CHENNAI: Her songs are full of poetry; rhymes and music give her courage to face challenges. Meet Erika Lernot, a French West Indies-based vocalist who’ll be performing at the Phoenix Marketcity this weekend. City Express caught up with the singer who’ll be sharing the stage as lead vocalist along with the Indo-French band Emergence.
“Music is the love of my life,” claims the singer, whose first performance was 10 years ago at a bar in Paris. Since then, she has travelled and performed in some of the most famous stages in Paris including Olympia, New Morning and Hotel de Ville. “I am from Martinique. Though I’ve always been fond of the Caribbean beats, growing up in a cosmopolitan city like Paris gave me a chance to explore other styles like jazz, hip-hop, oriental and soul,” she shares.
Her music — an amalgamation of the new generation and the traditional music from French Caribbean islands — will be fun and groovy, says Erika. “Music is universal and has a lot of emotions. So, when you get the right groove, it becomes more enjoyable. That’s what I want to deliver to the audience,” she explains.
Erika will be performing with Mischo (bass), Romain (drums) and Shanks (guitar). “I used to work with a line of Jazz musicians. It’s beautiful to meet new people and share knowledge. I am glad I’ll be performing with Emergence this time!” she says.
Does she like Indian music? “Oh! I love Indian music and in fact, I have added some flute tunes in one of my new songs,” she smiles. Working on her second composition, Erika shares that the music will be about world realisation and will include English tracks. “All my songs are about love, hopefulness, unity and lost worlds. This time it’s about a new consciousness in the world,” she adds.
Pondy Vibes in city
The violin is not an instrument you would usually associate with a band. But that’s exactly what Frenchman David Wacheux plays in the band Pondy Vibes, along with Rahul Gopal on the drums and Matt Littlewood on the keyboard. The band will also be performing at Phoenix as a part of the French Market over the weekend. “The violin is used in films and classical music, and people can relate to it. Sometimes I play the piano and saxophone too,” says David.
Tracing his Indian journey that began 14 years ago, David says he’s played in all across the country including cities like Mumbai, Kolkata, and Bengaluru — and he’s even worked for the AR Rahman Foundation in Chennai! “The music scene is good here, people are very interested. So it’s good to play in Chennai,” he smiles.
David says musicians playing together need to have a good connection — they need to have the same mood and rhythm. “I have played with Indian musicians who play the tabla and sitar — it was a great experience,” he recalls.
David settled down in Puducherry a few years ago and “the best part about it is the mix of French and Indian influences,” he says. “I named the band Pondy Vibes due to the mood of its city, its mixed culture, the French colonies which help us play different styles of music.”