WITH summer on our doorstep, you can’t beat a good Afro-House banger.
For the over 50s, that’s a “banging” dance tune that combines the exotic sounds of Afro-Beat with the cool synths and drum machines of European house music.
Stay with me, it’s worth it.
The team behind this banger is award-winning WA singer-songwriter Grace Barbé, whose song Fatige has been remixed by Gum & Ginoli, aka Pond bandmates Jay Watson and James Ireland.
Barbé originally hails from the Seychelles and her music is a unique and intoxicating mix of Afro-Beat, psychedelia and pop. She sings in Creole, English, French and Malagasy (national language of Madagascar).
You can almost feel the passion and heritage oozing out her pores, and she has released three studio albums and won 13 WA Music Industry Awards, including 10 Best World Act Awards and three WAM Song of the Year’s.
“I came to Australia for the first time when I was six,” Barbé says.
“My mother received a scholarship to study in Perth. After her studies we went back to Seychelles and then the family settled in Australia when I was 16. I’ve been here since.
“I’ve always been pretty active in the Seychelles community here in Perth and I used to play in the community band. I suppose those years shaped a lot of what I’m doing now. Staying true to my roots and celebrating my heritage through my music.”
When Barbé’s not on the road performing or in the studio recording, she’s running her Fremantle boutique independent label Afrotropik Records, which specialises in contemporary Afro, tropical and island sounds, and has released albums by local artists like Soukouss Internationale and Crucial Rockers.
“I’ve always been a fan of afrobeat, afrorock, reggae, pop, and of course music coming out of the Indian Ocean islands,” Barbé says. “I love Ethiopian music, saleg from Madagascar, desert blues, music from Mali and Sahara, Creole music from the diaspora. I’m also a fan of cross genres.
“…Over the years I’ve really expanded on the different types of music I listen to.”
As well as being a killer singer, Barbé is also a talented guitarist and has just joined The Cat Empire as their bassist/vocalist and will be touring with them soon.
“We supported The Cat Empire on their last Australian national tour and we have opened for them several times in the past,” she says.
“On this particular tour, we made a really nice connection with the band. It’s a wonderful opportunity for me and I am indeed a fan of theirs.”
But right now, Barbé is preparing for the launch of the banging remix of Fatige at Mojo’s Bar on Saturday October 29.
She says it’s the first of a number of remixes of tracks from her 2013 album Welele! which will be on an EP and accompany the vinyl release of the album in 2023.
The track launch at Mojo’s will include support from Boox Kid, a First Nations (Noongar) beat creator, delivering dreamy electropop, and DJ Charlie Bucket.
Barbé says the launch party will be lots of fun and a bit “rock n roll”.
“A lot of my early gigging years have shaped me to be the live rock n roll artist that I am,” she says.
“I am so glad to have experienced the live pub scenes from 15 years ago, as times have changed and the pub culture is a bit different now.
“I find it very interesting to be someone who is very passionate about my heritage and culture, yet I’m quite rock n roll!”
Event launch tix at tickets.oztix.com.au
by STEPHEN POLLOCK