Eric 1Key’s Entre 2 -Virtually Yours, an ‘online love story’

AiW Guest: Ceri Whatley

AiW Note: This is the second in a series of four posts in which Ceri Whatley discusses Rwandan artist Eric 1Key’s album Entre 2, as well as presenting original translations of 1Key’s lyrics from Kinyarwanda and French to English. We are delighted to publish these posts and lyrics with the permission of Eric 1Key. 

Divider

Courtesy of Eric 1Key

Courtesy of Eric 1Key

Eric 1Key (real name Eric Ngangare) is one of Rwanda’s most exceptional creative talents. He is a multi-lingual hip-hop poet, spoken word artist, blogger, and advocate of Kigali’s blossoming live music scene. Born to a Rwandan mother and Congolese father, 1Key has lived in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the Republic of Congo, Uganda, and Rwanda – where he lives today. Between November 2014 and February 2015 – and while living in Kampala, Uganda – 1Key created his debut album Entre 2 (“Between Two”).

Entre 2 – which boasts eleven carefully constructed tracks – is reflective of complex contradictions and dichotomies in 1Key’s own life. Throughout the album, we hear multiple voices singing and rapping in Kinyarwanda, French and English – as well as in Kiswahili and Lingala – reflecting the new Kigali today. Indeed, Rwanda’s capital city is home to vast numbers of Rwandan returnees, who grew up in neighbouring countries – as well as in Europe and North America – and then returned to Rwanda after the 1994 Genocide, speaking a variety of different languages.

As a PhD researcher interested in musical connections between Kigali and Kampala, I have enjoyed the privilege of getting to know Eric. Through his album, 1Key took me on a journey through a world of traditional Rwandese melodies, soulful folk, celebratory rock, bouncy reggae beats, and conscious hip-hop poetry. He introduced me to Rwandan and Ugandan music producers and artists – with whom he collaborated with on the album – who live in Rwanda, Uganda, France, Sweden, the UK and Canada. But most importantly, 1Key helped me to translate and “decode” his words. His poetic, playful, multi-layered, seductive, defiant, honest words.

I hope that this series of song reviews – complete with lyric translations and audio links – enhances your understanding of 1Key’s outstanding album, and that you enjoy it as much as I do.

Track 4: Virtually Yours ft. Ricky Password & Mhinganzima

While A L’Africaine (Iwacu) expresses 1Key’s romantic nostalgia for a time before apps and gadgets, the album’s following track throws us forwards into a celebration of online space and its capacity for enabling love and musical collaboration. Virtually Yours narrates an online love story, with the feel-good mood being inspired by Ray Charles’s influential song What’d I Say (1959). Recorded at audio-producer Barick’s home-studio in Kigali, Virtually Yours is alive and upbeat. The free-feeling quality is achieved by the fast tempo, the strong backbeat of the drum kit, and the attack of the electric piano rhythms. We hear multiple voices singing in Kinyarwanda, French and English, reflecting the new Kigali today, where entwined linguistic and cultural influences feed into an increasingly diverse and interesting creative arts scene.

The Kigali that I am referring to is not constrained by physical boundaries, with digital media platforms connecting Rwandans and non-Rwandans from all over the world. Indeed, Virtually Yours is the first of four collabos on the album and features Mhinganzima, a female singer and member of the Rwandan diaspora. When living in Sweden, Mhinganzima became 1Key’s friend on Twitter and the two of them developed a deep connection. 1Key dedicates Virtually Yours to Mhinganzima and praises her when he says: “I love to read her prose for hours/Her voice sounds like a catchy tune.” (Translated from French to English) In the second verse, we are treated to Mhinganzima’s velvety voice and beautifully thoughtful words. She misses Rwanda, but feels a closeness to 1Key through “[Their] words which devour miles.” (Translated from French to English)

Kigali, Rwanda. 2016. Natacha performing at Spoken Word Rwanda. [Courtesy of Spoken Word Rwanda]

Kigali, Rwanda. 2016. Natacha performing at Spoken Word Rwanda. [Courtesy of Spoken Word Rwanda]

Virtually Yours also features Rwandan world music singer Ricky Password and Natacha, a dear friend of 1Key and a lively and important voice in Rwanda’s fast-growing spoken word scene. The hook, sung in English by Ricky Password, remains loyal to 1Key’s creative style. He plays with words, making reference to various social media platforms when he sings:

 

“You tweet like a little sweet birdie

Your face, book it for my kisses baby

You’re my sound cloud, your voice takes me higher

I lose instantgrams when you go M.I.A

WhatsApp with you, girl, can’t you see?

