borelson – bug in the program (#bitp)
By Sound Check
October 23, 2015
Watch the new video from Paris based Gabonese-Congolese musician Borelson – ‘Bug In The Program (#BiTP)’. In regards to the track and visual (which blends opera, African rhythms and hip-hop), Borelson says:
When I composed Bug In The Program I didn’t realize it would be a perfect fit for some lyrics (kind of spoken words) I wrote 2 years ago without any particular music in mind. While composing, I was thinking about trying something original, mixing and blending some of my influences. The result is this song with its classical music-influence, infused with an afro beat. I’ve always wanted to collaborate with an opera singer, which is why I called Narimène. Not only because her voice is astonishing, but also because she is proof that you can be pious but also (beautifully) sing songs that aren’t only “for” people who share your beliefs (Narimène is muslim).
I wrote the lyrics at a time when I was thinking about the society we live in and those “boxes” we have to fit into to live without problems, to have a ‘normal’ life, it’s like a program inserted in ourselves. That’s why the first words say it straight: “I’m a bug in the program/Nobody can fix me. Why put some labels, no boxes can fit me”. The rest of the lyrics are full of figures of speech, statements and raw rhymes. It’s all about asserting yourself, being confident about the future (‘I aim for the Universe […] I win or I learn’), empowering yourself: knowing what it means to hustle, to work hard, doing the daily grind. It’s about having a go-getter mentality while keeping your perspective on the system you live in. This is especially true in the light of current events like police violence and the international migrant and refugee situation, etc.
The visuals pay tribute to great people such as Malcolm X and Jiddu Krishnamurti, and contain historical (pharaohs, African queens) and cinematic (the gentrification in question in the movie ‘Boyz In The Hood’) references. There is also news footage that recalls the beginning of the BlackLivesMatter movement. These references are juxtaposed with the understated decor where I perform the lyrics with the opera singer by my side, then a piano solo where the opera singer shows her stunning vocal abilities. A duo of afro-dancers performs during the afro-percussions part, a nod at the African culture, part of my heritage.
Towards the end of the video there’s a definition of what a Bug in the Program is, followed by a stream of different people from different backgrounds, with different styles and attitudes.
It closes on a simple question: Are you a bug in the(ir) program?
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