Guadeloupe | 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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Album review: The Beautiful Side Of A Kreyol Folk Trip, Stevy Mahy

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I introduced Stevy Mahy and her music to you several months ago, with a very interesting interview, which you can read here. She was talking about her upcoming album at the time, and it’s now out! The Beautiful Side Of A Kreyol Folk Trip is available on The Beautiful Side of a Kreyol Folk Trip - Stevy Mahy and it has been on heavy rotation here since I got it. It is definitely one of the most beautiful albums of 2010 for me. Here is why…

When I discovered Stevy Mahy a few years ago, I immediately felt a connection with her, I could relate to her music and the feelings she was expressing. She seemed to spread messages I was meant to hear, lyrics that would heal me and soothe me. What I now feel with this album is exactly the same way I did when I first heard Stevy’s voice: it’s like I’ve listened to it before, it sounds so familiar I was surprised at first. I had heard some of the songs before, but the main impression I had was that the album had been there already, waiting for me to get re-acquainted with it. It may sound foolish but there is something about it that draws me in, a strange attraction I am completely unwilling to fight. Strangely enough the first song of the album, one of my favourites, describes this feeling perfectly. Something about you is dedicated to the man she met and who made her feel feel ‘brand-new’, while giving her this feeling they had met before, maybe in another life. I am sure many of you have experienced this kind of situation and can relate to it in the same way I can.

This ‘Kreyol Folk Trip’ definitely has a beautiful side, even if the word seems a bit too weak to describe it sometimes. From the very smooth and soothing melodies to Stevy’s angelic voice, everything makes you feel welcome and enticed to join the lady on her journey through love. The main theme of the album is indeed this great feeling, whether it is for a man, humanity, or God. Mixing English, Creole and French, Stevy describes how love for a man can make you go through different stages, from pure bliss (Something about you, Divine magic joy, Beautiful) to heartbreak and pain (Falling in love again, What’s going on? and Mon coeur mon ange). She also inspires her fellow Earth dwellers to keep their heads up and smile, not to forget that their own happiness is within reach (‘Dry your eyes, you’re way too blessed to cry’, Yenki pou vou) and she urges them to be themselves, to avoid being disctracted by superficial and ephemeral bright lights (‘When the show stops, make sure you’re still real’, Fame is gone). Finally, she expresses her gratitude for the Most High (‘I don’t know life without you, cos you print your name in my soul’), declaring ‘I don’t wanna be by myself without your love’ in the beautiful Shine on me.

Besides the great lyrics and inspiring messages, what really makes me feel so comfortable and touches me deeply is the wonderful productions and vocals. Most of the songs are a beautiful blend of different instruments, with an acoustic feeling which is, as you may know by now something I admire. The common feature on most of the songs is the guitar, but there is a variety of other instruments, from the piano to the violin, steel pan and drums that create a very emotional dimension and touches your soul. Stevy’s voice definitely has the same effect and makes me wonder about the awesomeness of being able to move someone through this instrument. I found myself with a wide grin on my face and goose-bumps while listening to the delicate, angelic sonorities. The combination of all these elements make The Beautiful Side Of A Kreyol Folk Trip an album I will listen to on a regular basis, probably at least once a day as I have been doing since I got it. Something I also need to mention is how grateful I am for Stevy to introduce me to AB‘s amazing voice, with Falling in love again. The singer is the only guest of the album and his style, a mixture of D’angelo and Bilal’s with his own, personal twist once again sounds familiar. AB has already been added to my list of artists whose music I need to discover and get even more familiar with.

If you are in need of musical healing, beauty and inspiration, I would highly recommend you discover The Beautiful Side Of A Kreyol Folk Trip, I can guarantee you won’t regret it. It is one of those treats you give to your ears, your heart and your soul. It is an album you need in your life, quite simply!

Here is a little update, with a beautiful gift from Stevy… This is the brand-new video for Something about you, definitely one of my favourites on the album. The video makes it even better and really makes me want to travel to amazing Guadeloupe, as well as find someone to say those words to… Enjoy!

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