The music of Coco Sukali is that of Soukous and Rumba (for the slower songs). The former is a fusion of maringa, rumba, and Afrocentric musics.
The most essential form of unity (or integration) of Coco Sukali is that which occurs during their perfomances. Like in Africa, where people are encouraged to play a role in the performance, Fernand enjoys letting the audience participate as well.
In Africa, there really is no audience - everyone participates, he tells the audience, so I want everyone to get up and join us!
The fundamental purpose of Soukous then seems to be a celebration of this togetherness, unityeveryone comes together to enjoy the spirit of the music.
Coco Sukali (which means Sweet Coconut) captures the essence of the African culture and transcends all cultural boundaries in the process. Everyone can enjoy this sweet, vibrant music; and, just for a moment, perhaps there is a solidarity among all.
Fernand, the founder of Coco Sukali, was born and raised in The Democratic Republic of Congo. In 1983 he moved to the United States because of his mothers position with the United Nations.
Along with him, he brought his passion for music, his national ties to Africa, and the culture which then surrounded him.
Musically speaking, his influences were that of the rumba, Afrocentric styles, and reggae he incorporates all of these into the songs that he writes.
This original tunes (which are sung in the African language of Linagala) cover such topics as love, family, and to some degree religion. One such song, Mama Theresa, was written for his mother and also for the generosity of Mother Theresa, the Christian missionary.
A self-taught musician, it was his love of music which spurred him to become a song writer and performer.
When asked about his compositional process, Fernand said often, Ill hear a rhythm and write lyrics based on that. Other times it will be the melody which comes first. Lifes daily events can often provide inspiration too. Sometimes you have a good day and you want to write something to capture that.
Whether it is the cultural influences of Africa, his familial ties, or his lifes experiences, Fernand has been given a gift; the gift of uniting a people through his music.
©2002 Community News Group
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