OTW #451: Petite Noir

Afrobeat meets Post-Punk
Ones To Watch - Petite Noir

Twenty-one-year-old producer Yannick Ilunga, AKA Petite Noir, has a sense of purpose: “If you don’t have a big vision, don’t have a fucking vision at all.”

Already possessing the hearty combination of youth and ambition, adding talent to the formula produces something that sounds like the ghost-funk of his break-out single ‘Till We Ghosts’. “We just smoked a lot of weed and watched Enter The Void,” Ilunga explains. “It’s about a brother and a sister whose parents die in a car crash and they end up in Japan. There’s a part where he goes, “til we ghosts”, and I was like, ‘oh, that’s pretty cool’. I almost freestyled the verses.”

Ilunga is part of South Africa’s forwardthinking youth who defy the country’s long-standing racial difficulties to create something that is culturally syncretic: African dance meets European lo-fi. Cue the latest genre neologism, ‘noir-wave’, set to be South Africa’s biggest musical export since kwaito. “It’s African influences meets new wave from back in the day. But it’s more than music, it’s just art in general.

I’m in this collective called The Capital Of Cool and we’re trying to branch out and get some sort of mass following.” In fact, The Capital Of Cool is not a vapid concept but an artistic philosophy that aims to shatter the Euro-centric psyche that synonymises ‘west’ with ‘progressivism’.

But it all really comes down to the fact that Ilunga doesn’t care much for stringent cultural divisions, though his background does colour his music; “Well, I am African,  you know, but it’s just - it’s cool being a  person and just doing things, you know?”  So, if we consider Ilunga as just a person who makes good music, how would he describe Petite Noir in five words? “The. Best. Shit. Ever…Man!” If you don’t know, now you know.  

WHERE: Cape Town, S.A.
WHAT: Afrobeat-meets-Post-Punk
GET 3 SONGS: ''Till We Ghosts', 'Disappear', ''Till We Ghosts (Mason Remix)'
UNIQUE FACT: Contrary to popular belief the grammatical error in Petite Noir is intentional: "It's Just Different."

Words: Michelle Kambasha
Photography: Cameron Alexander
Hair and Make Up: Sophie Costa using MAC

JACKET BY KR3W, SHIRT BY VINTAGE. RENEWAL FROM URBAN OUTFITTERS

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