Sans Soucis’ new single, ‘Air’, punches her RnB groovy folk into a new dimension of incendiary pop.
Rooted in her Italian and Congolese heritage, this London-based songwriter and producer’s sweetly intense vocals, melancholic guitar and limpid poetry have previously reminded us of Joni Mitchell, Lauryn Hill and Janelle Monae. But with this new song, she leaps through a ring of fire. It’s hard to write protest songs that are meaningful yet musically rounded. Anonymous British band SAULT are one of few to succeed, since Marvin Gaye.
Sans Soucis this summer curated music workshops for former street children in Lusaka, Zambia, via Amani for Africa. Autumn sees her organising events to support and discuss the Italian Black Lives Matter movement.
“Italy at the moment,” she told us, “Is dealing with a radical cultural transformation led by young people, mostly second generation immigrants, who are claiming their spot not only in the entertainment industry but across all professional and formative areas. Representation and a new model of integration is a priority in the agenda of Black Italians.”
She pointed to Neri Italiani Black Italians as one of the leading organisations in the Italian Black Lives Matter movement and talked of the value of grassroots organisations like @afroitaliansouls and @speakup_talk who nurture and educate young Black Italians to fight on systemic and institutional racism.
Evidently, here is a queer, independently-minded activist whose commitment to building communities has redoubled in response to this year’s collective pain. But what lifts ‘Air’ from the narrow thump of many protest songs is its Afro-inflected counterpoint of a lilting melody with folk vocal harmonies and staccato beats. Playing with her breath, San Soucis fans the flames of the dancefloor, sexy and sharp. Her lyrics suggest that we blow on each other to let our pain explode: “Can we blow on each other/Some air until we see the planet on fire.”
Destruction never sounded so pretty.
‘Air’ is released 16th October.
By Soma Ghosh
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Main image by Chiara Bruschini
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