Ulopa Ngoma / Side BDir. Kevin Bosco Jnr
In the six or so years of putting her music out there, Yvonne Darcq has done an extensive amount of experimenting with all sorts of genres and collaborations. She’s been in the lab a few hundred times more than your average local singer. For an artiste with roots in France, South Sudan, Mali and Kenya, experimentation probably comes quite naturally.
Her quest to create her own unique blend of Afropop with a global appeal has seen her try out a sound leaning towards Western pop (Cheki Yule Dame, Suffocating, I Want It All) with not-so-pleasant results, a couple of interesting dancehall/reggae inspired tunes (I Know, Get It Right ft. Nazizi) as well as an ambitious attempt at grabbing Francophone and Lusophone Africa’s attention via her collaboration with Dama Do Bling.
2015 has really come through for Yvone Darcq though. Her releases this year strongly indicate that she has finally come up with her very own solid Afropop recipe. Ooh Lala Oui Oui, her delicious duet with Victoria Kimani complemented by a visually captivating music video, got everyone to sit up and acknowledge her vocal presence that could catch a first time listener by surprise on a good day. It also played a part in bagging her a nomination for Best Female Vocalist on Up Nairobi’s Best of Nairobi 2015 issue.
Yvonne maintains this year’s fine form on her latest release entitled Fire, a cautionary tale against toxic ex-lovers accompanied by an irresistibly danceable beat conjured up by Side B’s producer-in-chief Ulopa Bwanangoma. The hook and chorus are the best-crafted and most addictive bits of the song with the potential of quickly developing into an aggressive earworm that sticks in the head for days. This right here is Wahu’s Liar on mild steroids.
The music video, directed by Kevin Bosco Jnr., is both pleasing and puzzling at the same time. It’s nice to see how the video tries to utilize that beautiful environment as an actual character of the story that organically adds flavor to the plot. From unfaithful lovers dogging in the narrow streets, to others spying on rivals at the market, the environment is alive and kicking. There’s also an interesting interplay between sensuality and aggression best summarized by Yvonne dismissing the ex’s sweet nothings with a smug “Yeah, right!”
On the other hand, attempting to understand the video’s plot chronologically could get strange and confusing. Towards the end, Yvonne is still hanging around the same less-than-enough man she’s been telling her girls to avoid. So does “Don’t start a fire…” conveying a message of “avoid that man like the plague” or is it really “stay away from my man”? What was that kidnapping scene about, anyway? Perhaps a mixed and bitter-sweet message was exactly the intention here. Besides, that’s how most exes make us feel, right?
THE BOTTOM LINE
Few songs that have been released this year will be able to rival a hook and chorus as catchy as this one’s. The direction Yvonne Darcq is taking with her music of late is certainly a good one.