After two albums, Pierre Kwenders wanted to express himself a little more. With his new opus, the musician, songwriter and DJ, who is from Congo, opens up to the side of emotions. He was starting a new chapter in his life.
Founded in Montréal since 2001, Pierre Kwenders has even chosen to use his birth name for this new collection of songs that carry the title of José Louis and The Paradox of Love.
“This is my most personal album. I show more weakness through my experiences of love, whether love of friend or family. I need to tell my story so people can get to know me better. This is a new chapter, ”he said in an interview.
In this new opus launched yesterday, Pierre Kwenders approaches, through 13 songs, the theme of love through the experiences he has had.
“That’s the main theme. Love is all -encompassing. Anger, betrayal, jealousy and all emotions are the result of love, which, in itself, is an emotion. Love yourself, accept yourself for what you are and accept others for what they are, ”he said, adding that love is the solution to many problems.
A planetary album
José Louis and The Paradox of Love comes five years after the record Makanda and the End of Space, the Beginning of Time.
We can see pop, electronics and rumba with guitars, saxophone, cello, trumpet, violin and mbira, a musical instrument from Zimbabwe. The lyrics are in Lingala, French, English, Tshiluba and Kikongo.
“It wouldn’t have been long, but there was a two-year pandemic that changed things. Which was good because it allowed me to take the time to finish the album well,” he said.
Pierre Kwenders is still on the songs released piece and some EPs from ongoing projects.
“I was allowed to have an actuality while I was creating my album,” he said.
José Louis and The Paradox of Love has been recorded around the world. In Chile, Lisbon, Seattle, New York, Philadelphia, Montreal and New Orleans.
“I’ve traveled a lot as a DJ and with the Moonshine project, and this privilege has allowed me to meet incredible artists, whom I admire, and collaborate with them. It’s the icing on the cake,” he said.
These encounters with different composers making different types of music took him from his comfortable place.
“There are people who know me as a singer and not a DJ. I wanted, on this album, to bring together these two worlds that make my personality, ”explained the 36-year-old artist.
King Britt, Ngabo, Michael Brun, Sônge, anaiis, Babel Bukasa, Branko and Uproot Andy are on José Louis and the Paradox of Love.
Image of goodwill
José Louis and the Paradox of Love album cover
with his choir
on LES (Freedom Equality Sagacity)a long piece of 9 min 30 opening album, Pierre Kwenders works with Win Butler, from Arcade Fire.
“I told this song to Win in 2019. He organizes, every year, with his wife, Régine Chassagne, a festival for their foundation in Kanpé, New Orleans. We met there. There was the opportunity and we recorded this piece, ”he said.
About nine minutes into this song, Pierre Kwenders admitted, laughing, that he had never done such a long song.
“It’s, to begin with, 32 minutes. That represents half of the album. It’s an appointment in Congolese culture where the generic song that opens an album usually lasts at least 10 minutes. I’ve been able to bring it down to nine minutes, ”he said.
Enjoying the question when asked what he wanted in his new opus, Pierre Kwenders laughed.
“I started singing in a Montréal choir with Afrika Intshiyetu and one of my dreams was to sing with them, one day, on one of my albums. To do that on this disc, for the most part Church, is truly one of the most wonderful gifts I can give myself. You can also hear my mother in the piece Your wish where I want to honor him. Those are the two most beautiful things I love about this album, ”he said.
♦ Pierre Kwenders will perform June 5 at Center Phi in Montreal, on July 27 at Festif! de Baie-Saint-Paul, on July 30 in Osheaga and on August 8 at the new Cigale event at Baie-de-Beauport in Quebec City.