The Last Thing Faada Freddy Googled Was Proverbs About Love
When GARAGE made a film in Dakar for Issue 18, filmmakers Eddie Wrey and Toby Knott only had one song in mind to score it: “Bopp Sa Bopp” by Senegalese rap trio Daara J, now a duo known as DAARA J FAMILY. Founding member Faada Freddy answers the GARAGE Qu
Ndongo D and Faada Freddy, of DAARA J FAMILY. Photo © Alun B
Welcome to the GARAGE Questionnaire— a set of questions for our times, with inquiries that range from delicate to unhinged—all the better to peer into the multifaceted minds of our creative heroes.
Faada Freddy is calling from Switzerland, where he’s been stranded due to border closures for the foreseeable future, smack dab in the middle of touring and promoting DAARA J FAMILY’s new album Yaamatele, which was released earlier this year. Somehow, he’s entirely at peace. “I'm taking advantage of the lock down to not only meditate about myself but about what the world is becoming… it's like an inner journey to me to solve my ego problems.” Immediately it’s clear that Freddy, who, along with Ndongo D, forms the Senegalese rap duet, knows a thing or two about moving within an ever changing world—and his music has always reflected the journey. “I’m composing a lot now and the direction that I'm taking in my writing is different because I'm closer to myself. I feel more real to myself and to the people who are open to listen to me.”
Since 1992, DAARA J FAMILY has performed to an international audience with an appetite for the diverse flavor of Senegelase hip-hop, and the road Faada Freddy has paved is now being trod by an exciting new wave of artists: “What strikes me the most in Senegal now is to see that the youth there are not waiting on anybody. They do what they got to do. They know how to set up a studio themselves; they aren’t waiting to have big studios or to be signed by a record label. They stand on their own feet which means that, nowadays, they don't need to prove themselves overseas to know that they exist. The Western market needs the African industry to exist… everybody knows that it's Africa’s turn.”
As for what’s next for DAARA J FAMILY, Faada Freddy has his eye on the prize: “My plans are very simple. My first plan is to stay alive.” Below, he answers questions from the GARAGE Questionnaire: Quarantine Edition.
What’s your ideal first day out in the world once “this is over”?
Walking next to the market and seeing people having food.
What is something you’ve discovered about yourself while in quarantine? What is the best thing you’ve cooked while in quarantine?
I discovered God within me.
Have you always been a believer?
Sometimes I doubt it. But, I know—because I'm not only made with a mind and a heart. I am a spirit, too. And my spirit is stronger than my desires and my mind. And when my spirit speaks, my mind and my heart don't speak anymore.
What is the best thing you've cooked while in quarantine?
Bread. I've learned how to make bread. I just forgot to put some more flour on the bread before I put it on the oven. But it was a good bread. And now I know how to do it's going to be part of my business plan. You, know… a bakery…
What's the best thing you've read or watched while you're in quarantine?
Andy Warhol is coming for dinner. Who else do you invite?
Does it have to be somebody who's alive or not?
Alive or dead.
My father. He passed away of cancer six years ago and I still feel a deep connection with him. So, it would be my father, because I just want to see him laughing again.
What is a book you wish you'd written or artwork you wish you had made or a song you wish you had wrote or anything like that?
I have two favorite favorite books. I don't know which one to start with, maybe The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran or The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.
If you could only text with one person for the rest of your life, who would it be?
Myself. Yeah, because now I know that I have to be real to myself, so if I have something to say, I have to say to myself before I say to someone else—to make sure that it's true.
What's the last thing that you Googled?
I have to remember this one. The last thing that I Googled... It's not COVID-19. It's something else. It's, oh yeah, it was Proverbs about love.
Proverbs about love? What were you Googling that for?
Because I found love again. So, I fell in love with myself. I fell in love with life again and the people around me. And even with my enemies. I realize how important it is to love one's enemies.
What's the most useful thing that you own?
What's the least useful thing that you own?
I don't anything that is not useful. Everything is useful. Every little thing can bring me back to the most important thing in life.
How old are you at heart?
I'm 75 in my heart.
Would you rather maintain a very young mind then, or a very young body?
A very young mind.
What would God say if you arrived in heaven?
He would say, "Hey, welcome back."
What is something you would absolutely never wear your life?
That one is really tricky… I know: gold. I never wear gold. I don't like wearing it. I like to see gold on women and just see how beautiful it's on them. But I don't want to be the one to wear it.
What do you wear when you want to feel powerful?
Nothing. Like nothing, nothing, nothing. I feel in simplicity, we are not only in humbleness but we are strong. So when you have nothing on you, you know exactly who you are, you know your weakness and you know your strength. So, what we wear, that's not going to define if we're powerful or not.
What superpower would you like to have?
The power of healing souls.
What is the place in time you would like to visit?
Oh, I'm not really interested in the future. No, no, no, no. Yeah. I'm trying to set myself accordingly to my inner time. The present is everything to me. It's the most beautiful time I ever had.
Some say the world will end in fire. Some say in ice. What do you think?
Neither fire nor ice. Your world ends when you die. And that doesn't mean that another world doesn’t exist. It means your own world is ending.