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Capetown's Petite Noir riding high on 'Noirwave'

By Alison Hird

Petite Noir is the project of Capetown singer and producer Yannick Ilunga. Born into a Congolese/Angolan family in Belgium, he's grown up in South Africa and is symbolic of a new generation of South African artists targetting an international audience... and succeeding. His debut album La Vie est Belle/Life is Beautiful is the first full expression of a new genre of music he calls 'Noirwave'.

Ilunga began recording and releasing his own music online while still a teenager. Spurred on by South African producer Spoek Mathambo he went on to form the electro-pop band Popskarr with Terence Pearce in 2009. By 2012, he was performing solo under the moniker, Petite Noir.

La Vie est belle/Life is Beautiful is "basically showing the diversity of Africa and how it can be brutal too" he tells RFI. "The album was sort of meant to tell people you know what 'let's keep going, we're not going down'."

He is due to release a second album early 2018.

Petite Noir performs at the Afropunk Festival in Johannesburg on 31 December.

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Petite Noir performs live for RFI at the Sakifo festival 2017, Réunion island © Laurence Aloir


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