AudioInferno had a one-on-one chat with Angolan Nu/Rap-Metal Band M’Vula who won the award for the Best African Rock Artist of the year at the All African Music Awards (AFRIMA). The band name “M’Vula” is of African origin and means ‘rain’ or ‘storm’. So after the awards, we just had to ask a few questions about the band and how winning the award makes them feel.
Seyi of AudioInferno: Is this your first time in Nigeria?
Paulo Albuquerque (The Teacher) Of M’vula:
Yes, this is our first time in Lagos, Nigeria. We are very happy to be here.Unfortunately, we’ve not had a lot of time to see the city of Lagos. But from what we’ve seen, I think you have an exciting city and we would love to come back and maybe take part in the Rock Festival next year.
AI: Have you enjoyed your stay so far?
Yes, we’ve been treated very well. The AFRIMA organization has done a good job, it’s not easy to manage so many people from all these countries with different cultures, backgrounds and taste. The AFRIMA platform is providing bands and artists from different countries to come together to talk and exchange ideas and to maybe fuse projects. We are working on a top-secret project that I cannot give you the details of it now, but I can tell you that it’s going to involve collaborations with several artists, some of them are here at the moment and I think it’s going to be a nice fusion, a nice rock/metal fusion.
AI: So how did you feel about winning the award for Best Artist for African Rock?
Well, in the first few seconds, I didn’t realize we had won. It was Jorge that reacted first, and he gave me a nudge on my side saying “we won.” We were still a bit stunned when we were called up to present the award for some other category, we weren’t expecting that. So, when we found out that we won, because we were up against some big bands, we were up against Prime Circle, those guys are pretty good and it’s not easy to be up against Prime Circle, Dark Suburb who had a fantastic performance, and we also saw Wiyaala, who is a fantastic singer, so it was an honour, we were surprised and we were not expecting it. We are excited to be here with all the musicians, to meet you guys, but we were not expecting to win.
AI: So prior to announcing the winner, was there suspense?
There was. When they started announcing the different bands, I know some people were praying, if they didn’t believe in God, in that moment, they would believe in Him. So, there was a lot of suspense and when we it actually happened, we didn’t believe it. We were in a tough group and within ourselves, we said it would be between Prime Circle and Dark Suburb. But I think what hit people is the fusion, I think that the style, the fusion, this is fresh, this is new, this is strong you know. We also found out that 50% is on votes and 50% is on the jury. So that also made us feel a bit more comfortable on receiving the award. It means that in the Jury, there was a consensus that our sound was the best for this year and we were very happy with that.
AI: How is this award going to affect your music?
This is going to change everything in terms of promotion. When you’re considered the band that is top in the continent, it changes the way people look at us now. I think it’s going to open a lot of doors and offer a lot of opportunities. But the most important thing we mustn’t forget is we must stay true to ourselves, we mustn’t get lost, we must know who we are and our identity must not be lost. I think that’s the most important thing. We were working on projects before this award and we are going to continue working on them. We have an idea to do this secret project, which very soon, you’ll be the first to know, and we’re slowly gathering all the pieces together to make this project work and I think it’s something that is going to promote African Rock Music in a very big way, on the continent and outside the continent.
AI: Have you won any awards prior to this award?
We have! We won the Angolan Music Award this year in Angola, which was a historic thing because it’s very difficult for a rock band to be recognised within Africa and you know how difficult this type of music is in terms of recognition. People tend to stereotype our type of music, they seem to think we’re all crazy drug-heads that worship Satan and that’s not really true. M’Vula is a band that’s completely the opposite, each member of the band comes from a different style of music and we fuse it all within the rock context. The fact that we won this award in Angola opened up a lot of doors, one of them is the AFRIMA awards. So I think I can speak for Angola and from what I’ve heard, the same is happening here in Nigeria, I’ve also heard the same is happening in other countries in South Africa and Zimbabwe. We’ve spoken with people, the rock scene is slowly, slowly gaining momentum and people are leaving behind this stereotype they have of rock music and they are giving rock music an opportunity and they are liking it.
So I do think there is a healthy future for the rock scene in Africa. If you look at an international artist, if you take for example, Seal, or Beyoncé. When she has an album, it’s a pop album, but if you go watch her perform live, it’s a rock show, they have the best drummers you can imagine, the best guitarist, and its a pure rock show. So it’s the stereotype that’s keeping people away, but they are going to watch Beyoncé, they are going to watch Seal, and that’s a purely rock show, they are like blown away, they are all happy. So they just have to give us a chance, and I think that’s happening now in Africa, they are giving us a chance.
AI: Anything you’ll like to share with your fans and our readers.
Well, this award is not only our award, it’s an award for all the African Rock Scene, it’s not ours, it doesn’t belong to us, it’s everybody that believes in rock, everybody that has supported the rock scene, everyone, every promoter, every person that listens to rock, every person that went online and voted for either one of those bands that were nominated. This is all of us, we all won tonight, we all won, and also our country Angola, it’s the year we celebrate our 40th Independence Anniversary. It was a struggle for the country to become independent and I think that this award has a special significance for the country. It’s something good the country gets for celebrating 40 years of independence, it’s our present to the country and it’s a rock present.
AI: Are you looking forward to coming back to Nigeria?
Yes we do. We want to come and play in Nigeria. We really want to come here and have a hell of a concert. If we have the opportunity, we would come here and we would come and rock the scene. We would also like to thank AudioInferno. The job you guys have been doing, I wish we had a team of your type in Angola to do what you guys are doing for the rock scene in Angola. What you guys have done in the short amount of time that we have gotten to know each other, has been more than any team has done for us in Angola, for example. The job you guys are doing is so professional, the way you guys present your work, the interviews, honestly speaking, there is no word to describe how professional they are executed. This is coming from the heart. Wherever we are, you guys can always count on us for whatever information you need about the rock scene in Angola. We are with you in the same boat. Before meeting you one on one, we thought we were going to meet some older guys in suits and ties and when we saw you guys, we were like WOW!!! These guys are doing this job, we were wowed, we take our hats off for you guys. Its unbelievable the work you guys are doing and I’m not bullshitting you, I’m telling you the truth. Its unbelievable the job you guys are doing.
AI: Thanks so much for the kind words! We really appreciate.
Wow. That last bit sure made us feel all fuzzy inside. We are glad to do our best to promote African Rock Music and we will continue to cover as much as we can. We are a fairly small team with zero funding and this is all a work of passion!
Respect to M’vula for being dedicated and following their dream to do not just rock music but Nu/Rap-Metal. Be sure to check out our pretty detailed Band Of The Week posts for M’vula: Here, here and here. Happy reading!
Remember to support your local rock bands and rock on \m/