Let me tell you a little something about the undeniable power of music, my friends. Look no further than the latest masterpiece from H Winneur, ‘Modestie,’ for a prime example. Now, mind you, the lyrics aren’t spun in the common tongue of English, the only one I happen to grasp. But here’s the kicker: the spirit and emotion woven into these tracks render verbal communication utterly superfluous. Here, it’s a classic case of the music taking centre stage and owning the narrative. It talks, it dances, it hollers, it consoles, it invigorates, it does the whole shebang and then some. When the music is this darn exceptional, pardon my French, but linguistic nuances take a backseat in my humble estimation. In moments like these, the voice metamorphoses into just another instrument, another layer of the resounding melody, reminding me just how truly magnificent H Winneur’s vocal prowess is.
‘Modestie’ stands as a testament to the seamless fusion of traditional and contemporary African sounds, a deft concoction skillfully curated by the one and only HWinner himself, who has long been a torchbearer for the rising stars of this vibrant continent. While legends like Fela Kuti and Ladysmith Black Mambazo might have paved the initial pathways for African music to traverse into Western territories, a fresh tide of Afrobeat, dance, and pop artists is now riding a new wave. And mark my words; this album is at the vanguard of this sonic revolution, heralding the winds of change.
Listen closely to ‘Zowa,’ and you’ll realize that the very grooves and moves that underpin most contemporary Western dance music owe their very existence to the pulse of Africa. While you may detect familiar echoes here, it’s imperative to bear in mind the long and oftentimes arduous journey that these rhythms undertook to reach our eager ears. These sounds may feel akin, but they don’t belong to us. ‘Zowe’ encapsulates the sound of HWinneur reclaiming control, doing so over the slickest, slinkiest, smoothest, and most soulful dance stylings you’ve had the pleasure of indulging in for quite some time.
And then we have ‘Validé,’ boasting the pace of a ballad entwined with the fervour of a dance track. The result? An anthemic slow burn that traverses the landscape of chilled dance beats. Meanwhile, ‘Le Mal En Mal’ takes the languorous R&B grooves and steers them through seductive dance realms. ‘Momie’ infects the senses with its soulful oscillations, drifting between the subdued and the electrifying, ebbing and flowing between sonic crescendos and melodic lulls. And let’s not forget ‘Lokolo,’ bursting forth with an exuberance that’s downright infectious, pulsating with life and rhythm and buoyancy.
Take it all in, folks, for ‘Modestie’ is the quintessential album for anyone yearning to unravel the musical explosion brewing in the oft-misunderstood and far-too-often neglected continent. Through albums like this and artists like HWinneur, the delectable, dance-infused beats of Africa are finally poised to receive the admiration they rightfully deserve.
After all, aren’t these beats and rhythms the ancient echoes that ultimately birthed all the music we hold dear? For too long, this music has lingered on the fringes of Western consciousness, reserved for the fancy dinner parties of the bourgeois and appreciated solely on an academic or anthropological level. But mark my words, my friends, those days are over. It’s high time this music takes its rightful place in the global mainstream, and mark my words, it will.