José Louis and the paradox of love: a new chapter for Pierre Kwenders

After two albums, Pierre Kwenders wanted to reveal himself a little more. With his new work, the musician, songwriter and DJ, originally from the Congo, opens up on the side of emotions. He is starting a new chapter in his life.

Founded in Montreal since 2001, Pierre Kwenders has even chosen to use his birth name for this new collection of songs bearing the title of José Louis and The paradox of love.

“It’s my most personal album. I show more vulnerability through my experiences with love, whether it is a friend or a family. I needed to tell my story so that people know me better. It’s a new chapter, “she said in an interview.

On this new work that was launched yesterday, Pierre Kwenders addresses, through 13 songs, the theme of love through the experiences he has had.

“This is the main theme. Love is truly all-encompassing. Anger, betrayal, jealousy and all the emotions that are consequences of love, which is, in itself, an emotion. Love yourself, accept yourself for who you are and accept others for who they are, “she said, adding that love was the solution to many problems.

A planetary album

José Louis and The paradox of love comes five years after the record Makanda is the end of space, the beginning of time.

We find pop, electronics and rumba with guitars, saxophone, cello, trumpet, violin and mbira, a musical instrument from Zimbabwe. The lyrics are in Lingala, French, English, Tsiluba and Kikongo.

“It shouldn’t have been that long, but there were two years of pandemic that turned things around a bit. Which was good because it allowed me to take the time to finish the album well,” he said.

Pierre Kwenders was still there with songs thrown apart and some EPs of ongoing projects.

“It allowed me to have a certain topicality while I was creating my album,” he noted.

José Louis and The paradox of love has been registered all over the world. In Chile, Lisbon, Seattle, New York, Philadelphia, Montreal and New Orleans.

“I travel a lot as a DJ and with the Moonshine project, and this privilege allows me to meet incredible artists, whom I admire, and to collaborate with them. It’s the icing on the cake, ”she says.

These encounters with different composers who make different types of music take him out of his comfort zone.

“There are people who know me as a singer and not as a DJ. I wanted, in this album, to bring together these two worlds that make up my personality “, explained the 36-year-old artist.

King Britt, Ngabo, Michael Brun, Sônge, anaiis, Babel Bukasa, Branko and Uproot Andy are featured on José Louis and the paradox of love.


José Louis album cover and the paradox of love

Courtesy photo

José Louis album cover and the paradox of love

with his choir

UP LES (Freedom Equality Sagacity)a long 9 min 30 piece opening the album, Pierre Kwenders worked with Win Butler, of Arcade Fire.

“I told Win about this song in 2019. He organizes, every year, with his wife, Régine Chassagne, a festival for their Kanpé foundation, in New Orleans. We met there. The opportunity was there and we recorded this piece, “she said.

Regarding the nine minutes of this song, Pierre Kwenders admits, bursting out with laughter, that he has never written such a long song.

“It was, at the beginning, 32 minutes. That would have represented half of the album. It’s a nod to Congolese culture where the generic song opening an album usually lasts a minimum of 10 minutes. I managed to get it down to nine minutes, “she said.

Amused by the question when asked what he likes about his new opera, Pierre Kwenders laughs.

“I started singing in a choir in Montreal with Afrika Intshiyetu and one of my dreams was to be able to sing with them someday on one of my albums. Having been able to do it on this record, for the piece Church, it really is one of the best gifts you could give me. You can also hear my mother on the piece Your dream where I wanted to pay homage to him. These are the two most beautiful things I love about this album, “she said.

♦ Pierre Kwenders will perform on June 5th at the Center Phi in Montreal, on July 27th at Festif! de Baie-Saint-Paul, on July 30 in Osheaga and on August 8 at the new Cigale event in Baie-de-Beauport in Quebec City.

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