Last year, Esinam was quite a revelation for us. We listened to her first single “Electric Lady” and inevitably lost our heads to her dancy and well-rounded Afro-electro sound, enhanced by the refined production of Ibaaku.
That’s why we are pretty thrilled to premiere her debut EP out today for the Belgian label Sdban Records. In her self-titled 4-track EP, Esinam goes far and beyond “Electric Lady”. She enriches her musical offering with an even wider perspective, including far-reaching influences (from her Ghanaian roots to Brazilian tradition and Belgian jazz) and exotic instruments like the kalimba, tama and pandeiro.
You can listen to her brand new EP below and to gain a better understanding of her music and debut album, check the Q&A interview we recently had with her…
The last time we had been in touch (it was little less than a year ago) you had just released your first single “Electric Lady”. What’s happened since then?
“Since then, a lot of things have happened! I finished my first EP, I’ve played live a lot, I met my great management team who found me a label, Sdban Records. I have been composing new tracks, having new ideas too… I am already preparing the next steps!”
How do you feel about having your first record finally out? How do you feel about the work itself and can you briefly introduce it?
“I am happy about it. It took me time to find out what I really wanted. But, the people I worked with for the mixing and mastering did a great job, and I love the final result. I’ve learned a lot making this EP; working on the sounds landscape, working on the artwork for the cover myself… I learned with every step of the process.”
Despite the fact that your roots are in Ghana, you were born and are based in Brussels. How and how much has Belgium influenced your music? What can you tell us about the music scene there?
“I don’t think Belgium has influenced me so far… Brussels is a nice place to live though; a small city, but diverse. And meeting interesting people in Brussels is inspiring. I like to go to live shows in the city; it’s inspiring You can meet very good musicians here, in jazz, hip-hop and more.”
What’s your relationship with Ghana and Western Africa? Have you ever brought and played your music there?
“Ghana is my second home. I have my family there. Yes, I have played there and it was great. I’d love to return again and do a West African tour. Now that I have my Ghanaian passport, this will be much easier!”
Many times I’ve read the term “Afro-Futurism” when people have been describing your music. How do you relate with that definition and how would you describe your music using your own words?
“I think it’s hard to describe music, because you can hear it in one way and somebody else will feel it in another way…
‘Afro-Futurism’ resonates and has a larger meaning for me. I think that some of my music is a mix of modern music with influences from African roots. It is interesting to create or innovate music from the roots to the future. For me, it is based on rhythm and grooves and colors of samples.
The music that I make is a blend of different styles based on flute, rhythm, melodies, vocals with improvisation and a large soundscape… Up to the listener to choose what style it is…”
You have already worked with remarkable musicians, among them Alsarah & The Nubatones, Baloji and Ibaaku. What have you learnt from them and how has your sound changed/grown playing next to them?
“Yes, I have worked with Ibaaku on ‘Electric Lady’, my first single. Very nice to collaborate with him as a producer and musician. I like the experience of sharing different shapes of sounds and creating something from both universes.
Baloji is a complete artist; he’s very inspiring. I love his work. It was great to play a bit of lute on his latest album. Check it out!
I opened for Alsarah & The Nubatones’ show in Paris and loved it! Something was magic on that night… Very nice people; you can feel a great positive energy at their live shows!”
Is there any particular musician who inspired or is inspiring your sound? Who is/are your artistic and cultural reference/s when you compose?
“So many influences! In two words, I would say ‘soulful music’. I don’t really have references for composing. I want to create something personal and original.”
With the new EP out and some gigs coming up, it looks like you’re going to have a busy autumn. What are your plans for the future?
“Yes, I hope to play a lot of live shows, an African tour, and keep creating new music too!”
If you had to describe Esinam to someone who has never listened to your music, what would you say?
“Be curious! (for my music and for other music too ;-))”
During this month of March, the fourth edition of Black History Month Belgium will be taking place through virtual performances at AB & many other venues, including Belgian-Ghanian multi-instrumentalist Esinam and the Afropean slammer Badi. Check blackhistorymonth.be for the full programme. Radio Mukambo offers you Afro-grooves all year long, but…