A native of French Guyana, raised on the French West Indian island of Martinique, Chris Combette (pronounced: Come-bet) has successfully introduced the musical traditions of the Caribbean to listeners in France, where he has resided since the mid-1980s. His debut album, Plein Sud, released in 1995, was nominated for five SACEM (French ASCAP) awards and resulted in him being named "songwriter of the year." The title video clip of his second effort, Salambo, which explored his Creole heritage, was a finalist in the Radio France International Video Festival in 1997. Teaching himself to play bass and guitar, Combette played with such Martinique-based musicians as Tony Chasseur and Rastafarian banjo player, Kali. As a member of a popular band, Silence, he began to develop his own style. Finishing his education in Paris, Combette supported his musical career as a math teacher in France. He left teaching, in the mid-1990s, to focus on his music. Combette made his North American, in March 1998, with a well-received showcase at South By Southwest in Austin, Texas. The same year, he recorded a duet with vocalist Jocelyn Beroard of popular Martinique-based band, Kassav' that became a hit in the Caribbean islands and France.
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