Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Spotlight: Fally Ipupa -- African Guitar with Hip Hop Sensibilities

Unlike some African R&B and rap that chooses to mimic its Western counterparts with slick beats and auto-tune, Congolese singer and dancer Ipupa finds a refreshing middle ground. Simple percussion, plinking guitar melodies and a soulful background chorus make for an upbeat atmosphere worlds away from the booming audacity of American R&B. His vocals in French waver and fall with an equal amount of restraint and passion, pausing at times to speak with the listener. On tracks such as "Cadenas," the stuttering beat and his mournful falsetto make an easy comparison to the ranchero ballads of Mexico. Perhaps his serious approach to this easy and uplifting music is best described by the title of his 2009 album Arsenal of Beautiful Melodies.

Fally took 'Artist of the Year' at the Afrotainment Museke Awards in New York in September and is set to release his fourth album, Power, later this year. Success is not new to Fally however; in Congo he set the record for most sales in a week with Arsenal de Belles Melodies. And at this year's Europe Music Awards, he was nominated for best artist in the Africa/Middle East category alongside Angola's Cabo Snoop and and Nigeria's Wizkid.

Keep an eye on him!

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