Under the cherry blossom with Parisian artist Oko Ebombo

The musician, photographer, filmmaker, and performance artist visits Japan in his video for ‘Iro’

Oko Ebombo is a multi-disciplinary artist and Dazed 100 graduate. Raised in the 10th arrondissement of Paris, Ebombo’s first creative forays were in the world of dance, but his artistic practise extends to music (with his band 19), photography (he recently held an exhibition titled Okosexuel), and film (his Vizioneer project produces short films using a Super 8 camera). Ebombo was the subject of Spring Comes, a documentary by Samuel Rixon that followed the polymath’s determination to perform with 19 in the aftermath of the November 2015 terror attacks in Paris.

19’s style mixes soul, jazz, R&B, poetry, and movement, with Ebombo’s distinctive voice and unique aesthetic sensibility tying the strands together. Alongside Ebombo, the group’s fluctuating lineup today features fellow Parisians Clément Loubens and Daniel Malet and performers from New York and Tokyo. 19 are currently working towards their first EP, set to be titled Naked Life and featuring “Iro”, a smoky song named after the Japanese word for “colour” that you can download for free.

“I use this word to dedicate my love for the street,” Ebombo explains, “‘Iro’ is the street — the colour of the street.” The song and its new music video was written during his first visit to Japan. “When I arrived in Tokyo, it was spring — the season of the cherry blossom, ‘sakura’,” he says, “I found the title and the idea of the video right away. It’s a continuity of my first video ‘Naked Life’. It involves the street, the people, poetry, travelling, the colour, and the spring season. ‘Iro’ is all of this.”