Chad-born and raised Caleb Rimtobaye, now from Canada, performs at the World Music Festival, bringing music beyond language barriers and his Afrofuturism vision
Saturday, September 21
Chop Shop & 1st Ward Events
2033 W. North Ave.
Chad -Canadian group AfrotroniX last performed in Millennium Park in 2018—a thrill both to themselves and Chicagoans. Here, Caleb Rimtobaye (CR) of AfrotroniX shares with Picture this Post (PTP) readers his vision of how their music is inspired by and inspires Afrofuturism.
(PTP) What would you most like Chicagoans to know and appreciate about your culture and how your music is a part of it?
(CR) The festival is a great opportunity to get in touch with live music that is not considered “mainstream” but brings important messages, especially in this delicate moment when the Governments prefer to build walls then bridges.
We believe in a future tribe made of individuals that share different roots but common beliefs and find diversity is an invaluable resource of growth and knowledge.
AfrotroniX is a project that brings in its essence the fusion of traditional ancestral rhythms from different areas and tribes of Chad that traditionally do not dialogue among each other, mixed with lyrics in Sarah, Arabic, French, English and guitar sounds from West Africa-- all mixed into electronic music.
It means that the future is into our roots and our language is global. We are bringing with us our interpretation of the Afrofuturism, showing the new face of Africa, and we are very proud of it.
Please tell our readers about your group—how many musicians? What instruments to they play?
We’ll come to Chicago with our drummer/percussionist from Congo and our dancers - so you will see in total four people on stage, in a performance that goes from a spiritual intro to a great party vibe.
How did your group come together?
I (Caleb Rimtobaye) was born in Bedaya in the South of Chad, and I grew up in N’Djamena, the capital city of the country. There I performed for a long time with H’Sao, a popular band in my country, until we all (me and my brothers) moved to Montreal 18 years ago.
All the music that I produce (I’m my own producer) and play (guitar is my instrument) is the result of the influences these two countries have had in my life. So AfrotroniX is a 100% a Canadian project.
Other comments for our readers to let them know about your group, your sound and what you would like them to know about you?
In one of my songs I keep asking “Who were we before they came ?“ questioning our spirituality. I talk about this a lot in the songs-- and consequently our names, our languages. I see this future as inclusive, where everybody is proud and confident. My grandfather used to repeat that we can develop ourselves without destroying what is around us.
What I expect from the concert is to reach our cousins with this different vision of Africa and awaken their curiosity to dig deeper into African history . We want to let them know that we have so much to share: Africa doesn’t wanna be in the position of receiving-- they put us there so they could steal. But what I say is: “give us a chance to give you , to show you!”. We are not what is written or what they say we are. It’s time to change this narrative to a positive code.
Music and art in general can help integration. This is where the code of languages disappears to let what we have in common take place: pure joy of life.
Photos courtesy of AfrotroniX