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Elom 20ce’s Eda Kplé Fessu reminds us of our power even in powerlessness

Police brutality in france and retelling the story of black men and through art

Police brutality in Europe and America has become so pronounced in the last few years. Using the power of their art, many artists have highlighted the discrimination shown black people. Some of these pieces inspired others to share their narratives in various artforms.

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One of such situations can be seen in Francophone musician Elom 20ce’s Eda Kplé Fessu. The requiem and musical incantation is a  call to self repossession, inspired by his own contribution to Cameroonian writer, Lèonora Miano’s book “Marianne et le garcon noir” (Marianne and the black boy). The 2017 publication was written following the incident that lead to the death of Adama Traoré, Amadou Koumé and Lamine Dieng as a result of police brutality. Miano sought contributions from various artists including Akua Naru, Amzat Boukari- Yabara, D ‘de Kabal, Insa Sané, Nathalie Etoke, Wilfried N’Sondé and Yann Gael. Elom 20ce was tasked with writing on his relationship with France as an African man in one chapter which he titled “Eda Kplé Fessu”, which means “Of Hair and Nails”.

If you listen, you are conscious | If you are touched, you are engaged | If you transmit, you are reinvented.

The song Eda Kplé Fessu, inspired from the chapter of the same name, was re-released this year as a single for the vinyl version of Elom 20ce’s Indigo -The  multi-nuanced blue album that has propelled rapper Elom 20ce as one of the most engaging West African artists of recent years – with Asrafo records.

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“Eda Kplé Fessu is the sound version of my chapter. The book was written after the death of Adama Traoré Theo, as a result of police violence. Two incidents of barbarism that powerfully say how we as Black men are perceived and treated. In my chapter, I gave my view on my relationship with France. In the song, I go further. Describing how Black Man treat each other, and the brutalities we subject one another to.”

 

On a tanned and throbbing instrumentation, carried by a melancholic piano and sax of Koffi Asimadji,  Elom 20ce screams through the silence. You listen to the incantation of the Black Men; skinned, dead but immutably alive. “Hair and nails” represents  the traces of black men- the DNA that stays when blood does not flow in their veins.

 

“I kill my death” | Requiem for the banished Incantation for the collected.

Watch the short film for eda kplé Fessu below:

Benewaah is the lead curator and editor at Harmattan Rain. Her love for music is closely rivaled by her love for plantain.

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