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MARKA

New: Marka "Avant Après"
Il est arrivé, le nouveau Marka, cuvée 2001. Marka has prepared 11 funny, cheery, thoughtful and pleasant songs again, with his usual mix of chanson, raï, punk, reggae and much more.
>>> Buy this CD at Proxis <<<
>>> 793 Bfr - 19,67 Euro - 17.37 $ (on Oct 17, 2001) <<<

Serge Van Laeken, alias Marcassou and Marka, is a singer-songwriter from Brussels who set his first steps into the Belgian punk- & rockworld at the end of the seventies as a roadie for groups as Mad Virgins, Klang and Sttellla. In 1981 he became the bass-player for Allez Allez, until this day one of the finest danceable products this country has produced.

 
Songs
 

uit Merci d'Avance, 1996

"Les Mondains"
song : Robberecht / Van Laeken
58,9 sec - 115 Kb.

"Accouplés"
song : Van Laeken
50,8 sec - 100 Kb.

uit "L'idiomatic", 1998

"L'Idiomatic"
song : Serge Van Laeken
sec. - Kb.

"Comment faire fi"
song : T. Robberecht, Van Laeken
sec. - Kb.

"Nous Consommons"
song : Robberecht / Van Laeken
sec. - Kb.

Producer : N. Fiszman E. Autrique
Record co. : Columbia France

uit "L'homme qui aimait"

"Sans pareille"
song : Bibot / Van Laeken
57 sec. - 112 Kb.
Produced : Marka
Record Co : Columbia France

 
   

After the unhappy split of Allez Allez in 1985, Marka was a member of the band "Les Cactus" for a number of years (together with people like Robby of Allez Allez, Dirk Schoufs - who would become one of the founder of the famous Vaya con Dios later - and Rikki of The Wild Ones, Didier Brichaut of Mad Virgins and Simon Rigot of Bernthöler).

At the end of the eighties he tried a move to a solo career. He could make his debut for the PIAS-label in 1991 with the solo-CD "Je vous dis tout" (I tell it all). Although singles such as "Je, Tu, Il", "Elisabeth" and "Croyez-moi" got a reasonable reception in Belgium, his career didn't fully get off the ground. At Play It Again Sam he was fired and he became a salesman of music instruments.

Three years later he had met Laurence Bibot (an actress & funny woman who's very well known in South-Belgium), who apparently gave the spark to reemerge on the stage. He put on his bold shoes and went with his first CD's and a video under the arm to the big French record firms in Paris. His gamble paid off : Sony France signed him.

 

In 1995 this cooperation lead to "Accouplés". This single (with as lyrics an enumeration of people from Arab, Israelian and French politics & culture) meant the beginning of a breakthrough in France. However, the song was banned from the playlist after the GIA started terrorizing the French capital. A few months later, Marka was introduced in Flanders with this song, brought as a a French-Flemish duet with Johan Verminnen.
A video-clip that was shot in Memphis, with Marka in a golden shining suit for the song "La poupée barbu" (the bearded doll) is the way most French got to know about him (all in all, the record sold only modestly though : 15.000 copies, appr. 700 in Belgium).

 

The music of Marka often was described as a mixture of the chanson and rock of Jacques Dutronc, Pierre Rapsat, Cheb Khaled and The Clash. The - intelligent and whimsical - lyrics to most of the songs are being written by Thierry Robberecht, a young writer from Molembeek. Apart from being an active soccer-player for Sporting Ettekijs, Marka is also a real "Brusseleir" who even took the band of football-club RWDM with him on a tour in Paris and on the song "Les Mondains" .

Two years later he brought the album "L'idiomatic" - this time not in a golden suit but with a glitterhat of Elvis Pompillo - with a few more rock-influences. Highlights of the album became the raï-like "L'idiomatic" and the distressing "Le pays de la pluie" ("Je viens d'un pays où il pleut. Pays que des gens d'ici, veulent couper en deux. Personne ne sait vraiment pourquoi, mais c'est comme ça ... On parles plusieurs langues ici, d'ailleurs on ne parle pas. On apprend à ne pas élever la voix, a parler tout bas, a lever le doigt ... Un jour au pays de la pluie, y'aura plus de pays, plus que de la pluie" - I come from a country where it rains a lot. A country that people from here want to cut up. Nobody knows really why, but it's like that ... Everybody speaks a lot of languages over here, but no-one really talks. One is taught not to raise one's voice, to lift your finger ... One day, this country of rain will stop being a country, and'll be nothing but rain).

 

In 1998, a book was published, "Le Petite Marka Illustré" in which a number of Belgian & French illustrators made drawings to the songs of Marka.
In 1999, he issued a good-humoured live-album "L'homme qui aimait la scène" (the man who loved the stage) - recorded at the AB between 1 & 5 june - that also was a sort of career-overview. On it also a hilaric duet with his wife in "Sans Pareille", a cover of French rapper MC Solaar's "Caroline" and a cover of "I fought the law".

 

In 2001 there were again sound coming from the Marka camp, although the first words didn't seem to make much sense : "A letches baby a letches bong, A lacte lady a lacte long, A letches baby, I lacte lady" went the first single "Letches Bong". This was the precursor to an entire new album which was released in September. On it, 11 new songs again, mainly the work of Marka with his faithful companion Thierry Robberecht, but here also a cover of his heroes of The Clash - "should I stay or should I go" werd hier "resterai-je ou ...". "Avant Après" of course was filled again with his usual mix of musical styles as chanson, raï, punk, reggae and more, intertweened with very funny and still poignant lyrics. On the irresisteble "Je Parle" there also was a bit in Dutch again: "Mijn mokske is een française, ze spreekt geen vloms, maar 'k geef haar toch een baise - Je parle Flamand, je parle françois, je parle tout les langues parce que je suis Bruxellois. Je parle Wallon, je parle Flamois, je pratique l'Allemand, le Créole et même le Chinois. S'il y a une langue que je n'aime pas, c'est celle qu'on appelle communément la langue de bois". But as the bio says "Marka is true to himself in making songs that make you laugh. But in doing so, he regularly succeeds in moving you. That's a trademark only the biggest can produce. Marka, who was said to have abandoned it, is thus an illustration of a remarkable come-back".

Buy CD's of this band at proxis

Albums :
- Je vous dis tout (PIAS, 1992)
- Merci D'Avance (Columbia, 1996)
- L'Idiomatic (Columbia/Sony, 1998)
- L'Homme Qui Aimait La Scène (Columbia/Sony, 1999)
- Avant Après (Viva Disc, 2001)

Websites :
- Marka's official site is obviously www.marka.be
- Marka at Sony France
- Marka, Laurence Bibot, Les Snuls ... Jannin.com
- "Marka pour les gratteux", with a number of tabs

Forum :
- Read the messages/questions about Marka
- Add your message, question, cd- or concertreview ... about Marka

 

   
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Dirk Houbrechts stopped working at The Belgian Pop & Rock Archives (you can read his personal statement here). The website is now entrusted to the Flanders Music Centre (www.muziekcentrum.be). Contact: webmaster@muziekcentrum.be.

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Last update to this site : December 2001.

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