Stromae was introduced to the music of Cape Verdean singer Cesária Évora in childhood, but it was only later that she became one of his musical heroes.
His video clip for “Ave Cesaria,” the fifth single from Racine Carrée, sets the scene at a family celebration that must be similar to the ones Stromae knew as a child. While he was raised by his Flemish mother in Brussels, there was extended family in the area, particularly his aunt from Rwanda. He told Slate Afrique that they used to get together often with the African community in Brussels–Congolese, Rwandan, Cameroonians–and there was always plenty of music and dancing.
The video is filmed in the style of a 90’s home video. The music is only the background for what really matters: the family. Neither the music nor the musicians are the focus. Their role is to provide the milieu for a joyful family celebration. The extras (dressed in beautiful pastel colors by Mosaert stylist Coralie Barbier and Vanessa Evrard) are actually the stars. We overhear their comments as the camera dips and spins, creating the deliberately amateur style of a home video. We only glimpse Stromae briefly. Family members of all ages and colors are enjoying the party in their own way, whether that means dancing, sitting alone, running in the halls, or sneaking a cigarette in the halls.
The home-video touches extend to both the beginning and the end of the video, with a snowy “recording live” screen at the start and a second or two of an amusement park ride at the end, as if the video had been recorded over an old tape of a family trip to the amusement park.
UPDATE May 23, 2015: Mosaert has published new photos taken backstage at the filming of “Ave Cesaria” by Michael Ferire. See all 41 photos here.
And here’s the video so that you can enjoy its originality all over again.
UPDATE June 4: Michael Ferire, a photographer who frequently works for Mosaert, has published an album with more photos taken at the filming of “Ave Cesaria.” He titles the album “Sodade.”
Here’s a translation of the album’s description: “Sometimes one feels stabbed by happy melancholy, sentimental doubt. As if something valuable had disappeared, without really knowing what. When someone, never met, is missing from our life. It is a silent anguish, nostalgia without object, without real pain but very present despite it all.”