CHEIKH IBRA FAM
Cheikh Ibra Fam • Yolele
Disques Nuits d'Afrique / Believe
After nearly 15 years of career under the name “Freestyle” in his native country, Senegal, and his current collaboration as singer of the famous band Orchestra Baobab, Cheikh Ibra Fam releases his very first single ‘Yolele’ in his own name. The single, accompanied by a music video shot in Senegal, on Gorée Island.
‘Yolele’, which takes its name from a traditional and popular peul (West African language) song and dance, talks about everyday life and calls for introspection. This afro-pop track is a real wave of freshness that mixes traditional Senegalese music and more modern melodies. Powerful verses sung in Wolof blend wonderfully with various rhythms of acoustic guitar, percussion and brass to make you vibrate and feel the roots of this multidimensional artist. The bouncy chorus stays in the lead and the arrangements of this piece revolutionize the genre and truly modernize afro music. The modernity in Cheikh Ibra Fam’s music is further sustained thanks to a colorful video that highlights the artist’s pronounced taste for fashion, dance and music.
Beyond its visual quality, Yolele is a clip rich in meaning. First, it was shot in the historic Gore Island of Senegal, a UNESCO World Heritage site also known as ‘memory island’, a reminder of human exploitation and a sanctuary for reconciliation. It is with this spirit, of recognizing our faults and finding ways to learn from them, that Yolele invites us to mind our own problems before talking about those of others. It’s an appeal to help build civilizations over being mere spectators, to become architects of better societies. The message resonates even more since it is delivered in a song within a joyful and festive visual universe, which creates a more benevolent environment. The daily life in Senegal is also highlighted in the video clip: an old man sitting down the road represents a familiar image of an Africa that respects its elders (its grandpas); a Senegalese wrestler teaching a boy the secrets to this national traditional sport; two women of different color together symbolizing peace and harmony in a new era without slavery; and finally a dancer full of expression and humanity that adds a new dimension to each word sang. These are some of the main images and symbols intertwined in this vibrant clip where Cheikh Ibra Fam presents himself at the heart of these moments of life.