Prepare to be entertained by the music of this eccentric French singer and poetess. A sound and style like no other, Christina Goh creates a unique concept that is indescribable by words alone. "The afro-blues black pearl", as given to her by admirers, is well on her way to the top. Should you have doubts, let the music speak for itself!
Check out her music video for "C'est un jeu" below, and read the interview to learn more:
EY: Tell us who Christina Goh really is.
CG: Really knowing oneself can take a lifetime but I can try to say what I think I am…I consider myself as a citizen of the world. My father is from Ivory Coast, in West Africa, and my mother is from Martinique, in the West Indies; however, I like to discover different cultures and I am very fond of the French one. Music is my passion and the best way for me to communicate with the others.
EY: You were born in Paris, but lived in the Ivory Coast for a while. How was your life in the Ivory Coast different in comparison to your life in France?
CG: I grew up in Ivory Coast where every adult behaves like a mother or a father. All that the child has to do is to obey. However, in France, life was different: what the young think is given greater consideration.
EY: What inspires your poetry, and how do you incorporate it into your music?
CG: Life inspires my poetry: joy and sadness, love and death. For me, poetry and music are everywhere: The words come in my mind when I watch the colors of autumn, when I hear the laughs of children or in front of the mourning widow… Once at rest, I put down every word so that its own music can match the melody that comes to me in correspondence to the feeling expressed by the message of the song. It is hard to explain, between inspiration and work art.
EY: Can you explain what your last collection “Le concept en poèmes” was all about, and how does it differ from your first “Le chant des coeurs”?
CG: “Le chant des coeurs”, Song of hearts, is a collection of poems about how, beyond the differences and the nationalities, people feel the same : a song which comes from the human heart and which is sometimes sad, sometimes joyful…“Le concept en poèmes”, The concept in poems is about the last album Christina Goh Concept. The Ten chapters of the book explicit in poems the ten titles of the CD.
EY: Who are some of your influences in terms of music?
CG: I can cite the artists I love to listen. Somehow they inspire me… Robert Johnson, Selena Quintanilla Perez (from America), Veronique Samson and Gregory Lemarchal (from France), Moune de Rivel (from the West indies), A.R. Rahman (from India), Reine Pélagie (from Africa)… The list is very long!
EY: How would you describe your musical style?
CG: The Christina Goh Concept is between afro, rock-blues and french music. The djembe is the rhythmic point of the presentation. They surnamed me “the afro-blues black pearl”. There must be a reason…
EY: You have a degree in Psychology and Journalism from a university in France, so what led to the transition into music?
CG: When I was a child, I never thought that I would become a singer. I liked music but I couldn’t consider it as a career because of my education, so I passed my exams and found a job to earn a living. But at that point, I was unhappy. Even if I sang in a choir, even if I was in a band for fun, it was never enough for me. I was hungry to sing. So, at 23, I quit my job and decided to consecrate my life to music. It was hard and took me about ten yours to begin to earn money…
EY: In 2008, you formed a trio made up of yourself, Stephane Traber, and Gotham. Can you tell us how each contributes to the music, and what interests you about the djembe for you to decide on using it on your albums?
CG: Stephane Traber, Gotham and I are linked by a common passion for music. Stephane has played guitar for about twenty years. He has an experience in jazz music and has made some training in bele, a traditional music from Martinique. He has an open mind and put his technicity at the service of the concept. Gotham has been a percussionist in Gospel music and world music for fifteen years. He brings his talent and took up the challenge to play djembe out of its traditional context. I love djembe. It’s the heart’s beats of the Christina Goh Concept. It is also the instrument which rocked my childhood.
EY: Your latest album the “Christina Goh Concept” was recorded in French West Indies. What made you decide to record there instead of France, and what is the story behind the album?
CG: We recorded the album in Martinique (Arene Digital Studios at Fort de France) where the members of my group were located. I wanted an album which would reflect what we perform on stage. All the music was played in live by Stephane and Gotham. I invited Herve Martiny, a great bassist from Martinique in some songs : Moin le alle, Solitude. Fred Jean Baptiste played cha-cha (Le rocher). The mastering was done in France, the cover by Mayu Kono in Japan… As you see, different cultures contributed.
EY: How do you feel about having your music being sold and played in countries like Martinique (home of your mother), Japan, Greece, Brazil, and Canada?
CG: It’s the reason why I am singing. So that someone somewhere could hear and feel good. I am grateful!
EY: The Laurette Theatre invited you to perform at the Avignon Festival. How was the experience?
CG: A wonderful one ! I was very proud to play at Laurette Theatre. In 2009, I had already played at the Laurette in Paris and it had been great. When they invited me at the 2010 Avignon Festival Off, I was extraordinarily happy because of the context : I could develop the story behind the songs. The public was very attentive and concentrated. I had very good returns…
EY: What’s next for you, any projects that you’re working on?
CG: Oh yes ! 2011 should be a year full of wonderful surprises… Just keep connected on my official website : www.christinagoh.com
Listen to Christina Goh’s music on her official myspace