Black Yaya
Black Yaya

Black Yaya is a new singer, songwriter, although he’s not new to the world of singer-songwriters. Indeed, he used to write, record and perform under Herman Dune. After travelling the seven seas and beyond with Herman Dune and recording more than ten albums with that band, Ivar decided he wanted to create something new so Black Yaya was born, the new moniker of Ivar.

One morning in November of 2012, David Ivar woke up with the strange feeling that he could not be in a band anymore, at least for the moment. He loved every moment he’d had shared with his friend, his brother, but he was different now. He needed to be able to speak for himself & for himself only. Something about being the voice of a band felt like he had to temper his feelings. As a band, he felt he was hiding behind a monster, but that big soft and furry monster had started to block his view a little bit, so he had to get it out of the way, at least for now.

As soon as he took the decision to take up a new name, Ivar felt a rush of inspiration and Black Yaya started moving freely. It was as if a door had opened and he was breathing the freshest air of the freshest morning he’d ever woken up to. He found himself writing about things he somehow never would have before, like strange crime situations, vengeance and betrayals (e.g. Glad Tidings, Watchman, Vigilante, Through The Deep Night), or incorporating dreams and visions into his writing (he wrote Save Them Little Children in an hallucinatory state in a hotel room in Norway). Movies like ‘Death Wish’  (Michael Winner) or ‘Night Of The Hunter’ (Charles Laughton), The Killing (Stanley Kubrick), Manhunter (Michael Mann), paintings of Hiernymus Bosch, of Marcel Duchamp, comic books like Watchmen (Alan Moore), Batman: The Court Of Owls (Scott Snyder) or Y:The Last Man (Brian K. Vaughan), or reading The Black Cat by Edgar A. Poe, The Doll by Daphne Du Maurier or The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler, or poems of Jack Kerouac (Pomes All Sizes) and Allen Ginsberg (Kaddish) were strong material in David-Ivar’s mind when he was working on his new songs.

When Ivar came up with enough songs for a complete set, without “oldies”, he started performing solo shows, with an acoustic guitar. He felt it gave him such strength, such energy, to play as a rookie, in little clubs for little money, to audiences that didn’t know any of the songs he was about to play. He loved those shows it was just like he was starting out again, with a clean slate, back at the end of the line, with a hunger to play and perform, to get to the crowd, one member of the audience at a time. Having to work his way to the end of the show, to win the show, with everything he had inside, each night felt like being reborn, learning again, fighting again, writing on the road, alone in the green room. He felt that sometimes being alone was the least lonely he’d ever been...

After a few months touring he felt it was time to record now...

For Black Yaya, David Ivar wanted to go back to recording everything himself, far from the recording facilities he had got used to with Herman Dune. He wanted to feel like he had when he was using four track tape recorders in High School, free to try anything with no pressure in terms of time spent working, or cost. His heroes were Chuck Berry, Bob Dylan and John Lennon he admired them with all his heart, they were singers, writers and guitar players, and that was all he cared for... And although it’s hard to point to anyone not influenced by these awesome names, he always felt joy bringing them up, and loved paying tribute to their impact on him. He felt they were the highest point of creativity, and that he’d better aim to the top, if one day he wanted to reach high, or at least to raise the level a little bit.

David Ivar gathered his guitar and recording equipment, mainly an Electrovoice microphone he’d got for the price of two bottles of tequila (Patron, but still), and took them to Los Angeles, California, near Malibu, where he knew he could afford a studio apartment by the ocean, at least for a few months. The songs of Black Yaya were to be recorded by himself, entirely, drums, basses, guitars, pianos, organs, harps and whatnot. Sometimes you just need to do it yourself, to dig a little bit, to speak to no one else than the microphone and the tape recorder in front of you. Although he hadn’t thought he was going to record many tracks at first, he enjoyed playing lots of instruments, and felt he was taking his songs somewhere he had never been before, maybe with less asceticism in the playing, and less conservatism in the arrangements than he used to be satisfied with.

His partner Mayon lent her voice to the tracks, and he took his recordings to a friend of his, Antoine Gaillet, who had just opened his own studio, named Goo after his favorite Sonic Youth album for the mixing. He shared the new sounds and songs for the first time there. After a week or so in the studio working on the final mix, he felt it was ready, ready to go.

The forthcoming, eponymous self-titled record is the only official collection of Black Yaya songs known to date and will be available on March 2nd via City Slang. The initial limited vinyl edition will come with a bonus 7“ including 3 unreleased songs.

Whether it be the funk-fuelled grooves of ‘Glad Tidings’, the upbeat harmonica-notes on ‘Watchman’ or the mellow tones of ‘Through The Deep Note’ the debut LP from Black Yaya is packed with catchy pop-folk soaked tracks that makes the album so easy on the ear and marks a new and exciting step for David Ivar.