Carla Fonseca Brings The Noise

13.10.2016 | Music | BY:

South African Carla Fonseca is a woman with many strings to her bow. She is an actor, director and artist, but it is her role as lead vocalist for the group Batuk that sees her performing in the UK this weekend. With influences spanning afrohouse, soul, zouk, kuduro, deep house, techno and traditional African music, Fonseca is joined in Batuk by South African producers, beat makers, directors and visionaries Spoek Mathambo and Aero Manyelo.

Given her creative background, Fonesca was responsible for art directing Batuk’s musiv videos for ‘Daniel’, ‘Forca Forca’, ‘Puta’ and ‘Call Me Naughty’. In addition to this, she has also displayed her work at the likes of FNB ART Fair, Turbine Art Fair, Cape Town Art Fair, Basha Uhuru Festival, GIPCA’s Biannual Live Art Festival, and Johannesburg Art Week over the years. Here, Twin discovers more…

Welcome to the UK, you’re doing a few shows here right now…is this your first time performing here?
It is my first time in the UK, and our first time performing here as a group. Spoek and Aero have both played here many times before.

How would you describe what you do to a complete stranger? 
I am a performance artist. A lover of all raw and honest performance work.

Is your music political? Does it have a particular message you’d like to convey?
Isn’t everything political? Even a party song can be political. We have many messages in our music. It is important for an artist to have messages serve as through-lines in their work….or else it becomes weightless. It is our duty. In Batuk’s music we speak about love, war, sexuality, drug abuse, dreams, family, culture. Everything that is important to us, everything that we want to address and interrogate and express.

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How does the music scene differ here in comparison with South Africa?
The Internet is alive, which allows people from all over the world to share and be influenced at the click of a button. We are all connecting news, pictures, videos, rhythms and sounds so quickly…there are many things artists share purely based on rapid and wide information exposure. There’s an insanely dynamic buzz in South Africa that cannot be compared. A buzz brewed by 12-year-olds on laptops producing out-of-this-world music that receives 100,000 hits after only a week of uploading. Our many rich languages and cultures and links to neighbouring countries give us a really broad and direct access to diversification and constantly new, fresh material.

Would you call yourself a feminist? And what is feminist scene like in SA?
Being a feminist has so many definitions these days, sometimes it confuses me. So I will answer by saying that I am a person who supports the rights of women and girls and their incredible power. It is a wonderful and revolutionary time to be female in South Africa….a time where young women are standing up and taking their positions as leaders and as power sources. A time where patriarchal structures are really struggling to stay standing. In my work I am constantly creating protest pieces in honor of women and their struggles and their victories.

There is an essence of strong, very visual artists such as MIA and Solange in a few of your videos – the sense of identity and power are palpable. How do you come up with the concepts? And do they ever differ in reality?
Hahahaha…I think women with bold ideas and good execution will most likely be compared to one another. They are both two incredibly phenomenal women, I’m flattered. Batuk’s concepts are all honest expressions…if we have an idea, we work together to make it as strong as possible…visceral and beautiful. My art imitates life, and life reciprocates the gesture.

How have you found the industry to be so far? Have you encountered much bullshit?
I’m not into bullshit, I don’t accept it. If you bring bullshit anywhere near me, I move. Like any industry there is a lot of shit, but the objective should always be to stay focussed by not entertaining anything negative or anything that tries to come against you and your passion.

Who else, musically or creatively, is exciting you right now?
There’s an artist/painter by the name Alexa Meade, she has recently just created work titled Color of Reality. It’s so incredible how her work absorbs me into a dream world. She is famous for inventing a technique that optically transforms the 3-dimensional world into a 2-dimensional painting. Absolutely insane and captivating work.

What should fans expect from your live shows?
Expect a lot of energy…a lot of good, powerful, uplifting energy. An energetic exchange that’ll have them busting dance moves that they never thought they had!

Batuk will tour Europe this September and October,  with a headline show at London’s Jazz Café on October 15th.

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