Sandra Nkaké, a multidimensional artist
Flashmag this month travels, from Miami to Paris on a jazz and blues vibes, to meet, with a multifaceted artist, Sandra Nkaké, musician, lyricist, and actress, is our guest. In the following lines she gives us a better idea of her person and art.
Flashmag: Hi Sandra, it is a real pleasure for Flashmag, to have you as a guest. The time of this interview our gallery is yours. At first we would like to make a pithy introduction to the artist you are ... you are of African origin, born in the mid-70s in Cameroon's, city capital Yaoundé. Very early you’ll migrate to Europe. At the age of 20, you will be discovered by the public when you’ll take on the stage in 1994, in the play “Les Sorcières de Salem’’ (The witches of Salem)by Arthur Miller, in a staging by Thomas Ledouarec, how did you get there? What is the catalyst for your entrance in the art world?
Sandra Nkaké: First of all, I'm glad in my turn for this meeting. Concise I'll try to be (laughs). The catalyst ... Is there one or more elements! Moments, meetings… I think it is a little bit of all that. A desire since childhood to do a job, to do something that would put me in contact with others, which would allow me to connect with other souls! I love listening to stories and the life course. I like literature, painting, music, dance ... All forms of expression that provide gateways to the individual. Physician, Journalist, English teacher...? I wasn’t decided, so I enrolled at the university of La Sorbonne in Paris. The second year of my DEUG (University degree in general study) singing every day or so, loudly in the corridors, a friend gave me a challenge: she knew a group that was looking for a singer, male or female! I went to audition and this is the beginning ... So yes there is a moment when someone believes in other options for you, and when you are confident!
Meeting with lots of musicians of different styles, meeting with comedians, directors, screenwriters, acrobats ... I actually had the chance to cross paths with different trades and different peoples who shared this taste of work ‘gregarious’! Flashmag: Between the boards of the theater and the music scene there is one step that you walk briskly, you will sharpen your weapons in music by working with a lot of musicians from the Parisian underground like: Gérald Toto, China Moses Juan Rozoff, Tony Allen, Julien Lourau, Troublemakers, Nouvelle Vague, Booster, and Ji Mob PUSH UP! And many others… The first peak of your musical career happens in 2008 when you get your first opus released under the title “Mansaadi”; this album will take you on a huge tour, you will perform more than 200 concerts around the world with memorable stops, in Africa and Brazil, as of today what means for you this time in your career? What memories do you keep? Sandra Nkaké: to start writing your own songs; try them in a club in front of 5 persons, then 100, then 200! And much more. The recording of the first album was done in a certain energy where, studio and concerts crossed constantly. An album is like a Polaroid of yourtself when it is done. I love "Mansaadi" it sounds like me in 2008… (Laughs again!). It was the first time I could make decisions to create the foundation of my home art. I like the collective work, because it allows everyone a glimpse of personal tracks. I keep amazed memories of the reception we had in Brazil, Burundi, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Douala (Cameroon). The public receives what is given to him, regardless of a label, and this gives you wings. Flashmag: in your opinion in the genesis of your music career and your style, what are the artists who influenced you the most? If you had to define your musical style what would you say? In addition what inspire you more in the making of your work?
Sandra Nkaké: Music is my expression; my songs are tools to talk about what I see around me. They can express feelings about those moments in life when we must make choices. When I write a song I first see a situation, one or more persons then come the words. The music is the expression of what these characters go through. "Nothing For Granted" my second album I co-wrote / composed/performed withJi Drû,is routed in this sense. What I like in an artist is to have the impression that he offers me a ride in his (her) universe. So I do not care about style, but contrary what he says is important. As for my style, I do not know… I'm doing what goes through my ears and heart. I try to be closer to what I feel. Flashmag: the artist is a true witness of the society we have seen you take up the cause of undocumented migrants when you were associated in April 2009, along with other artists including Rodolphe Burger, D’de Kabal, Jacques Higelin and Spleen ... to produce a disk group with the name« les Amoureux au ban public »(Lovers in public assize), referring to an association that fights deportation of bi-national couples where one of the spouses is an illegal alien. Is Sandra a committed artist? Moreover as a true globetrotter what do you think of the situation of migrants in the world especially with the global crisis which causes the revival of national selfishness, especially towards Africans in countries like, France, Italy, Greece or more recently Israel where some refugees were expelled a few months ago? Sandra Nkaké: Yes. It is not always good to be "somebody else" somewhere else, on this earth. It is the same on all continents and at all times, and unfortunately its part of human nature. But do not forget the many individuals, associations and other NGOs, who have vocations to help others and on several grounds like: UNAIDS, AMREF, Ecole Instrument de Paix ... in part, it is for this reason I am very happy and proud to be involved in "Plus D’Afrique " a TV program of Canal + Afrique, presented by Robert Brazza and hosted by Maryse Ewanje Epee, Mamane, Prisca Ogouma and Bibi Tanga! We try modestly to showcase talent, creators, and entrepreneurs from AFRICA!