I’m so in love with you…”

[Emphasis by Ceri Whatley]

Moreover, the track opens to that familiar start-up sound of Microsoft Windows XP (2001), followed by a robotic female voice saying: “Press 1Key. Enter Password” and the rat-a-tat-tat of typing.

As we progress through 1Key’s album, we discover links between the tracks. In Virtually Yours, Ricky Password says: “Come to me Bwiza from the song before”, and later 1Key says: “Come to me and fall on the chest of a strong man,” (translated from Kinyarwanda to English), which is also a reference to A L’Africaine (Iwacu). Amongst the many strands of this multi-layered album – which is reflective of 1Key’s thoughts and lived experiences – is the rootedness in Rwandan idioms. 1Key says: “It’s not just… /…the look of a cow”, referring to the Rwandan saying that when a woman is beautiful she has the look of a cow, especially when she has big eyes. (Translated from French to English) Finally, the last two lines of the song, which translate as “Let me praise you/And play the Inanga for you”, which also link us back to 1Key’s opening track Apprenti_Sage.

 

Virtually Yours lyrics

Virtually Yours ft. Ricky Password & Mhinganzima [Track 4 on Entre 2 album, 2015]  

Prod. Barick: Home studio, Kigali. English, French, Kinyarwanda.

 

[Intro] [Intro] 
1key: 1key:
This is for my tweeps, yeah! This is for my tweeps, yeah!
Ricky Password: Ricky Password:
Alright Alright
1key: 1key:
Too many crushes on my timeline. I see y’all! Too many crushes on my timeline. I see y’all!
Ricky Password: Ricky Password:
I’m “social” in love with you I’m “social” in love with you
Iyizire bwiza budashira irora n’irongora mama we Come to me Bwiza from the song before
Iyizire nkwijyanire iwacu mu Rwagasabo Let me take you home to the land of Gasabo
Social in love with you… Social in love with you…
1key: 1key:
Iyizire ugwe mu gituza cy’ingangare Come to me and fall on the chest of a strong man
[Verse 1: 1key] [Verse 1: 1key]
Elle, c’est pas qu’une douce voix It’s not just a gentle voice
Un parfum suave, une touche de grace A sweet fragrance, a touch of grace
Une oreille à l’écoute, un regard de vache An ear to listen, the look of a cow
Un buste bombé ou une forme de coca A bust bomb or the shape of a coke bottle
De longues jambes ou un ventre plat Long legs or a flat stomach
Comme toutes ces images que tu vénères Like all the images that you praise
Elle, elle tourne mes sens à l’envers She turns my world upside down
Elle est donc je me sens mieux She is therefore I am better
J’adore lire sa prose pendant des heures I love to read her prose for hours
Sa voix résonne comme un son accrocheur Her voice sounds like a catchy tune
Elle ne sera jamais mienne et j’en suis heureux She will never be mine and I am happy for that because then
Car je ne vivrai pas avec la pression de pouvoir la perdre I won’t live with the pressure that I might lose her
On ne partage pas la même pression de l’atmosphère

 

