaranteed to tear up the dancefloor every single time. It’s deeply embedded in my childhood party memories. If you’re ever invited to any West African function, whether it be a wedding, a birthday party or a christening (true story bro), this song will feature at some point. So best get your moves ready and bring your A game.
3. The aforementioned moves: The Congolese are revered throughout the African continent for their dancing prowess. I’m talking pelvic thrusts that could take your eye out. I think the secret is in the music- I mean listen to those pounding drums, that bassline and those frantic soukouss guitars! They put this track on and things get really real, really fast.
4. Finally, I just adore this video so much: This party is wild as all hell and I LOVE IT! I mean are we not going to talk about Ms Karolina and how she gleams for the Gawds? You just KNOW she basted herself in the Good Cocoa Butter before heading out to the club. Not the Palmers stuff either, I mean the good kind that her Auntie Doris (it’s always Auntie Doris) brought back from her last trip to Ghana. The gleam/fierce bod ratio was so high that my man at the door said “Pour vous, c’est gratuit!” (For you, it’s free). You bet your ass it was free.
5. The cheeky lyrics: Let me go ahead and translate one of the more salacious lines for you:
“Elle est sucré partout… elle est sucré devant, elle est sucré derriere… je ne peut pas la laisser”
“She is sweet throughout… she is sweet in front, she is sweet behind… I can’t leave her alone”
YOWZA! Awilo didn’t come to play games… I also love how some of the lyrics don’t quite make sense. Awilo is known for shouting out random names- I don’t know if they’re shout-outs to his buddies or? In this track, you’ll hear “George Weah waka waka” George Weah is a famous Liberian ex-footballer/politician who did incredible humanitarian work in his home country. But why is he mentioned in this track? Are they pals? We’ll never know. I think it’s fab.
6. The man himself: I have always been a huge fan of Awilo’s style- or should I say STEEZ because this is a serious situation! I know you saw those gold-tipped locs, and his pristine white jeans. Listen… I love that he dresses like that over-excitable Uncle that shames everyone at the family barbecue, dressing like someone a third of his age. I love Awilo and I’m here for his fuchsia shirt (complete with medallion and complementary nip-slip).
And finally, let it be known that this track is actually my alarm clock! One of my favourite comedians/YouTubers Clifford Owusu demonstrates why here. Watch it now, thank me later.
So my loves, crank it up and Get. On. Down!