Saturday, 7 September 2013

this is formidable

There might be some people in Europe who do not know about Stromae. He is 28 years old, Belgian, Rwandan father who disappeared in the 1990s when the Thing Of Which We Do Not Speak happened. His second album "Racine Carree" (Square Root) is a work of genius. His real name is Paul Van Haver. Stromae is Maestro backwards in the "verlan" argot young urban francophones often speak. Here is the video for his second hit from the album, "Formidable". He is in the middle of Brussels, his home town, pretending to be drunk. The police who stop to speak to him recognise him and tell him they are great fans, but believe that he really is drunk and do not know he is making a video. His songs are simple, and usually very dark. There are English subtitles for this one to help non-francophones. Most francophone artists who want international fame sing in English. Not Stromae. Brel mark 2? Well, maybe. He certainly rolls his r's just like Brel did - but then they are both Belgian. This is a talent not to be ignored.

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