Ugandan singer Awori landed in Chandigarh for her first-ever India tour in collaboration with Alliance Française India. She performed at The Backroom, Sector 34 on Saturday in association with Alliance Française de Chandigarh, which was jam-packed with electronic and hip hop music lovers.
I can be anywhere in the world but I do not forget where I come from. I carry my identity not as a burden but pride on my shoulders. At the same time I learn from my experiences while staying in different countries. It adds to my identity.
On her early influences in music, Awori recollects, “I started writing songs when I was about nine years old. And then performing at school functions made me realise that I wanted to pursue it for life.” Awori, who has a decade long career in music, says, “While earlier I wanted to win a Grammy and make my mark in the mainstream music world but now I find solace in independent music as it gives me the freedom to experiment. I feel today music is not just about having talent but more about becoming an overall performer with an attitude to reinvent yourself.”
Awori, who is currently studying Jazz at the Paris College of Music, tries to incorporate her culture, politics and everything under the sun into her music. She says, “My motive is to adapt to the ever-changing environments with subjects ranging from vulnerability, self-image, heart-break, love to migration and protest. As I do this, I also try to blur the dividing lines like language, race and cultures.”
Awori is fluent in English and explains, “Speaking my mother-tongue in public was prohibited in my native country when I was growing up.”
Awori, who started her India tour with Chandigarh, is in awe of the city’s architectural brilliance. She will be performing in Mumbai, Pune and Delhi. She says, “While growing up, I was into traditional Percussion instruments and the tabla fascinated me. I also love this Indian clothing brand called NorBlack NorWhite, which has stores in Mumbai and Delhi. I am looking forward to visit as it celebrates the old ways of craftsmanship.”
All for sustainable fashion, Awori shares her grievances as Africa has become the dumping ground of fast fashion of global brands.
On hip hop completing 50 years, she says it has been a great journey for the genre but feels the real voices of protest that hip hop is known for is getting lost. “While there are artistes who are carrying forward the true legacy of hip hop, but they aren’t among the ones that are globally
popular and most heard singers. But thanks to streaming platforms, independent artistes have found the much-needed exposure.”
One of Awori’s latest projects, Ranavalona, is about the last Queen of Madagascar. Queen Ranavalona resisted the colonial forces. “I can be anywhere in the world but I do not forget where I come from and carry my identity not as burden but pride on my shoulders. At the same time I learn from my experiences while staying in different countries. It adds to my identity which helps in keeping my individuality in my music alive.”
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