Pierre Kwenders sings about love — in all of his languages
Who is he? Pierre Kwenders is a Congolese-Canadian singer, songwriter and DJ.
What's the big deal? Kwenders' fourth studio album has been re-released in a deluxe edition, with several new tracks.
What's he saying? Kwenders spoke with NPR's Kira Wakeam about the project, and how it encapsulates all of the unique aspects of his identity.
On his musical origins:
My uncles always played guitar around or there was always a guitar around and there were always people singing. And my mom and aunties dancing around.
Singing was always part of every gathering, and the music that we would play would be over late at night. Some [would be] old Congolese rhumba songs at parties with things, and most of the time we were also singing at funerals.
I remember when my great-grandmother died, my uncle wrote a song that all of us, the great grandkids, had to sing at the funeral. And it was one of the most beautiful memories of my younger age. And I think that's just something that was in me. And it took me a while to finally realize it. And I think it was that moment when I joined the choir that was kind of the beginning of me realizing that that was the path for me.
On his seamless switching between languages:
When I started singing, it just felt right for me to kind of move in between those languages and it's also something very common in the Congolese choir because there are over 250 tribes in Congo, so imagine how many tribes there are. So when you go to church, we could start the mass in French, with one song in French, and the second song could be in Lingala and the [next] song could be in Swahili and Kikongo and then a song that mixes all of those.
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On the re-release of the album:
Well, some of the songs I had already had. For some reason, it didn't feel right to put them out at the same time [as] when the album came out. And for some reason also, It didn't feel right to hold on to them for the next project because I feel like I'm already somewhere else.
I have another story to tell now. And it just made sense. I was like, well, let's give these songs because this is also part of the story. And I want to give it to the people, by the way, for the next project. And it's kind of a little gift. And I really, really wanted people also to listen to "Vibraçao," which is another version of "Heartbeat" that is featuring Sarah Kalume, a young artist from Congo.
So, what now?
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