Biography of Louis-Jean





My music is reggae with the colours of the rainbow, a music with the spirit of bringing people together.” Louis-Jean is an outstanding talent, which does this with a very special impact.

He manages to reach this goal between Africa, Europe and Jamaica with his new album dedicated to Nelson Mandela.

Louis-Jean was born in Kaolack, Senegal and moved to the capital Dakar as a child. “I was surrounded by music”, he recalls. “People were playing music, singing, dancing, it was an essential part of my life from since I can remember.” He was also influenced by a great tolerance and cultural open-mindedness. His father was christian, his mother muslim, not really common in West African muslim society. No wonder he started to sing in the church at an early age and soon began to write his own songs.

One day he took part in a UNICEF song contest organised by the Superstar Youssou N'Dour and won the 2nd price. Inspired by this, Louis-Jean pursued his musical career, but he wanted more. “I was listening during my childhood to many artists like: Bembeya Jazz National, Orquesta Aragon , Prince Nico Mbarga, Touré Kunda, Kassav, Peter Tosh, Bob Marley and other great musicians from South Africa such as Lucky Dube, Miriam Makeba, Johnny Klegg , Mahlathini Mahotella Queens - with their title Kazet, which always meant something special to me.”

Focused on his aim to go to South Africa and begin his professional musical career there, Louis-Jean started to work as hard as possible to make his dream come true. When he had enough money to go, he just quit his job and bought a ticket to Johannesburg, where he arrived in september 1997. It was winter time, very cold and Louis-Jean did not know a single soul in this town.

He went straight to Hillbrow, a ruff area of Jo'burg, where the new South Africa was coming alive after Apartheid, multicultural, lively dangerous and xenophobic. The first thing he saw was how a man was shot dead right in front of his eyes. Shortly after that he was robbed twice by gangsters, was arrested twice because of identity control and beaten up by policemen at yeoville police station.

But he kept his courage and run his own business as a hawker , which gave him the opportunity to meet interesting people which later helped him to start doing music.

With his neighbor, the musician "Jimmy Indi", he made his first steps in the music business. “Then I start to do everything by myself: producing songs, learn to arrange them and start to be independent. Therefore I work hard and take my time just to make sure that I will deliver a good music and especially having a total control over my projects.”

Soon his connections helped him throughout the Johannesburg music scene and worked with the band Tidal Waves and Lucky Dube's musicians. Louis-Jean was about to release his first album Dakar-Johannesburg-Berlin recorded at Downtown Studios Johannesburg, when he decided to move to Berlin, Germany in 2004.

In Germany he founded a band and continued to play as many live shows as possible. Louis-Jean & Irie Rainbow brought together different musicians with different backgrounds, creating a new style and a new musical experience by melting Jamaican and African roots music with other international influences. After releasing his 2nd album "Senegal sunu rew" he toured a lot and played on every important festival throughout Germany, Austria, Holland.

More importantly, he is an accomplished musician and has been organising concerts in tribute of Nelson Mandela 'Caravan for Mandela' since 2013. He started this initiative out of admiration for Madiba and his legacy. He has built up a wide global network of artists, especially in the reggae music world.

Currently he is developing his next scoop: a project that will involve artists from all over the world, from Africa to Europe to the Caribbean. From 2015 he travelled twice to Jamaica and started to record with reggae super stars like: Sly & Robby, Earl Chinna Smith, Tyrone Downie and Clive Hunt and others.

In July 2016 he went back to South Africa, where he recorded at the studio Downtown again with Paul Hanmer, Lucky Dube's band, Thuthukani Celle, before he returned to Jamaica in April 2018 to finish the new album "Mandela Centenary" there.

My music is reggae with the colours of the rainbow, a music with the spirit of bringing people together.” Louis-Jean is an outstanding talent, which does this with a very special impact.



