French artists MC Solaar, Hyphen Hyphen and Bon Entendeur celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Fête de la Musique in New York’s Central Park on Tuesday.
The concert was part of the France Rocks Summer Fest, a month-long celebration of French music taking place in New York City this month, the largest French music festival in the United States.
French rap megastar Claude M’Barali, aka MC Solaar, surrounded by the New Big Band Project, an ensemble of choirs, brass, strings and drums delighted a thousand fans who danced in the rain during the free concert also organized by the Alliance of French Institutes French.
“It’s incredible, fantastic. It’s the homeland of my musical genre so it’s a great joy”, explained MC Solaar before going on stage for this New York version of the French version. Music Festivalcreated in 2017.
“New York is called Mecca, Harlem is Medina and Brooklyn is Mecca”, whispers the French artist and poet, born in 1969 in Dakar to Chadian parents, who in 30 years has become an icon of music and song and the precursor of rap in France.
For the composer and musician, known for his sophisticated literary texts, his puns and his groove and jazz musical influences, the New York megalopolis remains the “place of origin” of his art.
“Every time I meet an American artist or have the chance to cross the Atlantic, something happens. It’s as if I were making a pilgrimage”, said the author of “Qui sème le vent reap the tempo”, his triumphant first album. in 1991, which, 30 years later, was still heating up Central Park on Tuesday night.
MC Solaar, however, denies that he “does American rapping”.
“We managed to develop something uniquely French”, explained the man who built his reputation in the United States by collaborating with the American rapper who died in 2010, Keith Edward Elam, alias “Guru” of the duo Gang Starr.
Also attracted by the sounds and lights of New York, the young electronic pop rock trio Hyphen Hyphen say they have “always dreamed of playing in America”.
Formed right out of high school in Nice (south-eastern France) in 2011, Hyphen Hyphen sings in English, a “universal” language, and has already forged an international reputation.
“We were immersed in this culture of American music […] we’ve always looked in that direction,” say Samanta Cotta, Laura Christin and Romain Adamo, citing the influence of British and American rock bands Supertramp, Fleetwood Mac and Talking Heads.
For their latest album, they wrote two tracks with six-time Grammy-winning American producer Glen Ballard, who performed with them in Central Park and praised their “energy” and “seriousness”.
Members of the electro mixtape group Bon Entendeur, hailing from Aix-en-Provence in southeastern France, Pierre Della Monica, Arnaud Bonet and Nicolas Boisseleau are also “thrilled” with their very first performance in New York, ” a symbol all over the world”. “.