Oct 20th, 2023
Belgian global groove outfit Alpacas Collective releases second single “Movéfèzè” from their upcoming sophomore album Big Words scheduled to hit all the best stores on November 11th.
For this track Alpacas Collective took a rather unusual pitstop in the Caribbean. On the beautiful and musically rich island of Martinique to be more precise. But like many lush tropical islands, this pearl also has a dark side. Creole hip hop originator with his crew Hip hop Bokay, radio-presentator and cultural figure, Nèg Madnick, got inspired by an Alpacas instrumental track originally called “The Sorcerer”. He wanted to contribute and wrote political lyrics that gave the tune a new sound and vibe as well as a new name, “Movéfèzè”, ‘wrongdoers’ or ‘villains’ in Creole.
On “Movéfèzè” rapper Nèg Madnick denounces the rich plantation owners who poisoned his beautiful Caribbean island of Martinique with toxic pesticides. These descendants of colonial rule – who got rich via forced labor of enslaved people and production of sugar, still largely control the islands’ economy – and used a specific DDT-style pesticide called ‘chlordecone’ for the big plantations producing bananas for exports. While this pesticide was banned in the US since the late 60s and the WHO called it carcinogenic in 1979, ‘the banana-cartel’ kept using its stocks well into the 90s, knowing very well that they were putting people and ecosystems at risk. The widespread use of chlordecone in these French Caribbean islands poisoned the soil and water and has been linked to unusually high rates of prostate cancer.
After a decade of campaigning and protesting by action groups like ‘Zéro chlordécone, zéro poison’, it was only in 2018 that French head of state Macron agreed that France was responsible for what the President himself called “an environmental scandal”. But the victims are still awaiting any compensation or justice: after slavery and colonialism, the Martinique and Guadeloupe people have known for two decades that they are the victims of unjust power structures. Nèg Madnick heard in the Alpacas Collective tune a perfect carrier for his lyrical comment on this scandal.
“Who are these wizards blowing on our heads?”, versatile artist Nèg Madnick asks, as he mixes rap and roots-reggae at the start of the tune. To then play around with the official values of the French Republic: “Ready to cut them off under the pretext of equality. Fraternity poisons and isolates us. Justice goes haywire on holiday. Criminals use their potion and impose their unconditional rule on us”. If one listens well the track transmits dormant emotions of anger and rebellion, a revolt that could emerge from the luscious bush at any moment: Maroon jazzfunk!
Members of the Alpacas Collective are very proud and happy to lend their music to political messages, as the title of their new album Big Words also suggests. And as on their first album where an Ethiopian singer contributed to the track “Mehal Sefari” in Amharic, the Alpacas Collective still thrive on new sounds, musical styles, unknown instruments and foreign languages they do not understand but feel. It’s not some form of ‘exotism’ but a passion for new sounds and authenticity as well as working in collective spirit. As long as it clicks with their musical style, for Alpacas Collective, anything can go!
For more information about the Chlordecone Justice struggle: https://www.workers.org/2020/09/50995/
“Movéfèzè” out via digital download on October 20th 2023 via Catalpas Records