Best references:

Afrika Festival (Freudenstadt); Alafia Festival (Hamburg); Kingsfield Reggae Festival

Afrika-Festival-Nürnberg; Bernburg Festival; Karnaval der Kulturen (Berlin)

One World Village Festival (Berlin); Afrika Festival (Sylt); Nordhausen Jazz Festival

Lange Nacht der Museen (Köln); Motte Club (Hamburg); Funambules Club (Lübeck)

VIP GermanKampen (Sylt); Brotfabrik Open Air (Frankfurt); Chiala Festival (Graz / Austria)

Backstage (München); Werkstaat der Kulturen (Berlin); MuseumDahlem (Berlin)

Pergamon Museum (Berlin); Yaam (Berlin); Junction-Bar (Berlin); Logo Club (Hamburg)

Lovelite (Berlin); Hotel Lakeside; Dub Club (Berlin); Supamolly (Berlin); Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung Wabe venue (Berlin), Badehaus Berlin, Red Ballroom Berlin, Ökospeicher Wulkow Seelow

Kenako Afrika Berlin, Müncheberg Brandenburg ....



German version

Meine Musik ist purer Reggae mit den Farben des Regenbogens, eine Musik mit dem Anspruch, Menschen zusammenzubringen.”

Louis-Jean & Irie Rainbow gelingt es, zwischen Afrika, Europa und Jamaica mit tanzbarer Musik und kritischen Texten dieses Ziel zu erreichen und das bunte internationale Publikum zu begeistern!


Louis-Jean ist in Kaolack, Senegal geboren und in der Hauptstadt Dakar aufgewachsen. “Ich war von Musik umgeben”, erinnert er sich. “Musik spielen,

singen oder tanzen, das haben alle gemacht. Es war ein wesentlicher Teil meines Lebens. “Toleranz und kulturelle Aufgeschlossenheit prägen ihn von Anfang an. Sein Vater ist Christ, seine Mutter Muslima. Im frühen Alter fängt er an, in der Kirche zu singen und schreibt auch seine eigenen Texte.

Als er an dem von Superstar Youssou N'Dour organisierten UNICEF Song Contest teilnimmt, gewinnt er den zweiten Preis.

Louis-Jean will aber mehr. Sein Ziel ist es, Berufsmusiker in Südafrika zu werden.

In meiner Kindheit habe ich viele Künstler wie Bembeya Jazz National, Touré Kunda, Kassav, Peter Tosh und Bob Marley aber auch großartige Musiker aus Südafrika wie Lucky Dube, Miriam Makeba oder Johnny Klegg gehört. Die Mahlathini

Mahotella Queens - mit dem Titelsong Kazet - bedeuten z. B. immer noch viel für mich. ”Im September 1997 verlässt er seinen Job und fliegt nach Johannesburg, ohne irgend jemanden dort zu kennen. In Hillbrow, einem multikulturellen, jedoch gefährlichen und xenophobischen Stadtteil von Jo'burg, erlebt er Schiessereien

und Raubüberfall. In Yeoville wird er bei einer Identitätskontrolle selbst zum Opfer von Polizeigewalt. Louis-Jean lässt sich nicht entmutigen und kommt als Straßenhändler durch das Leben. Dadurch lernt er interessante Leute kennen, die ihm später in seiner Musikkarriere helfen.

Mit seinem Nachbar, dem Musiker Jimmy Indi, startet Louis-Jean ein Musikbusiness. Er lernt auch allein Songs zu produzieren und zu arrangieren aber vor allem, unabhängig zu sein. Er etabliert sich schnell in der Johannesburger Musikszene.

Er kooperiert mit der Band Tidal Waves sowie den Musikern von Lucky Dube und nimmt dann sein erstes Album in den Downtown Studios Johannesburg auf.

2004 beschließt Louis-Jean nach Berlin zu gehen. In Deutschland gründet er seine Band und gewinnt vor allem wichtige Live-Erfahrung.

Die Band “Louis-Jean & Irie Rainbow” bringt unterschiedliche Musiker zusammen, schafft einen neuen Stil und entwickelt sich durch Jamaican und African Roots weiter. Ergebnis ist der zweite Album, Senegal Sunu Rew.