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Lous And The Yakuza: Tiny Desk (Home) Concert

The Tiny Desk is working from home for the foreseeable future. Introducing NPR Music's Tiny Desk (home) concerts, bringing you performances from across the country and the world. It's the same spirit — stripped-down sets, an intimate setting — just a different space.


There's an elegant vibe as Lous and The Yakuza perform a Tiny Desk from the Book Bar in the Hôtel Grand Amour in Paris. And while the music is smooth, upbeat and warm, what lies beneath in Lous backstory, in her French lyrics, is, at times, deep and disturbing.

Lous — an anagram for "soul" — is Marie-Pierra Kakoma, a 24-year-old artist based in Belgium but born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. She came to Belgium because her family escaped war in the Congo. They were refugees. For her Tiny Desk (home) concert, she opens with her 2019 single, "Dilemme." The song conjures up images of growing up in the Congo and Rwanda: "Living haunts me, everything that surrounds me made me mean," she sings in French. Her songs are often set to Congolese rumba rhythms, filled with resilience, beauty and resistance.

These songs come from her 2020 album, Gore, and are steeped in a life that saw her mother imprisoned in the Congo for being Rwandan, then become separated during their escape to Belgium. They were eventually reunited, but Lous was a troubled teen and spent a period of time adrift before pulling her life together in pursuit of music and art. There's much to uncover and discover here. This Tiny Desk (home) concert is a deep journey.

SET LIST

  • "Dilemme"
  • "Bon Acteur"
  • "Dans La Hess"
  • "Solo"
  • "Amigo"
  • MUSICIANS

  • Lous: vocals
  • Joseph Nelson: keys
  • Jamiel Blake: drums
  • Swaeli Mbappe: bass
  • Ayelya Douniama: vocals
  • Myriam Sow: vocals
  • CREDITS

  • Video: Lenny Grosman, Robin Conrad and Loris de Oliveira
  • Audio: Charles Darnaud
  • Directors: Lenny Grosman and Robin Conrad
  • Camera: Loris de Oliveira
  • FOH Engineer: Florent Livet
  • Monitor Engineer: Antoine Lalbat
  • Production: Jim Schachmes and Brieux Ferot
  • Stage Manager: Maddly Mendy-Sylva
  • TINY DESK TEAM

  • Producer: Bob Boilen
  • Video Producer: Maia Stern
  • Audio Mastering: Josh Rogosin
  • Tiny Production Team: Kara Frame, Morgan Noelle Smith
  • Executive Producer: Lauren Onkey
  • Senior VP, Programming: Anya Grundmann
  • Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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