Flashmag: Throughout your career as an artist if we can consider that the music has become your main art, you do not nevertheless continue to make inroads in the 7th art and drama. You have played most recently in movies like: King William of Pierre-François Martin Laval in 2009 and in 2011 Toi, moi, et les autres (You, Me and the others) of Audrey Estrougo; while the last time we saw you on the boards of theater was in 2005 with Fantômas returns by Gabor Rassov in a staging of Pierre Pradinas, a piece performed at the Theatre de l’Union, and the Theatre de l’Est Parisien ... how comedy has helped define the artist you are today? Sandra Nkaké: Ah, I love humanity, I love stories ... and we are fortunate to have several disciplines to convey the complexity and richness of human feelings. I hope to find time for others theatrical or films projects. Flashmag: 2012 is another year that matters to you because on March 20th you released your second album "Nothing For Granted" under the label Jazz Village / Harmonia Mundi. An album which you wrote the lyrics, and composed the music with your sidekick of all time the flutist Ji Dru. What inspired you in the making of this album what is your targeted audience; and what message would you like to share through this work? Sandra Nkaké: The corner stone of these songs, this second album is that it is a struggle to assert one’s personality and choices. That it is not always easy, and if you do not take care of, you can quickly miss your life. We talk about individual fates, but also collective choices; because we do not forget that we are all connected to each other. Nothing is given for free! So you have to hurry to eat life and not forget the simple pleasure of a walk in the forest, of reading a thriller, taking a nap, a meal with friends, or watching a good movie! Flashmag: Speaking of majors production companies and music genre some feel they are a threat to the survival of certain genres, like yours what can you say about? What do you think of the announced merger of EMI Music, with Universal Music, will it be, still room for independent producers? Sandra Nkaké: There will always be a public for independent music; this can be seen at every concert! The question is in what form the exchange of this music "independent" will be done in 10 years? In addition, more and more artists produce their music themselves, sell it themselves, and are doing very well!
Flashmag: you have just been voted best "révélation de l'année"(Newcomer of the Year) at the Victoires du Jazz 2012, the ceremony was held on July 26 in Marciac, what represents this price for you? What can you respond to those who believe that revelation seems a bit late because you've already come a long way anyway? Sandra Nkaké: This award I take it, as a sign of support for an artistic approach. I work with a small team and we try at all strata (production, direction, artistic direction, booking and management) to be a small company where everyone has a place and is treated as an equal. We share altogether the least and the most! Flashmag: by the time we are closing this interview do you have a special mention towards the public? What is your agenda for the coming days? A series of concerts? some Collaborative projects? Nkaké Sandra: I would say I feel lucky that other people are interested in what I have to say and spread the word... I’m fortunate to have a great team with whom I have fun on stage. So if you're around when we play, "be our guests!" We will be in concert on Reunion Island 29 September for the festival KalooBang, then at La Cigale October 13th for the Festival Ile de France Factory. And on tour throughout the fall, and throughout the winter until mid-2013 at least. All dates are on my website: www.sandrankake.com Flashmag: Sandra Nkaké Flashmag and its readership thank you for this open and cordial meeting.
video excerpts_ Sandra Nkaké - Nothing for Granted : Like a buffalo
Interview realized by Hubert Marlin Jr.