Interview: Ange Da Costa
Growing up in the Congo and now based in Berlin, Ange Da Costa hasn’t forgotten where he comes from. The multi-talented, multilingual musician has worked tirelessly on his craft for over a decade, and is now getting ready to unleash his debut album. FA254’s Richard Ensor asks him about his inspiration and where it comes from.
What’s your strongest memory from being a child in Africa?
I left Africa very early, but i remember walking down the streets and the women selling goods asked me to recite a poem or sing. As a reward the women would give me fruits, bread or something sweet.
What are you working on at the moment?
At the moment i am working on two albums. I’m finishing up my first, I just have to release it because it’s more or less finished. At the same time I am starting my second one, which will be a little more close to myself and more intimate. I’m also touring Europe with an Italian voodoo-jazz band called Mop Mop as guest artist. I love being on stage and this is was my opportunity discover a different me outside my comfort zone and my own music. I’m even surprised about what i come up with. It’s making me grow and inspires me in many aspects. Mop Mop even asked me to appear on their next album, I’m really looking forward to it. Apart from that, we are working on preparing a trip to Angola with the full band for a couple of gigs. I’m really excited about that since i haven’t been home for a decade. My songs are being broadcast by the national jazz radio station over there, so people will be ready for us.
What do you try to make people feel with your music?
I actually try to make people feel and see themselves in my stories. I just want them to listen and feel good.
How important is it to you to remember your African roots as you travel around the world?
If i forget those roots, I lose myself. I will be no more. The roots are my engine, my inspiration. Without my roots I wouldn’t be the artist that I am today. My melodies wouldn’t be as unique as they are.
Actually, I just a saw that masterpiece at a second hand store! Sometimes I just like to walk through little boutiques, and there it was. I fell in love, I just liked the style. I don’t think too much about fashion, but I grew up with La Sape, the “Société des Ambianceurs et des Personnes Élégantes” (Society for the Advancement of Elegant People). It emerged in Brazzaville in the Congo, it was a subculture in the 60s that turned into a political resistance movement. ‘Sapeurs’ would spend all their money on fancy, expensive clothing and wear it around town. La Sape is about individuality and breaking people’s expectations about how you are supposed to look like. To me fashion is about expressing yourself with what you are wearing, sometimes revolting against certain rules and dress codes. Especially for me as performer. It doesn’t have to be flamboyant, you don’t have to disguise yourself. It doesn’t matter, it must be you, simply you, and that blazer is just me. Fashion is a seasonal thing, I am not fashionable, I am more about style, personality, creativity, that blazer is creative. It also reflects the “consumerism” of our society, it has something to say about it. So all you young African creative, revolutionary designers out there – I won’t mind putting on your stuff with pride!
Check out Ange Da Costa’s video “Stabbin’ Deeper” below: