We have talked with Seleminga, who talks about sexual harassment in the music video for “Curvas Peligrosas”
Architect by day, artist by night : let us introduce you Seleminga. She sways wonderfully between languages and musical genres ; Seleminga is a multidisciplinary artist, and she is able to put into music and words the emotions she or her loved ones feel on a daily basis, in various life situations. Thus, social matters like being a woman in society, racism or love have been personified, and sometimes heavily criticized in her music. This time around, in “Curvas Peligrosas”, she raises awareness about sexual harassment, especially about what one experiences in the streets. Discover the video below !
Till now, English and French were the main languages of Seleminga’s works. However, this time, she uses Spanish in order to spread her message. “Curvas Peligrosas”, which means “dangerous curves”, starts off with dissonant notes, allowing men and women (which are Auno, Petite Pic, Lauriel) to speak in Spanish about their experiences of the street, and of the harassment they have been victims of. The minimalist beat hits like the pounding heart of someone who’s pertrified ; a beat that purposely lets the weight of the lyrics prevail over the melody.
“Consider my silence as a NO
I heard you but, take my closed mouth as a NO-GO”
– Seleminga – Curvas Peligrosas
If the music itself gave us chills from the very first seconds, the music video fills us with the impression that we are suffocating, as if we had held our breath for too long. Using close-ups, the video highlights various protagonists, whose faces are submerged in dark water ; a metaphor that perfectly describes the feeling of oppression felt by any person undergoing sexual harassment of any kind.
In order to understand a little better the creative process behind Seleminga’s music video, we asked her a few questions !
Hello Seleminga! Can you briefly introduce yourself to those who don’t know you yet?
Hi Cloé! I am Anna, aka Seleminga, a Franco-Senegalese born in Montluçon, France, who’s lived in Berlin for over six years. I have two identities, Anna the architect and Seleminga the singer / experimental music producer. For a year and a half, I have decided to fully invest myself in music, which has been a hobby since I was four years old. My two passions are two ways of expression that are very different in form but similar in substance. Music allows me to create without limits and almost without constraints. I have studied music theory and know the many rules of music, but architecture is governed by physical laws which can turn a small mistake into a potentially fatal one. In other words, when I make a song, I tell myself that in the worst case, no one will like it and no one will die from it. It is only when I’m able to finish a song that I realize the advantage of having an architectural mind. I need this balance to feel good, I need to be able to move between the lightness of the music and the mass of the architectural object.
Can you tell us more about the story behind “Curvas Peligrosas” ?
On March 10, 2020, I went to Cuba for two weeks with my phone turned off, without internet. When I turned it back on before coming back, well surprise, the coronavirus was no longer a distant virus, all borders were closed and coming back from Cuba was a never-ending story. In Cuba, I spent my days walking around, observing, chatting with people… absorbing and digesting everything that was happening around me. I also asked myself questions about this world which was changing before my eyes and whose consequences were already visible even in the most isolated corners of Cuba. I started writing the first songs for the EP over there and then continued on the way home. I’ve walked all the time by myself in the streets or in nature. And something kept happening during the walks I was taking : an almost cartoonish sexual and verbal harassment on the streets. One day while walking I saw this sign saying “Curvas Peligrosas”. I understood it as the expression “dangerous curves” because it echoed my experience as a woman. Paradoxically, having curves and being a woman is dangerous, but why ? Why am I not allowed to walk the streets alone, at any time of the day, dressing the way that I want ? Why is this dangerous ? It is not really a physical danger, but one that is always present. Then my thoughts shifted to the more basic expression of “dangerous turn”. The whole world was taking one by undergoing this pandemic. The double meaning of the word has been the leitmotif of this EP ; as for the subject of the eponymous song, it’s what brought it to life.
Can you also tell us what made you want to put this event into your music ?
I got tired of being quiet. This thing, sexual harassment, has become normal even though it is still seen as offensive and not okay. I want to be able to look at myself in the mirror later on and tell myself that my music will have fueled the debate, even just a little. I love the idea of making music for fun, but when I wrote this song having fun wasn’t enough for me. And more importantly, I wanted to combine my voice with those of other protagonists to talk about this. The lyrics have been written with the testimonies of four Spanish-speaking friends, Auno, Lauriel, Petite Pic and Odessa ; they initiated the song. I quickly made a beat that they recorded on but as soon as I got their vocals the song naturally came around it.
You gathered a whole team around the production of this music video. How did you meet them ? And how did you come up with the visual concept that illustrates this video ?
It was thanks to Duygu Atceken, a friend of mine, who sent me the profile of a film student she found on Facebook. It was the director of photography Esra Tanriverdi : she was looking for musicians & artists because she wanted to make a music video to enrich her portfolio. We met each other, she loved the song, its message, and then talked to director Sofia Ayala with whom she created a concept for the video. The starting point of their ideas was “This is Water” by David Foster Wallace. He makes the analogy between fish ignoring the nature of the environment in which they live and the importance of knowledge. In our video, we decided to showcase the effects of harassment on individuals rather than harassment itself. Watching the video, you do feel uncomfortable, but at the same time, you can feel the strength of the victims. Esra and Sofia found a way to create a simple setting on a very small budget that focused attention on the expression of the characters. I was immediately hooked by their idea. Then Alida Stricker, Jagdeep and Brya who starred in the video are friends of ours. Sofia and Esra did the post-production work and I supervised the whole project.
“Curvas Peligrosas” and your two previous singles “Niña” and “Perle” follow your first EP “Femme Alpha”, an EP that had a lot more of an R&B vibe than an electronic one. Where are you headed today, music wise ?
I’m headed towards a music that resembles me, a much more hybrid one, one that mixes several worlds together. But I was surprised by the techno and trance tones of the last few tracks I produced. So I guess that’s where I’m going right now.
Finally, what should we expect from you for the rest of the year ?
The release of my second EP “Curvas Peligrosas” on March 26, 2021. After that, if the clubs are still closed, probably the release of my third EP at the end of the year because it is already close to being finished. Otherwise at least three more music videos. And maybe a remix of one of my singles (you can ask me again in 2022 if I kept my promise !). On the other hand, if the clubs open again this year… we may have to wait until 2023 to listen to all of this 😉
As a music web writer for several years, I have developed a particularly devoted passion for electronic and alternative musics. From the ethereal melodies of Max Cooper to the introspective music and lyrics of Banks, my radar has me listening to the wide French and international independent music scene... all of this between communication plans for independent labels and artists !