This French musician collaborates with Kerala artistes to highlight the importance of nature conservation

Praveen Muraleedharan (left) with Ziako

Praveen Muraleedharan (left) with Ziako   | Photo Credit: Harikumar J S

French singer-composer Ziako says music speaks a universal language for him


For French musician Ziako, music speaks a universal language. So when he realised that “man-made” hazards have been irreversibly damaging the very planet he’s living in, he took recourse to his passion to try and inspire a change. “Universal themes need a universal medium. Music goes beyond language barriers. Also, its catchy,” Ziako says in French, duly translated by Praveen Muraleedharan, with whom the artiste is collaborating for a series of concerts in partnership with the International Solidarity and Education Association (ASIE).

Ziako brings “French music in blues style” with the originals that he himself wrote and composed. “The key themes of the songs are nature conservation, awareness against use of plastic and the need to make the world a better place to live,” says Ziako, who also plays the guitar. “Whether its France or Kerala, the problem is the same and that nature has been either exploited or polluted. But our rather half-cooked solutions have been inconsistent and woefully insufficient,” Ziako adds.

The musician says he has penned the lyrics keeping the “core message” in mind that are primarily aimed at the young, who, he feels, “wield the power for change” and inspire future generations as well to understand that “prevention is indeed better than cure.” So we have songs such as ‘The Seven Continents’ that wants to spotlight how all the seven continents are turning into “massive plastic islands” that are perhaps moving towards a point of no return.

“The songs convey the message that the permanent solution is not to clean up but to stop the use of plastics altogether,” says Praveen, who accompanies Ziako on the box-shaped percussion instrument cajon. The duo is joined by playback singer Saju Sreenivas, lead vocalist of the band Pathayam for their gigs. Ziako was in the city for a performance, organised in association with Alliance Francaise de Trivandrum, at Christ Nagar International School on Thursday. The ensemble will hold another performance on February 28 at Mar Ivanios College, Nalanchira, at 2.30 pm. The group has already performed in Kochi and Madurai before this stopover in the capital city.

Another number, ‘Boheme’, which signifies ‘liberty’, speaks about the concept of “the whole world being one’s home.” “‘Boheme’ extols the need to be free-spirited and talks about travelling with the ideas of fraternity, altruism and oneness in mind,” explains Ziako, a native of Chateauroux in central France.

The 45-year-old’s journey in music began with the French group Zodiane in 1997 as a singer-guitarist, before turning independent artiste. In 2018, he released a solo album, titled Ziako — Ne En Voyage (Born on a trip). In fact, Zaiko is his artiste name, a phrase borrowed from Malagasy language spoken in Madagascar that means ‘healing music to share’. His real name is Johann Brard.

Praveen says his company, Team Eco Ventures that promotes eco-friendly tourism, has been joining hands with ASIE for the past 11 years for similar cultural exchanges. Alain Payen, President of ASIE, who’s part of the entourage, says “the group’s songs brim with the spirit of life and positivity.” Apart from South India, ASIE has already organised “solidarity missions” with Ziako in China and Uzbekistan.

The ensemble aims to take the collaboration beyond the concerts with a “French-Malayalam” project that is in the pipeline. “Soon, we are recording nature-themed songs incorporating lyrics in French and Malayalam to reach a wider audience,” adds Praveen.

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Printable version | Apr 4, 2020 9:16:27 AM |

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