Namibia stars in new music videos
Namibia is the star of a set of new music videos
South African musician Petite Noir, aka Yannick Ilunga, is the pioneer of a new genre called ‘noirwave’ – layers of vocals, post-punk electronica and live African drumming. When it came to his latest project, a visual album (collection of music videos) in collaboration with Red Bull, he chose to head over the border to film them.
‘Initially we were going to shoot in the Congo but chose Namibia instead for the diversity of the landscapes,’ says his wife and artistic partner, Rochelle Nembhard.
Yannick sports a tattoo on his arm which features in all four videos. It depicts a cosmogram, a core symbol of the ancient Kongo culture of Central Africa. The circle with four quadrants represents the cycle of rebirth and the elements (fire, earth, air, water), and this inspired the concept for the album.
The four songs each represent a stage in Yannick’s life – from his early years in the DRC, before his family went into exile in South Africa, to his search for identity in a new land and his burgeoning music career (playing guitar in church, joining a punk band and discovering electro via Spoek Mathambo), and what might be next.
The final song, ‘Beach’, in which a group of people wades into the sea, portrays ‘the leaps of faith we must all take every day, to trust that while our futures are all impossibly uncertain we must move forward,’ he says. This scene (left middle) was shot at Pelican Point, near Walvis Bay.
Other locations included the magnificent Spitzkoppe (above), Goanikontes Oasis (left bottom), Dune 7 – the highest in Namibia – and the desolate Moon Landscape (left top), which ‘looked as though it was man-made, like a scene out of a sci-fi movie’, says Rochelle.
‘It was amazing to experience the desert and ocean meeting in one place. And my wife and I thoroughly enjoyed 4x4ing in the Namib dunes!’ Yannick says. • The visual album, La Maison Noir/The Black House, will be released on 5 October. Watch it online at lamaisonnoir.com.