If any of the major sports channels are looking for the soundtrack to their coverage of football’s African Nations Cup, look no further. And if any of the competing teams from the continent often dubbed ”the cradle of humanity” are looking for something to motivate them in the dressing room, Negash Ali can help.
Lionheart is the first release from his forthcoming The Collage EP, & he says of it that ””Lionheart” is a story of tough love. The continuous problem of having a hard time giving in to the counterpart of the relationship and thus in a strange way desiring to experience shared pain in order to have further trust. The video like the song, communicates the point in a romance where I’ve needed shared experiences of pain in order to give in & furtherly trust the counterpart of the relationship.”
Much the same feeling has probably been experienced by all those who spend Saturday afternoons on the terraces, if they’re of a particularly cynical disposition? ””Like chess, like music, football is circumscribed in time, yet creates its own temporality within set time limits; or, if you prefer, it owes its abstractedness to a capacity for constantly remodelling the present, or truly inventing it.”.
So said Philippe Auclair in The Harmony Of The Sphere, examining the links between music & the beautiful game. And Negash, with familial roots in Eritrea, has a rich musical tradition from which to draw…….
That he manages to reflect both this sense of primal rhythm & a more modern sensibility leaning towards hip-hop is a testament to the man who fled the place before even being born! Denmark proved a suitable home from home, though- ”Ali spent his first five years of life in various refugee camps in Denmark before the family was granted asylum in 1995, settling in the city of Aarhus. Growing up, Ali always knew he wanted to be an artist and his talent was recognised at the tender age of 13 when he got his first artist development deal.”.
Now, though, he’s based in London. And while Eritrea may not have qualified for this year’s Nations Cup ( the Red Sea Boys never even having come close, currently at 202 in FIFA’s world rankings) be very surprised if you don’t hear it at least once while the likes of the Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Ghana & South Africa do battle for supremacy on the field of play……Lionheart will be out in time for the knockout stages, too. A timely convergence, no?
by Christopher Morley