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French DJ productive in Jamaica
published: Sunday | May 4, 2008

Bob Sinclar may take time to smell the roses, but he worked hard in the studio while in Jamaica.
RIGHT: Christopher Martin was one of the persons Rodney Hill selected to work with Sinclar.

Krista Henry, Staff Reporter

Grammy-nominated French record producer, house music DJ, remixer and owner of the Yellow Productions label Bob Sinclar has turned his hand to working with Jamaican artistes.

The famous French producer was recently in Jamaica working alongside prominent young local talent. Although unknown to most Jamaicans, Sinclar's presence is felt on the international scene. Born Christophé Le Friant, at 18 years old Sinclar started deejaying in the 1980s, specialising in funk and hip-hop music. Sinclar had his first club hit with Gym Tonic and is famous for popularising the 'French touch' of house music.


Le Friant has worked under many pseudonyms, including The Mighty Bop and Reminiscence Quartet, under which he has dabbled in hip-hop and acid jazz. He also created the Africanism project, through which an ensemble of artistes produced house music with a combination of Latin, jazz and African. His 2005 hit reggae- inspired song Love Generation, featuring Jamaican Gary Pine, was a huge anthem throughout Europe.

The Sunday Gleaner caught up with Sinclar via email and he described his experience in Jamaica.

He said: "I came to Jamaica for the first time last year in March to shoot a video for the song Sound of Freedom and I fell in love with the country and the welcome of the people, I could feel the 'vibe'. The talent was everywhere, I met amazing persons like Robert Livingston, Steve Wilson, Farenheit, Sean Paul, Shaggy, who told me that I had to come to record some stuff here."

While here, Sinclar decided to try a different genre of music for the summer and so returned a month ago to work alongside new artistes. Sinclar recorded with the likes of Tony Rebel, Queen Ifrica, Christopher Martin and youngster QQ. He worked alongside Rodney Hill, owner of RHH Music Corp, who handpicked these artistes to explore new avenues with Sinclar.

Setting the trend

Hill told The Sunday Gleaner that "Bob Sinclar usually comes with something different every time he comes out with music, always setting the trend, and it was my job to handpick each artiste to fit what style Sinclar was looking for on each particular track. I knew I wanted a bit of change for Sinclar, with a little old to new generation. Queen Ifrica, I really loved her style, presence and image; Tony Rebel, I had known from when I worked with Supercat so that was an easy pick; Christopher Martin I knew had that voice which Sinclar would love and the fact that he was young and fresh; and QQ is an incredible talent and just was a perfect fit". They also worked with other artistes.

According to Sinclar, the vibe while in the studio was amazing and exactly what he was searching for. This is, hopefully, the beginning of his work with reggae and dancehall entertainers. "I can't wait to come back. Of course I didn't finish the sessions and I have a lot of ideas. It's the beginning. I would love to do something with Sean Paul," he said.

Love for Jamaica

Sinclar's love for Jamaica has roots that go back many years. "I started as a hip-hop DJ in Paris and I discovered that all the New York City DJs at the beginning of the '70s used to imitate the Jamaican DJs to create their own and this is how the hip-hop was born. Jamaica is where everything happened for the sound system and the birth of DJ, the culture, a long time ago. The vibe you can feel in the Jamaican vocal is so special and unique. I will always remember the time when I was in New York at the beginning of 2005 in studio and Gary Pine (former lead singer of the Wailers) came in. I like to try different things but I didn't know what to do with him and the idea came to do a ballad on a dance acoustic guitar track and it became the huge anthem Love Generation," he said.

Not wanting to discuss the genre of music that he was producing while in Jamaica, Sinclar said that for the future he was focused on working on a number of different tracks but hoped to continue meeting new people who would "carry my music at the top of the chart ... To meet musicians, singers who gave me their soul and their talent to reach that point".

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