i dowloaded the entire album from itunes yesterday. absolute brilliance. le mal du pay by manno charlemagne took my breath away. thank u Léopold Lambert.
Adam Shatz: Par les damné.e.s de la terre, which doubles as a history of French rap’s hidden ancestry, is an album teeming with words. Reciting his poem “Il est des nuits” (“There are nights”), Léon-Gontran Damas, one of the founders of the Négritude movement, evokes with grave, sonorous beauty, “the nameless nights, the moonless nights” of his days in Paris as a poor student from French Guiana. (As Amiri Baraka remarked, Damas wrote “literally poems to be sung.”) We also hear directly from Ho Chi Minh and from General Vo Nguyen Giap, who, in a 1976 interview in Algiers, declared that “nothing is more precious than independence.” But even as Rocé pays his respects to such legendary Third World revolutionaries and writers, his project focuses on music by artists who have either slipped into obscurity or who were hardly known in the first place: the B-sides of the revolution. For all its insurrectionary fervor, most of the music he selected is more lyrical than didactic. Rocé’s understanding of “independence” has less to do with the liberation of territory than the liberation of the imagination.