Marvin: By Marvin

January 19, 2016


Island Cadence

Listening Post 30. Zouk emerged in Guadeloupe and Martinique as a carnival-beat music style, but in recent years it has taken on a more sensual cadence, conducive to slower dancing and love songs. It has also transcended its Caribbean origins, attracting artists without island roots. The singer-songwriter Marvin Yesso is a case in point. Son of a French mother and an Ivoirian father, he grew up in small-town Brittany. Despite an early preference for soul—his mother named him after Marvin Gaye—his career took off after a producer invited him to record some zouk tracks. On his fourth album, he combines previous hits and new compositions, all with spare keyboard/drum arrangements; in addition to Marvin’s French lyrics, most songs also include a single verse in Antillean Creole. Marionette (Puppet) is a quest to forget: “Out of my life, out of my head!” he pleads, “Round and round I go/Your memory’s a thread.” In Ne t’en va pas (Don’t Go), he pairs with the zouk diva Kim (Almarcha): “I need you in my life so much,” they sing. “Let’s give it one more chance.” Other standouts on the 15-track disc are Est-ce que tu viens? (Will You come?) and Amour Sans Loi (No Rules in Love), a hymn to romance without racial or religious boundaries. When it comes to crossing frontiers, Marvin has the password. (Opus Music/Wagram Music)





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