Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1101

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Lady Vendredi: A break from the norm

Lady Vendredi
Lady Vendredi Lady Vendredi Lady Vendredi Lady Vendredi

I always think about things in a generally creative way, so when I write music I write in a narrative way. I am always thinking of stories as I write, so it is like character association and creating stories through different mediums.

Artists nowadays CAN be slightly formulaic, fitting some ideal template for a successful recording artist. Nigerian born Lady Vendredi however kicks dirt (with bits of sharp stone in it) at the face of this ‘ideal template’.

A self proclaimed ‘agent provocateur’ I compare her to a small particle of magnesium placed on water, fizzing, with creative energies that us mere mortals could only dream of. Co-signed by one Gilles Petersen (after she won the Steve Reed award for innovative new comer artist) the trained actress, pianist and violinist resides not only in a different lane but a different country when it comes to her musical output.

Her debut single “What Time Is It” is a heady alchemy of sounds that maybe should not work (the adage ‘too many cooks’ comes to mind) but it does with a triumphant blast of something that is old yet somehow new (particularly in today’s musical landscape); blaxploitation elements, jazz, afro centric beats, smatterings of hip-hop, West African sounds are readily incorporated into this most individual of debuts with its rousing chorus.

To say that musical output sums up Lady Vendredi however would be reductive. Lady Vendredi is more than artist, she is a ‘movement’ of force and in the interview it was plain to see that Lady V has more than one string to her rather large bow.

Ok so first off let’s talk about the fact that you are backed by the one and only Gilles Petersen - that’s huge?

You are right, that was / is absolutely amazing. Gilles Petersen and a few other people set up a trust called the Steve Reed Foundation - Steve Reed was this amazing jazz drummer who drummed with everyone, but he unfortunately died in poverty. I won an award set up for innovative musicians and now I have been able to develop the project. Winning the competition has meant that I have been set up with mentors, animators and other people - this year it is all falling into to place.

Lady Vendredi - why the name?

Well, Lady Vendredi is a fictional character created by myself and the director of the show and ‘Lady Vendredi’ just happens to be releasing music as well - she has this whole meta narrative of afro-future, blaxploitation. I was inspired by the Haitian culture and the whole Baron Samedi voodoo lord idea. The character is depicted in a lot of sloppy 70’s blaxploitation films. He is the voodoo lord of the dead, we took his persona and what he represents and created Lady Vendredi.
So tell me more about the project.

The project has many different parts; the music, the live band, there are some performers, actors…it’s actually so much. The EP and the album are concept projects, rather like hip-hop artists used to do. The single for example “What Time Is It” has influences based in a rhythm called the Ebo, rhythm which is a Haitian voodoo rhythm.

It sounds like you have given yourself so much to do.

It is just the way I think about things. I always think about things in a generally creative way, so when I write music I write in a narrative way. I am always thinking of stories as I write so it is like character association and creating stories through different mediums. When you come to my live show it will be this homogenous mix of; theatrical performance, music, acting, concepts, pulling from different bands, live bands, electronic sounds!

You are like this ball of energy right?

I like that! I expect so because I do have other things I am doing as well. I have this house electronic duo but we play more like classical events and we actually played at the Royal Opera House not long ago but for the next three years, Lady Vendredi is my main music project.

Anything else for the future?

I think I will become a scientist in the future.

Are you serious?

Of course!

And so forthcoming releases, plans?

Well the EP “The Passion Of Lady Vendredi” should be out in April 2016 and then later in the year hopefully the album. The next single however will be in January some time.

And what can we expect with that forthcoming single.

Ecstatic, yearning, furtive, jazzy, space horns, afro futuristic, space, rhythm that moves you and transports you and vocals that get in your brain!
Words Semper Azeez-Harris

From Jazz Funk & Fusion To Acid Jazz

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