Arts, Culture & Media

Global Hit - Hector Zazou

The French composer Hector Zazou died earlier this week in Paris. The World's Marco Werman has this appreciation.

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Eclectic is a mild way of describing the work of Hector Zazou. From rock to chamber music to global idioms, Zazou explored them all. In 1983 he teamed up with Congolese musician Bony Bikaye for the album "Noir et Blanc."

The resulting music was one of the first blends of African styles and electronica. Marc Hollander is the founder of the Belgian record label Crammed Discs. His label released many of Hector Zazou's albums. Hollander says Hector Zazou was always trying to break new musical ground.
HOLLANDER: "He was very curious, very open-minded and no record was similar to the previous one.He always wanted to experiment something new, but always with an ear, you know, didn't try to do complicated things just for the sake of it. He was always trying to reach the audience and touch people."

Part of the reason Hector Zazou was good at touching peo
ple: he collaborated with recognizable artists like Peter Gabriel, Laurie Anderson, and Bjork.

But he also gladly teamed up with musicians who were lesser known, but with whom he felt an affinity. Here's Zazou with a track called "Surrender" which he recorded with British singer-songwriter Nicola Hitchcock.

Hector Zazou had just completed a new record. Unremarkably for Zazou, it was a collaboration with musicians from India and Uzbekistan. Zazou took inspiration from the famous 'Mirror' scene in the Orson Welles' film The Lady From Shanghai.

Again, Marc Hollander.

Hollander: "The record is called House of Mirrors, so his idea was to place the musicians like in a chamber of mirrors and play with the reflections of his own sound. I think it's one of his most beautiful albums. And it's a cruel irony that he didn't see the finished copies of the record. And I think it will be very well received and loved."

Hector Zazou's House of Mirrors comes out in November. Zazou died on Monday. He was 60 years old.

For The World, I'm Marco Werman.

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