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Blayer Pointdujour & The Rockers Galore: The Culture Clashers.

September 6, 2012

Text by Sofiya Ballin. Images by G.W. Miller III.

“I study British music,” says Blayer Pointdujour. “That’s my dream – to play Europe all the time. I really
don’t  want  to  tour the U.S. that much. I think we’ll go to  California and do the West Coast thing but I really
want  to play London, Paris and Milan.”

When he says we, he means The Rockers Galore, his band that he collaborates with to create a fusion of
punk, hip-hop, reggae and Haitian Kompa music.

“We never have any in-between fans,” he says with a laugh. “People either love it or they’re just like, ‘NO.’”

They recently collaborated with the father of gangsta rap, Schoolly D, on Pointdujour’s new song, “Ominous Black.”

“The song is about not giving a fuck,” Pointdujour explains. “He fits that mold. He’s definitely an OG. He took his time. He needed his  vodka, his chips. He wanted to sit and tell us stories first before he hit the booth.”

The song toys with the old-school versus the new-school concept, ultimately bridging the two ideas.

“I’m kind of a newcomer, trying to make my mark, and he’s an OG,” Pointdujour explains. “I did my part in the Italian market at night and its dark. His part has bright lights with girls around him.”

Born in Newark, New Jersey and being of Haitian descent, the diverse nature of his music seems almost inevitable.

“I have a huge Haitian family,” Pointdujour says. “We all speak a little French, a little Creole. Haitian church music was the first music I ever listened to.”

Pointdujour left New Jersey after high school and went to college in Phoenixville, where his musical influences took a turn.

“I got into rock, metal, punk, all of that,” he says. “When I got to Philly, I started playing drums in a rock band. Then I played in punk bands.”

As Pointdujour became immersed in rock ‘n’ roll, he longed to merge the new music with the sounds of his childhood. He began to experiment, mashing the different sounds.

“I started sampling things,” he says. “I found my reggae beats and put whatever I wanted on top of them, then picked what I was going to sing or rap.”

He joined forces with friends to form Blayer Pointdujour and The Rockers Galore in 2008. The band is currently composed of drummer Dan Peterson, percussionist Chuck Duquesne, keyboard player Tyler Hyduk, trumpeter Chris Tolomeo, guitarist Ian Nauroth and singer Camico Coumbassa.

Their latest EP Port Au Prince, named after the capital of Haiti, features “Iron Dread.” The song talks about Pointdujour’s uncle and his ability to rise above economic and racial oppression.

“In Haiti, my uncle was a philanthropist,” Pointdujour says. “He had orphanages, schools, a radio station, a nice house. He was used to militia coming through his house and putting AK-47s in his face and robbing him. He was very peaceful about it.”

In Philly – and the United States in general – Pointdujour believes we don’t appreciate the circumstances of people and what led them to take certain actions.

“Here, anyone gets robbed and it’s like, ‘Let’s throw the robber in jail forever,’” says Pointdujour, who works at Project H.O.M.E., an advocacy organization that seeks to end poverty and homelessness.

“We don’t try to think about where these people are coming from. That’s what I try to bring forth in a lot of the songs.”

Pointdujour’s next album dropped online on September 4th, with CDs at a.k.a. music. On Friday, he and the band will perform at Milkboy to celebrate the release, which officially launches on iTunes on the 18th.

“For this next album, I’m trying to up the musicality a little more, get even more technical,” he says. “The band gets closer and closer. Instead of doing everything myself, they’re coming in to my home studio.”

Their music covers so much territory, Pointdujour simply says, “We play world music.”

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