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David Cairol visits Hope Road

FRENCH reggae singer David Cairol credits one of his friends for introducing him to reggae. Cairol is currently in the island promoting his latest single Hope Road.

“It was a mistake by a friend of mine that made me discover reggae, but we finally know that everything has its reason and its season,” Cairol told the Jamaica Observer.

“I was going on a trip with my school and my good friend brought me back my Lenny Kravitz cassette that I lent him a few weeks earlier. We jumped on the bus [that was leading us to England], and I put the tape in my Walkman radio. When I heard the first song, it was not

Lenny Kravitz, and I asked him who it was. It was Bob Marley, and that moment changed my life forever. His music gave me goosebumps immediately and it was so powerful,” Cairol explained.

Cairol bought several Marley albums and later discovered the music of Dennis Brown, Culture, The Gladiators, the Kingstonians, and the Wailing Souls.

“I was listening to a lot of rap and soul music but after discovering reggae, I got hooked onto it,” said Cairol.

The 42-year-old Cairol is from Basque Country in south-west France. He grew up between the cities of Bayonne and Anglet. He described the current reggae music scene in France.

“It's pretty big. We have a lot of really good artists in France, and also several reggae festivals. There are several venues which have added reggae on their line-up of live performances,” he said.

Hope Road was released in December. French producer FOST whose previous credits include Skankin Sweet by Chronixx and Jamaican Boy by Lone Ranger and Risa Roche produced Hope Road.

“Hope Road is my story from I was 14 years old and from the moment I discovered reggae music until now. It is my journey to reach Jamaica as well. Hope Road is, of course, a tribute to Bob Marley and the Wailers, because of 56 Hope Road and the road that he took to get from downtown to uptown, thanks to his music, his message and his deep beliefs,” said Cairol.

He continued, “But Hope Road is also a beautiful name with real meaning for me, because Bob and reggae, in general, gave me so much hope and strength on my way. This is what guided me and kept me on the line. And this music gave so much hope all around the world. Hope is the road and it guides me, to always thinking positively.”

Cairol has worked with Jamaican producers including Sly Dunbar, Earl “Chinna” Smith and musicians such as Courtney “Bam” Diedrick (Damian Marley's drummer), Danny Bassie (Protoje), Hector “Roots Percussionist” Lewis, Paris Lamont, and Winta James.

Cairol believes it's important to promote his music in Jamaica.

“Jamaica is the root of reggae, and you need the root to grow with strength and power and spread your leaves around. I also have a special relation with Jamaica, your culture and your way of life,” he said.

Cairol is involved in a project, which will see the recreation of some of Marley's songs performed live.

“I was working with Judy Mowatt and Marcia Griffiths last year at Tuff Gong; we were working on one of the songs for Brinsley Ford's next album on which I am featured.

And the next day Judy sent me a text message telling me that she forgot to tell me there was a project recreating Bob Marley live versions in studio and that she wanted to introduce me to the producer from Holland, Peter Wezenbeek.

I then contacted the producer, did some demos and it seems I was the one he was looking for. I recorded all the tracks during the summer in Amsterdam.”

He added, “The project features original musicians from The Wailers, Judy, and Marcia as well, Shema McGregor, Aston Barrett Junior, and other musicians from all around the world.”

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