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Petite Noir And Unknown Union Bring New Voices To South Africa

Submitted by on August 10, 2012 – 10:28 amOne Comment

DrJays.com is thrilled to now offer shipping to South Africa. In honor of our new friends from Johannesburg to Pretoria, we’re taking a look at some of the people leading South African fashion and culture.

Yannick Iluga is a Angolan-Congolese South African born in Belgium, which may be why he doesn’t care much for easy classifications. The 21-year-old Cape Town resident has been changing the way people think about new African music. Ilunga performs under the name Petite Noir, and has made waves on the indie and international music scenes with his genre-bending tunes.

Highlighting the artist last month, the UK’s Guardian newspaper tried to trace Ilunga’s influences:

A former member of South African electro-pop band Popskarr with Spoek Mathambo, today he’s part of a crew of hipsters called Capital of Cool as well as a producer and multi-instrumentalist who describes his music as “noir wave” or “new wave with an African aesthetic”. Ah, that’s what that sound was: the sound of Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures meeting Paul Simon in Graceland.

Iluga grew up listening to “mad R&B type stuff”, then Blink 182, Sum 41, Nirvana “and a lot of electronic music“. He believes “you can appreciate a Britney song as much as you can appreciate a Radiohead one” and these days enjoys Lil B (“I’m obsessed”), A$AP Rocky, Death Grips, the Weeknd, Drake, Clams Casino, Neon Indian and Morrissey.

Indeed, Petite Noir’s “sound” can change from song to song. “Til We Ghosts” reminded me of the jangly, echo rock of Foster The People (but with a rich baritone vocalist who can really sing); while “Disappear” has a throbbing dance beat and synthesizer-heavy melody.

Iluga has found a kindred spirit in Unknown Union, a self-described “international collective specializing in architecture, design, fashion, music and cuisine with headquarters in Cape Town, South Africa.” This mainly entails converting a industrial space into a cutting-edge design venue, and operating one of the hottest retail fashion sites in town. But UU also seeks to become an active player in their community, featuring plans for an in-house brand manufactured in Africa, with sales benefiting local charities.

Petite Noir got a big boost when one of his songs was featured in a promo video for Unknown Union, as the collective itself got high level publicity for hosting trendy American retailer Topshop.

DrJays.com can’t wait to stop by when we roll into The Mother City.

What do you think of Unknown Union and Petite Noir?


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