Interview with Aminu Idris - 'ERIKA'

Last week, my St.Lucian music producer friend, Nigel Nicholas shared a few Zouk songs with me. I paricularly liked, 'Baby Fly by Goldee' and 'La Go d'à Côté by Arielle.'

Zouk is a style of rhythmic music originating from the Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique. It was created by Caribbean islands who spoke creole languages. Caribbean zouk, the traditional way is a dance performed in the Caribbean, most often in the islands of Guadeloupe, Martinique, Haiti, Dominica and St. Lucia. - Wiki

Thanks to Nigel, I started to binge on music that was a language, other than english which included zouk and latin music. That binge resulted in The Sweet7 playlist, 'Other Than English.' While making that playlist, I discovered, 'ERIKA' by Aminu Idris by mere chance. ... And for some reason, 'Erika' penetrated my soul.



I went searching for the voice behind 'ERIKA' and discovered ...
Aminu Idris & Zouk a World Apart!

AMINU IDRIS was born in Lagos, Nigeria and moved to the United Kingdom when he was 15 years old. When I mentioned to him that I was from St.Lucia, an island with a strong French influence, due to our history, he assured me, "I know St.Lucia very well from word of mouth and having lived in the UK. I have spent alot of time with people from the Caribbean."

Aminu speaks English and Hausa which are his native tongue but he also learnt how to speak Arabic. So his music is a fusion of all things.

"I love mostly African Music, Soul, Rythm and Blues, Latin and Jazz. When you hear a lot of my songs you will hear influences from at least one or more of these genres."

My inquiring mind wanted to know all about 'ERIKA' .. "Who is 'ERIKA'?

"The song Erika is nothing more than just a fantasy. I have no connection romantically with anyone named Erika although my brother had a girlfriend once called Erika and that's why the name came easily to me as the theme of my Zouk song. In other words, I was looking for a name that kind of sounded like Aisha instead I used Erika. That's really my story :)"

I noted that Aminu used producer, Alireza Soroush, for both his videos, 'ERIKA' and 'Can't Sleep.' I wondered who was and why he had chosen, Alireza Soroush.

"My two videos, Erika and Cant Sleep were directed by Alireza Soroush who is a Dubai based Director who was working for a popular Iranian Channel called GemTV. We were introduced by a mutual friend and I ended up working with him on 2 videos because I like his creativity and eye for unusual stuff."

Read Sweet 7's "My Trip to Dubai."

Despite loving the 'ERIKA' video, I asked Aminu to forgive me but I wanted to know "why the painted lady in the wall, what did it mean or what was her relevance to the song?"

"The painted lady in the mirror frame?! Hahahhaa! So yes, I'm guessing you can sort of understand why I think Alireza can be a bit unusual and that's what I like about his style. It had no relevance to the video but I'm guessing we achieved the "HUH" factor as everyone is talking about it which was expected."

Traditional Caribbean zouk dance partners never separate and are basically glued at the hips, sensually grinding! 'ERIKA' introduced me to a dance style that was very unfamiliar to me. Who knew? Zouk Lambada. Below is a video of Aminu's friends doing the Zouk Lambada to his song, 'Erika,' in of all places in the world, in Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates at the Abu Dhabi Salsa Festival.
Zouk Lamabada

After watching a few more videos on Youtube and seeing that Zouk Lambada really existed, I wanted to know more about ZOUK in Europe and or Arab countries, the similarities and differences.

"Zouk is a very popular style as I'm sure you are aware of. It very appealing to a lot of people because its sensual, sexy and a lot of fun. I'm not in a position to explain the history of zouk however I discovered it about 2 years ago in Dubai through some instructor friends of mine. I was their first male student in Dubai (United Arab Emirates).

I do believe that zouk is mainly the same everywhere but only very few differences. What I do know for sure is that zouk music is just music and zoukers around the world dance to the exact same beat whether its african, latin or rnb music."

The man behind the voice of 'Erika' also got movement in his hips.
 Check out Aminu salsa dance ...
"I have been dancing Salsa for about 10 years now. It's something I did in my spare time when I was still a student in the UK and somewhat turned into something I got really passionate about."

Facebook Fan Page: Aminu Idris

Thanks for this interview, Aminu 
... hopefully we meet on a dance floor some where in our small world!

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