With two new albums, Roots and Nations, world music artist Gerard Emilien is refining his musical identity. With the debut release of Rêves (Dreams) artist Gerard Emilien showcased songwriting equal to the many destinations around the world he has had the pleasure to call home. Now, with the simultaneous availability of Roots and Nations-two brand new collections-Emilien is further clarifying and deepening his global sound. The twelve tracks on Roots, matched by another dozen on Nations, reveal an increasingly seamless blend between the music of the artist's Mauritius tropical island roots, and the European and American pop influences absorbed throughout his life's travels. Composed by an artist for whom sense of place is central to creativity, Nations and Roots are aptly named. Emilien, now a permanent Parisian, lived in four other nations before settling in France. As he has traveled abroad, so has the music he's heard along the way, traveled deeply to his core. And so Emilien proffers a sound as richly seasoned with the rhythms of Sega-the exuberant folk music of his youth-as it is with the melodic and harmonic development of the best of British pop. Somewhere in between those poles, lives the soulful American influence. In the best of Emilien's music-as in the title track of Nations, a French-language meditation about life on relatively tiny Mauritius-the artist arrives at a perfect synthesis of all the influences he's been touched by. There you will hear the folkloric island contribution, though now completely re-imagined, featuring seductive sitar riffs. Emilien also turns to India (and likely George Harrison) for inspiration on "Divali" and Roots' "Inner Understanding", masterful sonic concoctions with Sega elements, Indian percussion, and the insistent drive of pop rock. From the lusty reggae-infused steamer "Zaffaire Là" on Nations, to the haunting international pop ballad "Life" featured midway through Roots, Emilien successfully spans the world's rhythmic and emotional spectrums.
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