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It's Francophone Week

FRENCH-CANADIAN hip-hoppers Accrophone will perform in French tomorrow, with French hip-hop band Fisto. It's part of the Francophone Week and French is the lingua franca, reports Nie Xin.

Move over English hip-hop. There are other languages in the world and this is Shanghai's annual Francophone Week.

Stand by for French and French-Canadian hip-hop and rap tomorrow at the Melting Pot bar. Hip-hop duo Accrophone from Quebec, Canada, teams up with French hip-hop band Fisto from St Etienne.

There's no gangsta rap, no bling bling, no trash talk. It's about love and experience and good energy.

Accrophone performed yesterday before a cheering audience at the campus of the Shanghai International Studies University in the Songjiang University Town. Canadian and French international students joined in.

"The communication with Chinese audiences is full of positive flowing energy. They were excited with our music though they might not understand French," says Olivier Harvey-Cloutier, the DJ of Accrophone. He will soon release his own album "Sex Island" in Japan.

Accrophone mixes reggae, jazz, vocals and scratches; their rap has a more poppy beat. The Accrophone's sound hooks the listeners in, with a warm and organic sound and doesn't play to the cliches of bling bling, girls and cash.

"We don't pay attention to gangster rap," says Eman Lajoie-Blouin, adding that they produce songs about love and experience. "We hope that our music can give more good energies to our listeners."

The other half of the duo is Claude Begin.

Influenced by the pure rap school of the 1990s, they add guitar and traditional and acoustic instrumentation to their rap aesthetic.

Begin and Lajoie-Blouin started collaborating in songwriting and composition after they met in Quebec in 1993. They were both eight years old then and lived in the same apartment block.

Since both hailing from artistic families, music had always formed a part of their childhood games. They first used old acoustic guitars and cardboard boxes as drums.

In 1998, they named themselves Accrophone and have released two albums. They produce their albums in the home studio of Thomas Gagnon-Coupal, Accrophone's back vocalist who is known as Mash.

"Accrophone is a new word created by us. Edit and Microphone - it's all about music," says Mash.

The duo introduced their jazzy hip-hop rhythms at the BOOM 2001 contest, which they won hands down, and went on to acclaim at the Quebec City Summer Festival in 2004.

Though they come from a market where French rap doesn't have much room to grow, Accrophone has played to as many as 12,000 people.

Since mid-March, Accrophone has toured eight cities and given 10 free concerts in China, including Hong Kong, Taiwan and Qingdao in Shandong Province.

All of this French hip-hop fun is brought to us by the Consulate General of Canada in Shanghai, in collaboration with the Quebec Office in Shanghai and the Alliance Francaise de Shanghai.

Date: March 28, 7:30pm

Venue: The Melting Pot, 288 Taikang Rd

Tickets: Free

Tickets available at the Consulate General of Canada (Suite 604, West Wing, Shanghai Center, 1376 Nanjing Rd W.) and Alliance Francaise 5/F, 297 Wusong Rd; 2/F, 155 Wuyi Rd)


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