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Thursday, February 2, 2023

Patrick Saint Eloi dies

By Christine Jean-Pierre

CSMS Staff Writers

Yes, it was true that the news were in fact true. The inevitable news happened yesterday morning around four. Patrick is no longer with us. One of the most impeccable voices of the Caribbean has been stilled. Patrick is no more, but his legacy lives on; and for that—like some many others before him who have already gone for the infinite voyage—he will always be remembered. This shining star will forever sparkle in the firmament.

An artist who was visibly noticeable for his aloof demeanor, Patrick took center stage for the first time at Le Zénith some twenty years ago. At the time he was one of the lead singers of the group Kassav, the pioneering Antilles group that helped craft the Antilles genre and usher it to the international music map, taking their infectiously catchy sound to France and its overseas departments, as well as Africa and the Indian Ocean region.

One of the most interesting features of Kassav was that each member of the band was free to release solo albums bearing their own name. This feature offered Patrick the opportunity to go solo.  “Over the years we came to realize that some of our biggest hits came from our solo albums rather than our group albums,” says Saint-Eloi, “We were prolific songwriters and sometimes we ended up having so many ideas they inevitably spilt over into other things.” This assertion was also true in the case of Jocelyne Béroard, Kassav’s lead female voice, who earned most of her success through her hit solo songs like Siwo, Kaye Manman, Milans etc…

Prince and Ambassador
Even though it was widely known that Jean-Philippe Marthély was the godfather of what we now called zouk-love,  Patrick Saint-Eloi was indeed the first  zouk singer who actually pioneered zouk’s global status. “Influenced by Cuban bolero, Beny Moré, Portabales and other salsa legends, fascinated by soul music and also a great admirer of French ‘chanson’ star Charles Aznavour, Saint-Eloi went on to build a repertoire based on infinitely smoochy rhythms and his high-pitched, at times almost falsetto-like, vocals,” one can read on the RFO Guadeloupe’s main page.

Patrick’s death has certainly left an empty space that will definitely prove to be difficult if not impossible to fill. This was quite apparent yesterday. Many of the new generation of zouk artists could not hide their emotions upon hearing the news of Patrick’s passing. “A zouk giant has left us. I feel cheated,” says Elody Marquant, one of the most brilliant voices of today’s zouk love. “It is with deep sadness that we learned the passing of Patrick Saint Eloi. He was one of the greatest. He will surely be missed,” one can read on the main page of Carimi’s website.  “Rest in peace Patrick Saint Eloi,” wrote Kaysha on his Facebook fan page.

Several European stations have paid tributes to Patrick Saint Eloi, including France2, one of the most important news organizations in France. CSMS Magazine is sending its condolences to Patrick’s family and to all fellow Antilles who are currently in mourning. Gone, but not forgotten.

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