YONI ALPHA, The man “PAILLE”

MARTINIQUE

Richès Karayib Introduces Yoni Alpha, Better Known by His Artist Name “Paille” – The Man “Paille”

Paille, a masterful singer-songwriter of Reggae-Dancehall from Martinique, has made a significant mark over the past 20 years with his compelling musical narratives and vibrant performances. His career showcases a notable evolution in musical style and thematic depth. With each album and song, he brings thoughtful production and lyrical maturity, consistently addressing complex subjects with a unique artistic voice.

Throughout his illustrious career, Paille has collaborated with a broad spectrum of Caribbean talents, including legends like Kassav and contemporary stars such as Etana, Konshens, Anthony B, Meryl, Straïka D, and the notably talented DJ Avalanche. These collaborations have not only enhanced his musical repertoire but also expanded his influence across Caribbean cultures, solidifying his status as a Caribbean artist.

Join us as we delve deeper into the life and music of The Man “Paille,” who intriguingly hides behind his straw hat. Discover the significant impact he continues to have across the Caribbean music landscape and look forward to exploring his latest musical ventures in the sections that follow.

WHO I AM

They call me Straw since ’97, it’s a nickname that basically has nothing to do with music, it came from the expression “Boulé An Pay” (which means drunk in creole) and as I had some experiences with alcohol during my youth the nickname remained and became PAILLE, my artist name.

We laugh about it now but at the time it was not fun.

I sing more Dancehall, Raggae, Hip Hop, but honestly I like writing, no matter the kind of music, no matter what the tempo is.

I like the storytelling logic and rap, Dancehall do it well.

There are lighter music, which will be interesting for their musical qualities like zouk, but which are also necessary at times, it depends of the mood, period … and lots of things.

MY BEGINNINGS

I believe I’ve always been someone who hums and mutters lyrics I wrote myself. Even back in school, I’d find myself on stage, belting out the few lines I had penned.

Then, around 2000-2001, I ended up in Byronn’s studio quite by chance, and we tried out a ‘little something’. I wasn’t pleased with the outcome because I really struggled to express what I had in my head through the microphone.

I wanted to get better, so I started going to the studio more and more, until soon it was all I did…

And then, things took off.

First Song

“PA SA PALÉ BAY,” but not in the form it’s known today.

The Ones I Prefer

Once they’re released, the songs aren’t mine anymore. You have to be passionate about what you’re doing as you’re doing it.

That said, some songs are more enjoyable to write because the ideas flow better or the perspective on the issue seems more intriguing.

However, I’m naturally more motivated by the ones yet to come, as I’ll be listening, revising, searching for the right word, the right way to pronounce, rather than those that are already completed.

PAILLE'S LONG AWAITING ALBUM RELEASE

“Le Crépuscule des Lions”

A Fusion of Genres and Emotions

“Le Crépuscule des Lions” offers a vibrant mix of musical styles, combining dancehall, zouk, soca, and reggae. Each track serves as a narrative chapter that provides listeners with a profound emotional and thematic journey. From the introspective “I Don’t Care” to the energetic “Ruff On Di Road,” and the reflective “Friendzone,” Paille uses his distinctive lyrical approach to explore complex themes.

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RODR - RUFF ON DI ROAD
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RODR - RUFF ON DI ROAD

Anticipation and Future Projects

The anticipation surrounding “Le Crépuscule des Lions” is palpable. Prior to the EP release, fans can look forward to a brand new Urban Pop single scheduled for release on May 31, 2024. This project is not just an album; it’s a statement of resilience, creativity, and the enduring spirit of Caribbean music. Paille’s engagement with his audience and his dedication to his craft are evident in the meticulous attention to detail in each track and the thoughtful integration of diverse musical styles.

Collaboration with DJ Avalanche

A major highlight of the EP is “Born n’ Raised,” crafted in collaboration with DJ Avalanche. This track has resonated strongly within the Soca community for its powerful message of unity and celebration of Caribbean identity. With its compelling lyrics and anthem-like quality, it is poised to become a staple in caribbean playlists.

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BORN N' RAISED

THE STAGE, MY PLAYGROUND

I’ve performed at the UBERSOCA Cruise, twice at Bercy, the ‘Nuit de l’Outre-Mer’ and at the Olympia with E.sy Kennega. 

My music has taken me to festivals across the globe in Morocco, Canada, Colombia, Germany, Switzerland, and Reunion.

Interestingly, it all began quite modestly. When Byronn and I first made music together in Sainte-Luce, it was simply about expressing ourselves through song in our hometown.

AND THE CARIBBEAN...

Traveling to Dominica and Saint Lucia revealed how English-speaking Caribbean islands share knowledge and news among themselves, as seen in Saint Lucia’s news coverage of nearby islands like Saint Vincent and Barbados.

In contrast, French Caribbean islands display a notable lack of awareness about each other’s histories, suggesting that building a unified Caribbean identity requires better mutual understanding.

True closeness comes from understanding, which involves education, explanation, and exchange—ideally taught in schools at a young age.

Asking adults, who have already formed their beliefs and certainties, to challenge these or to construct a new Caribbean identity is nearly impossible. It’s more effective and necessary when minds are still open and eager to learn.

Yet, given today’s fast-paced world, it’s unlikely we’ll find the time to truly understand each other, though it would go a long way in breaking down prejudices.

Sabrina
Author: Sabrina

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