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  • Writer's pictureThe Sound Cafe

Toronto's Idris Lawal Releases Powerful Video on Police Violence

Idris Lawal dropped the video today to his intensely powerful and beautiful single "Wallflowers". It's both a song in mourning for Black people slain by police, and uses dance as a form of healing. Lawal explains this - "In many African and Global cultures, "mourning dances" are used as a cultural healing system relevant to dance/movement therapy (DMT). Dancing to heal vs. Dancing for joy. We danced!"

Idris Lawal’s discovery of music came from growing up listening to his parents’ mixes and Hollywood soundtracks. He recalls weekends and car drives in Lagos where his dad would play long mixes of popular Nigerian musicians (Fela Kuti, King Sunny Ade, Sir Shina Peters, Sonny Okonsu, Sir Victor Uwaifo, Ebenezer Obey).

An Introduction to 2pac’s ‘Changes’ by a friend would spark an interest in rap music and inspire a focus on poetry and lyricism that shapes his writing. Growing up in Nigeria, Qatar, South-Africa and Canada; his early exposure to different cultures would become the foundation of his genre-bending sound.

Today, he draws from a variety of musical influences including rap, afrobeat, highlife, afro-pop, soul music and blends into what he calls “Afrobop”.

Idris Lawal said of Wallflowers... "Music saved my life forreal. In the hardest of times I've often turned to music to heal, whether it's creating or consuming. Moving to and living in different countries as a kid, what always helped me settle and find a home and family was connecting with the music culture. When I started writing Wallflowers, it was a reflection of myself growing up, the time I spent at home consuming and creating and how that made me the man I am today. I picked it back up to finish it in 2020 and with everything that happened, what started as an inner reflection of my own self became an outward reflection on girls like Breonna Taylor and boys like Ahmaud Aurbery who are unfortunately not here today. The second verse is for them." He continued "2020 was a tough year but we made it! I think the most important thing 2020 taught me is to cherish every moment, good and bad. Enjoy the journey but know the destination and trust yourself to do what you need to do to get there. Also, make sure to celebrate yourself and don't be afraid to pick your own flowers. All of this we tried to capture - visually - in the Wallflowers music video.Wallflowers is dedicated to all the boys and girls who fell victim to senseless police brutality and never got to bloom. I wrote it while thinking of them and my childhood when I was often told to stay home by my mom because of fear of what may happen outside.”

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