Audrey Bakrude, rock star who unites a nation

A Suriname’s Global Stars Column By Sabrina Zondervan

PARAMARIBO–Not one stereotype associated with celebrities matches Audrey Bakrude. The paparazzi plaster the newspaper with pictures of her coming out of posh shops, but she isn’t Suriname’s Paris Hilton. On the contrary, Audrey’s a rather sweet, humble and radiant person who seems almost naïve to her superstardom. “People don’t run up to me in the street when they see me, probably because the rock genre isn’t really popular yet in Suriname. Rock listeners are often stereotyped as depressed, suicidal, or as being part of sects,” the lead singer of rock band Apoplectic explains. But her newfound fame may be changing all of that soon.

The hit compilation, I Love Su, which also features Surinamese rappers Enver & Kolonel has brought Bakrude’s dynamic voice and pretty face instant popularity. The catchy tune was number one on radio hit charts for weeks; its video continues to draw international fans on YouTube. It has unintentionally showcased the nation’s patriotic feelings and brought worldwide attention to the growing number of musical artists from Suriname. Audrey never expected it to be such a big hit. “I listened to the beat 10 minutes before the recording,” she admits timidly. Still she felt inspired enough to come up with the opening lyrics and a chorus on the spot, moved to sing them in English. “All I ever wanted us to be (wan Sranan) a place for you and me…” Rapper Enver Panka follows her lyrics with a rap interlude, (translated from Dutch and Sranang Tongo to English):

“My land is blessed and wealthy, Although it looks poor when i look around, But I don’t worry, it doesn’t matter, Suriname is still the great country I love, I’m proud to live here, I’m here to stay, A lot of relaxation and things to experience, Although the politics can be a little messy, still I’ll remain here, Because my love for this country is unique.”

When asked if she really does love Su, Bakrude replies categorically: “Of course! There are negative things about Su but they all fall away for me. Suriname is such a beautiful country with so many beautiful people. Sometimes when I’m on the street, surrounded by all of the sights, smells and things I love, I have a moment where I really feel – this is why I’m in Suriname.” Unlike many of her peers, she doesn’t view leaving Suriname as an opportunity. “Here you are a person, there you are a number.”

Bakrude, 27, began her calling as a singer with high school girl band, Innosinned in 2000. She gravitated towards rock although her love of music doesn’t discriminate; she appreciates it in all forms and varieties. Audrey never had vocal lessons but when Apoplectic’s lead singer went to Holland in 2002, the band recruited her.

“We started as a cover band because at the time, Suriname wasn’t ready for their “own” compositions.” She occasionally writes songs in Dutch, but has only recorded in English and Spanish to date. In 2009, Apoplectic came out with the Spanish song, Solamente Contigo.  The band’s main goal is to define rock music in Suriname; currently the band is recording its first album, with hopes to bring it out this year.

For Audrey, who is also a painter, pencil sketcher, and swimmer, she says;  “I don’t have any particular plans, but things are becoming more accessible since I Love Su’s success. “ I plan to use my new network to further develop my professional music career. I have learned in the last few years not to hold on to what I have or don’t have, everything comes to you when you’re ready to receive it, so be open to it when it comes,” she says.