In 2017, Franco-Brazilian artist, composer and producer Yndi made the decision to retire her old stage name, Dream Koala, and began work on an album under her own name. Combining Afro-Brazilian percussion with French and Portuguese poetry, the artist set about writing an album that would celebrate and uplift her own cultural heritage in what would later go on to form the basis of Noir Brésil.
Today, the artist returns with the title track off her forthcoming album alongside a new video directed by Yndi and Enora Jung. Featuring animation directed by Elisa Lévy, as well as archival footage of traditional dance forms like capoeira, baptisms, festivals and daily life, the visual for "Noir Brésil" collages together snapshots of Afro-Brazilian culture as Yndi meditates on nameless ancestors and honoring unspoken legacies.
Amidst thundering percussion and urgent guitar plucks, Yndi's syrupy smooth vocals glide effortlessly atop the fray. On "Noir Brésil," Yndi comes to embody the distinctive Brazilian and Portuguese concept of saudade, a sentiment that embodies a unique mixture of melancholy, longing, desire and nostalgia that is particular to the cultural temperament, walking the line between taking pride in that history while not forgetting the generational trauma and hardship that haunts it, as well.
"Before 2020, I had never seen so many images of Black people suffering circulating on social media," Yndi tells PAPER. "After this traumatic year, I needed images that showed me that being Black was not all suffering. I wanted images that healed me. This is exactly what Afro-Brazilian culture has been doing for centuries. It carries the transmission of a strength that keeps us standing in a world that dehumanizes us. Noir Brésil is a poem for my ancestors. In the video, the dialogue between the images is at once a celebration, a cry and a remedy."
Watch the PAPER premiere of Yndi's "Noir Brésil" off the upcoming album of the same name, out May 28th.
Photo courtesy of François Quillacq