Born in 1966 in Fort-de-France, Martinique, and brought up in metropolitan France, Wilfrid (Willy) Vertueux received an education from his parents that kept alive his connection to Caribbean roots. It is thus with a knowing smile that he readily endorses that term all too often used pejoratively- ‘négropolitain’. Trained as a visual designer at Paris’s Arts Appliqués de la Rue Olivier de Serres (ENSAAMA) and at Arts Décoratifs de Paris (ENSAD), Wilfrid has, since 1994, been a freelance graphic designer and illustrator in the fields of publishing, media, visual identity and advertising. Informed by his passion for the image in the broadest sense of the term, his mastery of typography, intuitive understanding of iconographic relationships in modern visual culture, and creative photographic work, he declares himself a ‘multitasking visual designer’. Immersed in music from a young age due to his Caribbean upbringing, Willy also adroitly manages a double life as an internationally leading Latin music DJ. Ever since first acing the turntables in 1987 at the Montecristo Café in the City of Light, and later, as founding member of the Paris DJ Collective Papas DJs and as the second half of the Duo, ‘Devils and Angels’, he has been resident DJ at Paris’s most fabled clubs; he also travels every weekend to play at salsa festivals in Europe and beyond. Despite his constant demand at cross-body salsa events, he can play all types of Latin music, Antillean genres (zouk and kompa) and the Angolan kizomba and semba, depending on the crowd and its taste. ‘There are more bad DJs making wrong choices than bad music’, is his belief. Luckily, life sometimes brings him the opportunity to reconcile his two domains of expertise and passion. His work with Modern Moves as our resident DJ and design consultant is a perfect illustration.
Our fifth Moving Group was dedicated to an exploration of tango music and dance, and it involved a double bill. First, we heard Dr Kendra Stepputat, ethnomusicologist from the University…