Paris this summer was so full of life and magic. A highlight of each year is the Fête de la Musique festival. This eclectic blend of music lovers and musical trendsetters has prompted me to check in with my truest friend, the engaging and beautifully talented singer/song writer, Pilani BUBU.
The self described ‘ jazzy folk soul’ artist best exemplifies the complementing of organic music and authentic style.
Ms. BUBU has recently return to South Africa (her native Country) after spending time traveling and recording in both Europe and the States. Her first stop, Stateside was New Orleans! A town that she loves and has inspired her in the greatest of ways. Here is what she had to share with GA.
What prompt your recent ‘lifestyle’ tour?
One very restful day I woke up to an email from a small record label in the southern France inviting me to join a group of 7 other musicians to record a collaborative album. I had always wanted to have a musical experience in France because of the amount of festivals in the country. This offer was quite attractive and worth building the relationships. I then got funding from the French Institute and the South African National Arts Council in a collaborative grant they called SA – France Seasons. We camped out in the Pyrenees in converted alternative accommodation like horse wagons, theatre buses and caravans. With musicians from all over the world (French, South African, Bulgarian, Norwegian, Slovenian, British, Italian and Australian musicians) the tour was one of the most unique experiences of my life! And two very sentimental songs came out of the trip.
On a sunny day looking over the mountains, I wrote the song Sweet Love: a yearning for new love, an expression of the novelty of a first encounter. On one of the rainy days in the villages of Lahitere I wrote Promise Land. The music stirred in my heart, a longing for places and spaces of like minded individuals was expressed in this song. I travel for music. And in all my travels I feel the world holds pieces of me and I carry pieces of Africa to the world. Serendipitous encounters have happened throughout my travels that are testament to this. I met the American African, loving model and ambassador of Cote D’ Ivoire; Shaun Ollison. This was not by mistake. Her passion for Africa and my will to content the world with Africa brought two like minded souls together. And of course here we are doing exactly this for Glam Africa.
Will you be taking part any in of the summer musical festivals?
We were booked to do a few radio interviews and performances in Toulouse and one album release performance in Montbrun. My plan is to make connections with booking agents and promoters to assist in working the French Festival circuit. I have connected with at least 40 of these. I have planted my seed and I can only but wait for that perfect harvest of when this land beckons for Africa again.
Out of my travels it is quite interesting how my music has evolved towards this African expression. I started my journey with music with contemporary folk music connected mostly with Britain and America. Having met the world and felt the call for Africa, my next project is filled with the Africa I want the world to experience. The wanderer is never lost because they are always strongly & spiritually anchored at home; for me, home is Africa.
I have also gone as far as celebrating this earthing flow with my fans with an Afro Folk Acapella demo experience. You can find it on Soundcloud and Reverbnation particular the song ‘Mama Ka Sibongile’. Sung in two native languages from South Africa: Xhosa and Tswana, this is folk music interpreted into contemporary and jazzy delivery.
I was just having fun sharing.
Your rapidly becoming a fashion trendsetter on social media. Give us a bit of detail regarding your design and fashion background.
Well I call myself a creative lifestyle activist and outside of being a musician, I have other creative talents that I express and pursue. I believe in the power of passion and that if we all got up and did what we are called to do or are passionate about the world would be a better place. I often say to people, be observant about the things people call you for, look to you for or complement you for. There in lies your contribution to the world.
My design work started when I realised how much people called me for my eye for interior design and decor. And so I decided to start my first creative project under my company Bupila Lifestyle Co. I studied Interior Decorating and AutoCad at Inscape Design College in order to feel qualified to do so. I named my action for passion Bupila which is a verb description of my name Pilani which means living well /or live. I have found great purpose in my name and I want to live by it.
I have also recently headed to the call of fashion. My friends and family always compliment my fashion sense and seek fashion advise from me. After hearing people tell me they stalk me on Instagram to see what I’m wearing outside of my travels and music, I decided to fuel the fire and start my own #fashionmomentsbypilanibubu
Although I am not a fashion blogger, I am generally a good curator of things lifestyle. So here and there, on my Instagram account I drop in some fashion moments which is usually whatever I am wearing on that day.
I believe in dynamism. Our time on earth maybe a linear concept but human beings definitely are not. We are complex and versatile and there is so much that we can do. As a musician, interior stylist, brand strategist, executive producer and TV presenter, I am an absolute believer in creative expression. I am an activist for creative lifestyle and creative living!
Who are some of your musical influences and fashion icons?
My music influences include Nina Simone, Tracey Chapman, Bob Marley; they were all quite purposeful and intentional about their craft. I do the same with my music. I don’t sing for musics sake but for the message it carries.
As for fashion, I am obsessed with more classical styles. I like clean black, well tailored items adding classy with a bit of edge. I tend to style myself from a more original eye. I just have a good eye for what looks good on my figure, and clean simple detail that works. Ones such as Audrey Hepburn and Coco Chanel inspire my more Eurocentric moods. And when I feel to change things up I find myself googling Solange Knowles, I love her patterned prints and the way she has those classically cut and flattering.
How would you describe your sound/ artistry?
My sound is a unique fusion of genres, it’s been very hard for people to pin down. But for me it all starts with very heavy influences of folk music and blues. Give me an acoustic guitar and then build it up towards either folk jazz, folk funk, folk soul. So I decided to call it jazzy folk soul.
I would describe my artistry as intentional and driven by significance. I do it to make an impact in people’s lives. I can talk as much as I sing. It doesn’t have to live in song. I could very well preach. But I choose to preach through music and comfort through music. I want to be a sauce of light and enlightenment.
You will realise the progression of my journey. My first EP was titled ‘Journey of A heart’ which talks through that journey between heartache or disappointment that leads to breakthroughs. It talks to the antitheses that cannot live alone; no joy without sadness, no light without darkness. We cannot appreciate the other with out the experience of the opposite. Building from there, part two of this journey is my second forthcoming album titles: ‘Warrior Of Light’ which tells how far I have come since that more darker experience. There in lies the essence of everything I do! I try at a times to live from my heart.
What I love about this time of year is that I can take a little while to catch up with friends like Ms Bubu and still remain inspired and creative. My job doesn’t feel like work at all!
AUTHOR: Shaun Ollison
I am your American sister, living in Paris and working throughout Europe, Africa, and the US. My job is to report fashion, culture, and lifestyle abroad. And I am MOST excited to do so! But before we start, allow me to introduce myself and share a bit of my story with you.
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EDITOR: Ama Badu (Senior Online Editor)
For reviews, premiers and red carpet events on the Afro-British scene, Ama is your go-to blogger. With an analytical mind and articulate tongue, she hopes to write articles that will get Africa (and indeed the world) discussing “real” issues and tangible solutions.
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