If you still haven’t bought your tickets to Temptation Island, now is probably a good time. Tickets are being sold in Saint Lucia, in neighbouring islands and in most of the French-speaking Caribbean. And just in case you haven’t heard, French superstar Kalash will be headlining the event on July 1.
Needless to say, he couldn’t have come at a more opportune time. 2017 has seen the resurrection of nightlife in Saint Lucia. If promoters haven’t already latched onto luxury lifestyle partying themes with fetes at least EC$100 a pop, then they’re taking their followers to hidden locations around the island for exclusive outdoors parties, while everyone else rides the Soleil train, which is jam-packed with events through to the end of the year.
Temptation Island, featuring Kalash whose single ‘Taken’ just went gold in France, is set to be epic. Notably, Kalash is the first since Kassav to achieve the feat, and the industry is watching. Since his breakout on the entertainment scene, he’s been called “The Weeknd of the Caribbean”, or “Vybz Karlel en Francais”, but the truth is he’s already carved out his own identity, and his passion speaks volumes on boundless capability. And we’ve already been fortunate to see some of his talent come to life, with an extensive list of tracks available for listening on video and music-sharing websites across the globe.
A journey with Kevin Valleray, the artiste popularly known as Kalash, takes you through tunes like ‘Moments gâchés’ ft. Satori, ‘Danje’, and ‘Rouge et bleu’ ft. Booba, the latter with over 26 million views on Youtube. If you’d felt the need to resort to translation sources, or tap into your Saint Lucian Creole heritage to decipher the true meaning behind songs like ‘Taken’, you’d have also found that translating is largely unnecessary; the rhythmic sensuality of the song speaks for itself.
In the event you weren’t able to help yourself, you’d have found that ‘Taken’ speaks of love, loss, and a woman he’s never gotten over whom he tries to free from a potentially abusive relationship. Even more popular, ‘Free Me’ tells of the struggles faced by young men raised in the street life, while his track ‘Bando’, which has for months been on repeat here in Saint Lucia, comes with interpretations from his Youtube fans: “For everyone who doesn’t speak Creole or doesn’t understand, Kalash says in this video that he prefers the music which chose him, to the street. That he does not want to die in a squat, that he does not want to be like his friends who died or went to prison because of drugs. The cowl does not make the monk; understand the lyrics before judging.”
His bona fide lyrics are comparable to the likes of other big name Dancehall stars and, fortunately, the raw and real bits aren’t lost with the language barrier. Of course, even when you do find English variations on Youtube, which are available, they don’t have quite the same feel as the original!
‘Neo’ rides along on a trap beat, then there’s ‘Après l’automne’, which literally translates to ‘After the Fall’. Among the more notable is ‘Traka’, which again speaks of tribulations of the street. An except from the song: “As the seasons pass in the West Indies, it smells of trouble./We’re closeted; we make music of loss and anger. Listen to my struggles./ My life is dirty and rough everyday. I think it will all come back around. I hear the misery.”
He speaks of a system that will “kill you at will”, and of dark nights and crimes never solved. “I give more facts about the French West Indies than the news.”
Within his lyrics are the realities of a hard life, not masked by the superficial: “Santa Claus coming to the house, no, it’s never happened. If I get a gift, it’s from my mother.”
Kalash has seen successes across the region and his popularity continues to soar. So far he’s succeeded at connecting the French-speaking Caribbean including Haiti, Guadeloupe, Martinque, French Guiana, and even Saint Lucia, through his music. Surely, his progress has not gone unnoticed by fans and, like he says in the song ‘Après l’automne’, “What I call fruits of labour, is what you call chance.”
Also performing at Temptation Island on July 1 will be Jean Atem and Rayvon, Mac 11, The Reckless Gang, and other scorching talent from Saint Lucia. Tickets at $100 for general admission and $300 for VIP are available from The Cell (all outlets) Steve’s Barbershop and Cool Runnings.