Daughters of the Sun
musicians from the Spanish heart of Africa
Piruchi Apo Botupa and Paloma Loribo Apo, Daughters of the Sun, "Hijas del Sol", are a good example of the young generation of African musicians and artists living abroad, as their work reflects established tradition, modern city-life and the experience of exile. Their lyrics put traditional ritual a-cappella songs in the Bubi language together with Spanish texts. The musical spectrum ranges from West African rhythms to Caribbean grooves and contemporary forms of playing like makossa and soukous.
Though they left their homeland, Equatorial Guinea, in 1993, the ´Hijas del Sol´, Piruchi Apo Botupa and Paloma Loribo Apo, are keen to preserve the traditions of their people. These are the Bubis, a Bantu tribe, which for more than 2000 years has been living on the island Bioko. The Bubis are famous for not only their rich musical tradition but also for their opulent body-painting and tattooing. In the course of colonisation and the introduction of Spanish as the school and official language, the Bubi traditions have been pushed more and more into the background.
The Daughters of the Sun, ´Hijas del Sol´, consciously oppose this process but take up more than a conservative stance. In the sense of the word ´tradition´ they develop the songs and rites of their people, put them into a new musical framework and deal in their lyrics with the problems of alienation and exile. Their first CD, produced in 1995, was called ´Sibéba´, a word which, in the tradition of the Bubis, designates a paradisial place of salvation for the very best. At times the duo itself has appeared under the name ´Sibéba´.
The music of the ´Hijas del Sol?´ is thus accessible and at times infectious without just flowing into the Afro-pop mainstream. A special element is two-voice song, in which Piruchi Apo Botupa and Paloma Loribo Apo have a joint sound such as can be achieved only through the deep understanding of growing up together and having close family ties. This finds its perfect expression in their a-cappella pieces. They also have arrangements with acoustic guitars, violins and sparingly used synthesisers as well as a wide range of percussion instruments both from West Africa and Afro-Cuba. Hence echoes of reggae or of makossa and soukous are interwoven with traditional call and response patterns from the Bubi-tradition.
Author: Richard Berkowski
Piruchi Apo Botupa and Paloma Loribo Apo are aunt and niece. They were born near Malabo, the capital of the island Bioko, belonging to Equatorial Guinea, the only land in Africa with Spanish as the official language. They began singing and performing together in their hometown and called themselves ´Hijas del Sol´ ? the Daughters of the Sun. In 1993 they both moved to Spain, where they have since been living and working. Since 1995 they have jointly been issuing CDs which have sprung to attention through the world music charts. Their fourth album ´Pasaporte Mundial´ appeared in 2001.
This artist took part in the following project(s) organized/funded by the culturebase.net partner institutions.
Debates, lectures, concerts, readings
(26 March 98 - 24 January 99)