To the locals of Angola, Coreon Du needs no introduction. The 31-year-old artiste is widely talked about in Africa -- he is a singer, musician, TV producer and fashion designer.
Last year, he was named by Forbes Magazine as one of 15 Young Africans Rebranding Africa.
His critically-acclaimed 2010 debut album “The Coreon Experiment,” fused the sounds of his Angolan culture with Kilapanga -- a type of traditional folk music --and global influences such as pop, semba and jazz. His telenovelas “Windeck” and “Open Your Eyes” have received Emmy nods. He was also awarded the Best Serial Drama Golden Bird Prize for the Angolan soap opera “Open Your Eyes” at last year’s Seoul International Drama Awards.
Angolan musician, creative director and producer Coreon Du (Courtesy of Coreon Du)
“I am very happy that the committee at the Seoul Drama awards even considered it (the TV drama),” said Du, during an interview with The Korea Herald at the W Seoul – Walkerhill hotel earlier this month.
“I believe I was the only African nominee (that year) and we were able to win,” he added.
Despite being a show that largely centers on Angolan culture, Du added that the gritty police drama had all the essential ingredients of “love, romance and intrigue” to allow the show to be able to speak to audiences on a global scale.
He was unable to attend the drama awards ceremony in Seoul last year because of scheduling conflicts and so decided to visit Korea for the first time this year to immerse himself in the nation that had recognized his drama series.
“I was so happy to even have been considered for the award here,” he said. “I’ve now had the opportunity to meet with some of the members of the committee and learn more about the organization and to learn more about Seoul.”
For Du, one of the inspirations behind the award-winning and Emmy-nominated TV series was the realization that when many of his fellow Angolans turned on their TVs at home for entertainment, they did not usually watch shows that were made and produced locally.
“We have a very big problem in my country, which is that a lot of our younger generation was not really identifying with a lot of the local TV content,” he explained. “The reason being is that a lot of the formats being utilized and the language being used was outdated.”
“For myself, I grew up abroad, and it was very strange to turn on the TV (in Angola) and see that the way people talk on TV is not the way that I talk, it’s not the way that people on the street talked and it was almost like it was two different worlds ... my intention was to bridge that gap,” said Du.
“People spent time a lot of time watching foreign television … while it’s a good thing that people have access to satellite and more information, at the same time we are losing appreciation for things to do with our own culture.”
The artiste, who was already well-known in the country for his eclectic musical inspiration and overseas upbringing, was challenged by a local Angola TV station to make local TV “sexy” for the younger generation.
The results of that challenge exceeded even the wildest of his expectations, with his Emmy nods and Seoul Drama Awards win, Du’s work has received international recognition and has gone on air across Angola, Portugal, Cape Verde and Mozambique.
By Julie Jackson (email@example.com