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05 December 2006

African Rockers : In French

I Discover a Parisian ROLLING STONE:

Shopping the book corners in resale shops, at least here in Canada, serves as a substitute for loading up on magazines and pulp. Keeping up through periodicals like Rolling Stone, the Village Voice or Liberation and local cultural rags becomes too expensive (in print versions)for most of us (except for an occasional splurge in an airport boutique when on a long trip).

Then there is the Internet.

What is surprising though is that in Montreal the secondhand market is good for finding titles on popular culture. I do not mean the latest issues of magazines because most of these go into recycle bins at curbside in the weekly pick-up (or so it seems). I mean the things like the book I found for $2 yesterday: Helene Lee. Rockers d'Afrique, Paris; Albin Michel, 1988. ISBN: 2226031391

Francophone 'fusion' and rock musicians from French West Africa make Montreal a regular stop on their tours, especially for the Nuits d'Afrique Festival. But unlike the spoken artists of the white-bread North American stripe, fusion and world beats do not set up lit tables at the door and sell both CDs and print material (only the CD is hyped at these venues). We become familiar with the sound but not the background . . unless . .

. . . we pick up what we can in the used bookstores and the recycle shops. Once we discover a book or magazine with a good article (which is always better than the local coverage in the dailies) we can even start building a library with quality and focus without spending a wasted fortune on hit-and-miss purchases.

Quoted below is the Wikipedia entry for the author of the book I found yesterday. Even though 'my' title is 8 years old, Wiki alerts me that Helene Lee came out with a title (2005) in English that is a must read: The First Rasta: Leonard Howell and the Rise of Rastafarianism as well as another (2004) in French that I have to get my hand on: Voir Trenchtown et Mourir or I will be the one who "dies" WITHOUT SEEING Trenchtown.

Helene Lee is a French journalist specialized in Jamaican and West African music.

She started as a journalist in 1979 for Libération and was one of the first to defend the world music in France.
Her early works on African artists helped establish artist like Salif Keita , Alpha Blondy, Ray Lema or Tiken Jah Fakoly. She has published different books related to the Jamaican culture contributing to the development of the reggae music in France and is considered as an expert of the rasta culture. Other works include documentaries and translations.

She took her name after her wedding with a rasta from Negril, Joseph Lee.

Lee, Helene (1988). Rockers d'Afrique: Stars et Légendes du Rock Mandingue. Albin Michel, France. ISBN 2-226-03139-1.

Lee, Helene (1999). Le Premier Rasta. Flammarion, France. ISBN 2-08-067540-0.

Lee, Helene, Davis, Stephen (foreword) (2005). The First Rasta: Leonard Howell and the Rise of Rastafarianism. Chicago Review Press, USA. ISBN 1-55652-558-3.

Lee, Helene (2004). Voir Trenchtown et Mourir. Flammarion, France. ISBN 2-08-068405-1.

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