Friday, June 17, 2016

Scarecrow at Drom

In 2008, Slim Paul was playing blues guitar on the banks of the Garonne riverfront in Toulouse, France, when Antibiotik Daw strolled by, listened for a bit and then improvised raps to Paul's rhythms. This was the start of a collaboration where American blues wedded French hip hop. Scarecrow presently consists of Paul, Daw, bassist Jamo and drummer Le Pap's. Scarecrow will release its second album, The Last, on June 24, 2016.

Scarecrow visited America this week as part of the France Rocks SummerFest, which is being billed as the largest French music festival in the U.S. Headlining tonight at Drom, the quartet accomplished what previously seemed impossible, coherently mixing Paul's deep-rooted blues with Daw's street hip-hop and the rhythm section's funk. When Paul sang, he resonated richly from the gut, and sounded like an old time blues man from America's 1930s. His nimble guitar picking furthered this authenticity. Literally on the other side of the table, Daw was scratching at his turntable, providing an additional yet far more modern percussive element. When Daw stepped from behind the table and smoothly rapped center stage in French, he sounded like he learned his technique in the Bronx. The two men melded sounds that were diametrically opposed, but shared a common source -- the sounds of freedom from two different generations of African-Americans. It took a French band to teach us this.

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