French West Indies | The Wonderful World of Carminelitta

Newness for your ears: Chayé Kow, Érik

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Cover artwork for Chayé Kow

I have been meaning to update the blog for a while now… In the same way as life is made of ups and downs, my levels of motivation and inspiration have this way of taking rollercoaster rides, creating severe inconsistency. While listening to the album I am about to write about today, I felt a desire to share. Again. At last. Add a friendly but firm virtual kick in the ass (thanks Keisha ;)) and you get a blog post. Hooray!
While this album is not “recent” by any musical industry standard (which I couldn’t care less about), it is new to my ears and probably many of yours. Hence its presence on the blog in my regular “Newness for your ears” category. Released in 2009, Chayé Kow has this type of timeless sound that makes it enjoyable from the day of its release till… infinity? I can’t vouch for that just now, but I can say that 5 years after it came out, it pleases my ears and that is all that matters to me. I actually first heard about French singer Érik several months before he finally released the album and it was beautiful to witness his journey from new, young artist with an innovative sound to well-known personality in the West Indies (he is hailing from the beautiful island of Guadeloupe) and mainland France. The first songs I heard, sometimes accompanied with beautiful videos, are present on Chayé Kow, making the album slightly familiar at first listen. While a couple of those tracks (On bel jouné and Si ou pa la) remain my favourites, all the ones I discovered were pleasant surprises and made my ears and my soul happy. Overall, the project is a comprehensive introduction to Érik’s universe and a lovely musical journey into his various influences. Singing both in Kréyol and in French, the young man tells us about love, loss and growth, among other topics. In addition to his extremely appealing voice and well-written, heartfelt lyrics, the other strong point of the album is undoubtedly the music. From delicate strings to uplifting percussions and compelling bass and piano, all the instruments appeal to my ears in various ways and each song creates a different atmosphere, allowing me to experience a wide range of feelings. 
Parler de tout ça, specifically, is an emotional tale about the struggles you can encounter in a relationship and, while I didn’t experience anything similar myself, I can’t help but be touched by the quality of Érik’s words and delivery. Another favourite, the closing track, Viré tombé, is an hypnotic number that deeply touches me and entices me to vibrate to the rhythm of the percussions. Quite a wonderful way to end this listening experience and leave listeners enthralled!
As a conclusion to this short presentation, I would like to say that Chayé Kow is one of those albums that seduce me as soon as the first notes of the first song are heard and it will most definitely be listened to on a regular basis. In case you didn’t listen to it when it was released, as was the case for me, don’t fret: music like this is a gift that you receive whenever you are ready. I know I was and it came into my life at the perfect time.

PS. His new album, École créole, was released last year. I have yet to listen to it but I will most probably keep you updated once I do.

Now that you know a little bit more about Érik and Chayé Kow, I invite you to discover the whole album on iTunes (or other various digital music stores). If by any chance you still need convincing, watch the two videos below, for Si ou pa la and Chayé kow, very different but equally beautiful tracks that give you an idea of the variety of sounds and atmospheres you can find on the album. Enjoy and please share!

Find out more about Érik on his website, Facebook & Twitter

French touch: Le Voyage, Erika Lernot

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Cover artwork for Le Voyage by Erika Lernot

Today being summer solstice and the “longest day” of the year, which means more time for you to listen to and enjoy some beautiful music, I thought it was a good time to update the blog with some goodness. Additionally, today is a special day in France, as well as in several countries around the world, where the “fête de la musique” is celebrated. This celebration, initially launched in France in the 1980s has become a very important event for unscrupulous promoters, bar or restaurant owners music lovers. Even though I am not one to celebrate “commercial” holidays and never need a special day to tell people I love them or enjoy some music, I think it can be a good way to discover new artists and support any type of musical creation. With that said, today is also a way for me to catch up on posts I have meant to feature on the blog in a (very) long time, hence this article about an album that was released in June last year. I already told you about the beautiful and talented Erika Lernot quite a while ago, when I introduced you to her debut EP Le Voyage. After this appetiser, the French singer delighted our ears with the LP of the same name. As full of lovely melodies, enchanting vocals and inspiring lyrics as the EP, Erika Lernot’s debut full-length album is simply perfect. A true “voyage” through music and an invitation to venture in unknown territories, the project is one I have listened to quite regularly since it was released and which never fails to make a smile appear on my face and my body dance to the most lively songs. More

