ARISE 100 Women: Buika

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Words Lara Akinnawo

Mallorca-born Buika’s fusion of flamenco and copla with soul and jazz on her 2008 album Niña de Fuego saw the singer nominated for a Latin Grammy. Born to political refugees from Equatorial Guinea, Buika sang two songs for Pedro Almódovar’s BAFTA-winning film The Skin I Live In.

What drives you? 

The healthy madness of healthy, crazy people like me and the necessity of healthy madness that exists today in the whole world.

What are the main misconceptions when it comes to women in the music business?

In a way, women in the industry are still not developing their own sound, they keep on being a little too dependent on the acceptance of men, who are taking possession of their development and therefore benefit from their artistic abilities… Anyway everything is changing and very fast. Every day more female conductors, music producers, composers, sound engineers etc emerge. We are slowly beginning to visualise a more balanced musical horizon, with a new sound as standard – the women sound.     

What advice would you have given to yourself when you were starting out?

Do not waste time helping those who are not willing to help others.

What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced in your career?

To be able to listen to my free note and follow it until the very end… it has almost been an impossible challenge but I have achieved it, now my melodies are entirely mine… Also I have faced the challenge of singing the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

In boardrooms and parliaments, on television and the stage, women are increasingly making their presence felt across Africa and on the world stage. The inaugural ARISE 100 list champions just some of the remarkable women shaping modern Africa today.

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