Handling aux cord duties in a car full of girlfriends headed to a party is no small task. Expectations for playing just the right song to soundtrack the shared levels of excitement, confidence and sass are high. It only takes a few faulty shuffles or hesitant moments of silence to get your privileges revoked. It was in such a moment last summer that my friend, Keylah, triumphantly put me on to Parisian afropunk group Tshegue.
Something of a perfect storm of culture and innovation, Tshegue mix African drum patterns with pop and punk influences. Faty Sy Savanet, a braid-swinging vocal shape-shifter born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, sings over beats made by Nicolas Dacunha (a.k.a. Dakou). The band's debut EP, Survivor, released this past June, houses only four tracks, but every note is of dynamic, pulsing jubilation.
The final song, "Muanapoto," starts off with a simple, fast drumbeat but builds up over the course of four minutes into a controlled explosion of sound. Like a car chase in an action movie, "Muanapoto" is exhilarating as it is unexpected — you're not sure where the beat will take you next, but you already know you want to be along for the ride.
Get familiar with Tshegue now and expect to hear more in 2018.