French touch: Amazòn La, Ines Khai

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Cover artwork for Amazon La

After Stevy Mahy, Meemee Nelzy and Cilla K, I have another beautiful lady to introduce to you, who is coming from the island of Guadeloupe in the French West Indies. Ines Khai is proud of her creole origins and creates music that incorporates many influences but always stays true to her roots. While I still have to listen to her debut album BwaBwa (shame on me), I was enchanted by her brand-new offering, the extremely uplifting Amazòn La (“The Amazone”). As I could discover in her bio, the singer spent her childhood in metropolitan France but was surrounded by Creole language, music and traditions from a very early age. Her influences for her first project also included “neo-soul” and gospel, as well as “kako mizik”, a Guadeloupean genre of hip-hop she discovered thanks to DJ Phonie and Exxòs. I actually didn’t know much about “kako mizik” until recently, when I watched Meemee Nelzy’s beautiful EPK, where the genre is explained by Exxòs himself, and I recommend you give it a look.

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French Touch: Le Voyage EP, Erika Lernot

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Picture of Erika Lernot

Inspiration is such an amazing thing! I was chilling at home after a long day at work and didn’t think my evening would be very productive when I stumbled upon a link to an interview that reminded me of a project I should have listened to and purchased a while ago. Erika Lernot is a beautiful and very talented French singer I discovered many years ago on MySpace (yes… you know, when it was a great way to discover new artists) and she was among the singers I checked out regularly and whose page I visited often to listen to the music, especially the incredible La Vague, which left such an imprint on my mind I still remember about it now. Time passed and I found her again on Facebook in the past few years and even if I haven’t been following her closely, I saw links here and there that enchanted my ears (and eyes, with her latest video). This project I was talking about at the beginning of the post is her debut EP, entitled Le Voyage (the journey), which came out last October. I don’t know how I managed to miss this release but I’m glad I was able to catch up and discover this musical gem today.
Four tracks deep, the EP clearly sounds like a journey, both musically and metaphorically, as we explore different rhythms, themes and atmospheres. While Oyaya (La joie !) opens the project with tons of positive vibrations, Si je te donnais raises the levels of  energy a notch and got me to dance as if my body was possessed. I can’t dance but I still could move my body and probably invent some moves to the incredible rhythm and melody. Once again, the song is very positive and deals with a beautiful love story that transcends social status and expectations. I’m actually listening to this song right now and it’s quite fun, if only a bit difficult, to type on the laptop that is on my lap (doh!) while shaking all that I can in that position. The follow up, La dame de la mer is slightly calmer and a bit sad but incredibly beautiful and emotional, taking us on a different path and allowing Erika to explore different emotions, as well as deeper vocal ranges. Finally, we can enjoy Les jours d’été (summer days) with a lovely and once again uplifting song where the singer reminisces over those special moments when she can simply enjoy life, the sun and a somewhat slower pace. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the incredible talent of Siam Lee, Erika’s composer and guitarist, who provides the excellent musical background to this gorgeous project.
As I am on my third listen, I can feel my mood getting better and better every time and I have a feeling this EP will be all I listen to tonight, while smiling hard, dreaming, dancing and simply loving life.

To give you an idea of what Erika Lernot’s music is all about, let me share her video for Oyaya (La joie !) with you. You’re most welcome!

Now that you are completely hooked to Erika’s beautiful voice and uplifting music, all you have to do is run to Erika Lernot or Amazon and purchase Le Voyage. I know it’s in French, but hey, music is a universal language! 

Find out more about Erika Lernot on Facebook

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