Plézi Bèlè Brings Martinican Folk Music Into the 21st Century
Jacques Bajal is alive, but not like you and me. His every movement, everything he says and how he says it, the entire essence of his being – all of it is punctuated with passion, ebullience, love. He is the walking embodiment of joie de vivre. There is no megawatt measure for his smile.
The joy that Jacques spreads flows from his love for his home island, Martinique. He embodies the full richness of her vibrancy in all that he is and does. To me, he is Mr. Martinique.
Now, I know all this about Jacques because, well…we’re friends. We met during one of my earliest trips to Martinique and worked together promoting tourism to the island for several years.
These days, though, it doesn’t take years of friendship to become entranced by Jacques’ boundless passion for Martinique. All you need to do is listen to Plézi Bèlè.
Musical Journey to the Heart of Martinique
Loosely translated, Plézi Bèlè means the pleasure of listening to Bèlè, Martinique’s legendary folk music. It’s an exceedingly apt title for Jacques’ debut album, which he released in late-2020 under his stage name, Jaki Bajal.
Like the man himself, Jacques’ music is buoyant, lively, and utterly smile-inducing. It’s firmly rooted in traditional Bèlè, though seasoned sweetly with modern instruments and recording elements. In this way, Plézi Bèlè brings Bèlè into the 21st century making one of the richest aspects of Martinican culture fresh for a new generation.
Take a listen to track 12, Manzè Afiyo, to get a taste…
If that doesn’t move you, both emotionally and physically, then you may need to check your pulse!
Yes, Jacques Bajal is my friend. Yes, I am biased. At the same time, though, I honestly just LOVE Plézi Bèlè.
Each song takes me to Martinique. Not solely in a way that brings back great memories of all my amazing adventures there either. Indeed, Plézi Bèlè opens a window for me into the soul of Martinique, deepening my love for this special place in ways I never thought imaginable.
Buy Plézi Bèlè!
Trust me, you need to add Plézi Bèlè to your music collection. The album is available across all major online music streaming services. Here are a few links to make it easy for you…