by Sang Kromah
I have never been capable of writing in complete silence. Occasionally, Buffy the Vampire Slayer serves as the score as it plays on a loop in a shrunken tab, but music is a constant.
After creating an outline, I normally create a playlist, because, at that point, I know where my story is going. The playlist for Djinn is primal, angsty, intense, and fun, which sums up the protagonist Bijou. I decided to begin with Salif Keita’s “Nou Pas Bouger,” because it’s Mandingo and French, which is Bijou, whether she knows it or not. “Nou Bas Bouger” is a song sang in French and Bambara, one of the Mandingo dialects. The song is basically saying, "Give me back what is rightfully mine…what you took from me before my 'independence.'" I felt like this was the perfect way to kick off the playlist, because this is the entire struggle of the book. I can’t explain much more without including any spoilers.
“All Ur Love” is a love song by Liberian R&B singer, FA. It’s self-explanatory, but whenever I write about Bijou daydreaming about her feelings for Sebastian being reciprocated, this song comes to mind.
(I’m only going to go over the songs that aren’t in English. Otherwise, I will end up giving too many spoilers.)
The song “Kuma” basically means, no matter how ugly the truth may be, it must be said. I always imagine this song during Bijou’s story about Femeni and her father, Chief Musa. As a child, I would listen to this song and tell my dad, "This song encompasses the beauty of Africa for me." It’s in the Mandingo language as well.
The song “Mandela” lists leaders from history. You can actually hear Salif Keita counting in English from one to twenty-seven for the years Nelson Mandela was imprisoned. As he counts, the female singers add other leaders, who had many enemies, which ultimately led to their demise. The song’s chorus is in English, “You shed tears for others.” I wrote to this song furiously during the part when Femeni is fighting the mami wata in the lagoon and they take her baby.
“Khona” is a fun song sung in the Zulu language. All I know is that khona means “there” in Zulu. I couldn’t imagine a better song for Bijou and Amina to enter Bijou’s masquerade party to. It’s classic African party music, and I love the picture it paints. It’s a reminder to the reader that Bijou has strong African roots.
“Folon” had to be the last song on the list because it means “the past” in Mandingo, and above all else, Bijou has to embrace the past to understand today and survive for the future. It also had to end with “Folon” because that is the title of the next book in the series.
Download the playlist on Spotify HERE.
1. “Nou Pas Bouger”- Salif Keita, Paul “Groucho” Smylke
2. “No Roots”- Alice Merton
3. “Paranoid Android”- Radiohead
4. “Every Now and Then”- The Noisettes
5. “Dumb Things”- Paul Kelly and the Coloured Girls
6. “All Ur Love”- FA
7. “Destiny”- Zero 7 feat. Sia
8. “See You Again”- Tyler, the Creator
9. “Same Drugs”- Chance the Rapper
10. “Johnny”- Yemi Alade
11. “Killing Me Softly”- The Fugees
12. Kuma- Salif Keita
13. “Mandela”- Salif Keita
14. “The Man Who Sold the World”- David Bowie
15. “Black Hole Sun”- Soundgarden
16. “Retrograde”- James Blake
17. “Don’t Give Up”- Noisettes
18. “6 Underground”- Sneaker Pimps
19. “Somersault”- Zero 7 feat. Sia
20. “Leave Me as You Find Me”- Josh Powell, Fraser Smith
21. “The Pageant of the Bizarre”- Zero 7 feat. Sia
22. “Aerials”- System of a Down
23. “To Build a Home”- The Cinematic Orchestra
24. “Khona”- Mafikizolo feat. Uhuru
25. “Mr. McGee”- Zero 7
26. “Folon”- Salif Keita