The weather may be getting colder as we move into fall, but one way for things to perpetually stay warm in your heart is to experience the hot rhythms of KAE SUN. The personable Ghanaian-Canadian singer-songwriter made his sophomore album Afriyie available earlier this year (pronounced AFREE-YAY), and is celebrating its release on Thursday, October 10th at Toronto’s eclectic and upscale Rivoli. This is a cool customer who has been likened to Raphael Saadiq, K’naan and k-os, although none of these comparisons really hit the nail on the head. Read the Q&A he did with me below to get an idea of his vibe, and be sure to also watch his videos. (Just don’t blame me for any spontaneous dancing!)
Your sound has been described as many different things by many different people, with the unifying force being that it is UNIQUE – How do YOU explain your music, specifically your latest album AFRIYIE?
I think it’s really about experiencing it – It is communication, it’s art, it’s spiritual work, so definitions tend to miss the mark. I don’t even know that I’m actually doing anything but searching for clarity from moment to moment in the work whatever it ends up being.
What are your thoughts on Arcade Fire combining “wordly” elements like Haitian drums with disco on their new album? As someone who emigrated from Ghana not all that long ago, where would you say you draw your music influences from these days?
I haven’t heard it yet, sounds like a really cool thing. I’m still very connected to Ghana so I’m really into all that’s going on there and the interesting ways in which the music is finding its way into North America and Europe. Of course I’m always looking to music from the past, especially folk music from indigenous traditions.
As I ask this, it sure doesn’t feel like fall is here… What is the coolest thing you’ve done “on your summer vacation?”
It was cool to just play some festivals again with a bigger band and just vibe with people.
We all know there will eventually be a zombie apocalypse – If you only had enough battery life left on your music player to enjoy ONE album in full before your brains get eaten, what would it be?
(John) Coltrane’s A Love Supreme.
You played Toronto back in May at the inaugural CBCMusic.ca Festival. How do you feel the CBC helps promote various genres across the country, and if you had the opportunity to play any festival in the world, which would it be and why?
The support from the CBC is real, with such a wide reach…they’re definitely keeping voices alive on the airwaves. Felabration because it’s in the most vibrant city in the world, Lagos (Nigeria) at Fela (Anikulapo-Kuti)’s shrine, and the energy would be surreal.
Who in music has impressed you the most so far in 2013, and who do you feel still has something up their sleeve?
I have no clue, LOL.
Let’s say you had access to a WABAC machine like Sherman and Mr. Peabody did in the old Rocky & Bullwinkle cartoons; who’s the one person, band or event you wish you could go back in time to experience?
If you had an unlimited marketing budget, what would be your ideal “piece of swag?”
Please give me at least one pro and con as it relates to music and social media.
Well the potential to connect and interact with people is a great blessing. The con for me is that it still gets dominated by unimaginative big money marketing schemes and the conversations surrounding them.
Finally, let’s end on a positive note by you telling me the BEST thing about being an indie artist, and why fans should be hopeful for the future.
The freedom. The artist gets a lot of space. Work at your own pace to dream beyond genre/medium/approach, be free to take risks. Well, fans should be hopeful because art as I see it is about possibility; it’s about that very thing – hope.