Break down the barriers and explore Pierpoljak

Award-winning French singer Pierpoljak was in August treated with a 16 track best of compilation spanning over his more than 15 years in the music business, which includes more than ten albums.

The Best of Pierpoljak includes songs from six of his sets – Pierpoljak, Kingston Karma, Je fais c’que j’veux, Stim Turban, Je Blesserai personne and Légendaire Sérénade, which was released only last year. Three of these albums were recorded together with Jamaican producer and musician Clive Hunt.

Pierpoljak has actually worked extensively with several prominent Jamaican musicians over the years, including Dean Fraser, Leroy ”Horsemouth” Wallace and Earl ”Chinna” Smith. In 2007 he also put out Tuff Gong Blues, an album that included combinations with numerous contemporary Jamaican singers and deejays.

Nearly half of the new compilation consists of songs from his breakthrough set Kingston Karma released in 1998. It was supposedly a commercial success with hit songs such as Pierpoljak and Je sais pas jouer, a single that sold more than a million copies.

Even though Pierpoljak has recorded in English this album is sung almost exclusively in French. His biggest hits are also in French, and that is probably why he is well-known in France and other French speaking countries, while rather unknown in the rest of the world.

He has a soft voice and a smooth tone that flows effortlessly over the one drop riddims. Lyrically he deals with politics, injustice, love and relationships.

Since this is a best of album there are several highlights. Some of these include the hip-hop tinged combination with Blackman titled Petite luminosité, Je sais pas jouer with its swirling saxophone solo and Maman, where he sings in a Gyptian-like nasal tone.

Some artists keep within their mother tongue when it comes to lyrics and information. Though French is a global language, keeping away from English can still leave some barriers when it comes to reaching a truly global audience.

Pierpoljak is one such artist, and living proof that it is certainly worthwhile for reggae fans to make an effort to explore music behind those barriers.

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