We do not share the same pressure of the atmosphere
Et certes nos environnements se different And certainly our environments are different, but
Mais au delà des barrières, on s’est créé des spheres Beyond the barriers, we create our own spheres
Avec notre connexion, on a créé notre propre univers With our connection, we created our own universe
[Hook: Ricky Password] [Hook: Ricky Password]
You tweet like a little sweet birdie You tweet like a little sweet birdie
Your face, book it for my kisses baby Your face, book it for my kisses baby
You’re my sound cloud, your voice takes me higher You’re my sound cloud, your voice takes me higher
I lose instant-grams when you go M.I.A I lose instant-grams when you go M.I.A
WhatsApp with you, girl can’t you see? WhatsApp with you, girl can’t you see?
That I’m in love with you, girl can’t you see? That I’m in love with you, girl can’t you see?
I’m so in love with you, girl can’t you see? I’m so in love with you, girl can’t you see?
I’m so in love with you I’m so in love with you
[Verse 2: Mhinganzima] [Verse 2: Mhinganzima]
On ne se connaît pas, on se sait We do not just know each other, we’re aware of each other
La nostalgie noir sur blanc The nostalgia black and white
Les mots qui dévorent les kilometers The words which devour the miles
Et les transforment en nuages And transform them into clouds
Je le sais à l’écoute même quand je suis sans voix We can hear each other without talking
Il ne peut être à moi He cannot be mine
Alors souvent le soir So often in the evening
Après avoir tout mis off After switching everything off
Je me l’offre I get him
Derrière l’écran tout un océan de paroles Behind the screen in an ocean of words
À voguer sans amarres il me reticent We sail
Je lui pose les questions qui me hantent I asked him the questions that haunt me
Crois-tu que Lune et Soleil envient l’amour des étoiles? Do you believe that the moon and the sun envy the love of the stars?
Crois-tu que rêve et prière sont jumeaux? Do you believe that dreams and prayers are twins?
Et que chacun veille à son tour? And that each take a turn to sleep?
Crois-tu que l’on peut faire chanter les mots sans mélodie? Do you believe that we can make words dance without a melody?
Ou faire danser l’air sans y toucher? Or dance in the air without touching it?
Aimes-tu la pluie? Do you love the rain?
Es-tu aussi solaire que je t’imagines? Are you as “stellar” as I imagine?
Restes avec moi ce soir, je l’implore Stay with me tonight, I beg
[Hook: Ricky Password] [Hook: Ricky Password]
You tweet like a little sweet birdie  You tweet like a little sweet birdie
Your face, book it for my kisses baby Your face, book it for my kisses baby
You’re my sound cloud, your voice takes me higher You’re my sound cloud, your voice takes me higher
I lose instant-grams when you go M.I.A I lose instant-grams when you go M.I.A
WhatsApp with you, girl can’t you see? WhatsApp with you, girl can’t you see?
That I’m in love with you, girl can’t you see? That I’m in love with you, girl can’t you see?
I’m so in love with you, girl can’t you see? I’m so in love with you, girl can’t you see?
I’m so in love with you I’m so in love with you
[Verse 3: Natacha & 1key] [Verse 3: Natacha & 1key]
Tant que tu seras, je m’accrocherai à ce bout de rêve As long as you will be, I will hang on to this piece of dream
Peu importe le temps que je serai, tu resteras mon amour secret No matter the time, you will be my secret lover
Et je m’en voudrai pour toujours d’être cet infidel indiscret And I will always be guilty for not being discrete
Incapable de resister aux touches de tes mots doux Unable to resist the touch of your sweet words
Car toi seul sait où se trouvent les boutons de mes émois d’où Because only you know where the buttons of my emotions are
Tu es malgré tout le temps et la distance entre nous Despite all the time and space between us

 

[Hook: Ricky Password] [Hook: Ricky Password]
You tweet like a little sweet birdie You tweet like a little sweet birdie
Your face, book it for my kisses baby Your face, book it for my kisses baby
You’re my sound cloud, your voice takes me higher You’re my sound cloud, your voice takes me higher
I lose instant-grams when you go M.I.A I lose instant-grams when you go M.I.A
WhatsApp with you, girl can’t you see? WhatsApp with you, girl can’t you see?
That I’m in love with you, girl can’t you see? That I’m in love with you, girl can’t you see?
I’m so in love with you, girl can’t you see? I’m so in love with you, girl can’t you see?
I’m so in love with you I’m so in love with you
(X 2) (X 2)
[Outro: Ricky Password] [Outro: Ricky Password]
Ah la la la la…  Ah la la la la…
Reka nkuririmbire mama we Let me praise you
Ndetse ngucurangire inanga henge And play the Inanga for you

 

Divider

 

Eric 1Key (real name Eric Ngangare) is a multi-lingual hip-hop poet, spoken word artist, blogger, and advocate of Kigali’s blossoming live music scene. His album – along with his other poetry and music – is available on Soundcloud: soundcloud.com/eric1key – and for sale on digital stores iTunesSpotify, and Amazon. Eric 1key is very active on social media where you can find him discussing and debating all kinds of things. For updates and live info, follow Eric1key on Twitter: @eric1key, Facebook: Facebook/eric1key, or email for bookings at ericonekey@gmail.com. Additional song reviews by Ceri Whatley can be found on Eric 1Key’s Blog: https://eric1key.com/

Ceri WhatleyCeri Whatley is a PhD candidate in African Studies and Anthropology at the University of Birmingham, UK. Her research explores “musical traffic” – both physical and digital – between Kigali-Rwanda and Kampala-Uganda, with a particular interest in the construction of new Rwandan identities, post-1994 genocide. While conducting over 12 months of ethnographic research in Rwanda and Uganda, Ceri undertook Kinyarwanda language training. She is currently analysing the rich corpus of data collected during fieldwork, and looks forward to completing her thesis. Ceri is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC-M3C) and can be contacted on cnw604@bham.ac.uk.



Categories: Academic Research, Music, Social Media and Blogs

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

join the discussion:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: