Musical genre comic books are not something you see coming up all the time. Petite Noir, a musician an artist whose music has been featured here in the past, is bring one out for Noirwave.
Though he’s only been making music professionally since 2009, artist and musician Petite Noir – real name: Yannick Illunga – has experienced the kind of career milestones in his twenties that many work for decades to reach. He’s released an EP, a full length album, featured on work by the likes of Solange and Danny Brown, and played major international festivals like SXSW. This year, the Noirwave pioneer is experimenting with an entirely new medium for his message and debuting a comic book called Nwero: The Noirwave Hero.
A collaborative project with Nigerian musician and illustrator Bobby Trauma, the story explores the life of Nwero, a being from the fictional planet of Gundalune who is blessed with the hereditary power to combat evil through the power of his music. “Basically he migrates from one planet to another to prevent forces from trying to destroy his home planet and drain it,” explains Illunga.
A universal tale of good versus evil, Nwero’s story is also a reflection of Illunga’s own unique journey. Born in Belgium to a Congolese father and an Angolan mother who eventually settled in Cape Town, his experience as an immigrant was partly what inspired the story of the comic. Like the guitar-playing hero he dreamed up, music has opened doors for him, taken him to parts of the world he may have never otherwise seen and fundamentally changed his life.
It’s all about taking the depth of the music and using in other creative outlets.
Adding a new layer to the ever-evolving musician’s body of work, Nwero: The Noirwave Hero also brings another dimension to the Noirwave style Illunga is credited with creating. “It started off as a genre of music and it’s grown to being a way of life and a mentality,” he tells us. “It’s like a new pop culture basically. It’s a new wave that takes on the African renaissance. There are no borders to Noirwave – it’s an unlimited source of creativity.”
Set to perform his first show for 2018 at Design Indaba Nightscape – a curated programme of musical acts, art exhibitions, film and food – Illunga’s comic will also be on sale at the event’s pop-up shop. It’s an appropriate space for the launch, given the musician’s vocalised alignment with the institution’s ethos; a better world through creativity.
“That’s my motive behind it, it’s always about creating a better world,” Illunga states. “It’s about shifting the mind. All it starts with is just a seed so if you can plant that seed of positivity – whether it be through music, whether it be through art, or through the comic or whatever – as long as that imprint has been made on someone and it’s a positive imprint, that’s all that matters.”
Interesting stuff. See the whole story here.