August 1, 2021

Pone, rap without forgiveness

With his group La Fonky Family, the hip-hop producer Pone revolutionized French rap at the end of the 1990s, introducing into this emergency music the lightness of the pop hits of the 1980s. Today, this great fellow, His real name Guilhem Gallart, 48, is quadriplegic. However, he continues to make music thanks to software that allows him to operate a computer mouse with his eyes. It is the same system that allowed him to record, in 2019, an album in tribute to the English singer Kate Bush., Kate and Me, then Vision, in 2020, with rapper Karlito. And who helped him once again, on Friday June 18, to release a new EP, Listen and Donate, in association with the artist JR – who made the vinyl cover. Their collaboration aims to raise funds to train caregivers in home care for people like him with Charcot’s disease or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

After the success of the albums If God wants (1998), Street art (2001) and Marginal music (2006), his group La Fonky Family, residing in Marseille, broke up. The composer then leads for a few years a peaceful career in a French rap which settles permanently in the hexagonal charts. Only, Pone’s health concerns are piling up. In 2015, the Purpan hospital center in Toulouse, where he is from, diagnosed him with Charcot disease: « I took the exam which allows the diagnosis to be established after eliminating all the other options, he explains, lying on his bed and facing his screen. He tested positive. “ Under the shock of the announcement, his group reformed and gave a support concert, in September 2015, at Espace Julien, in Marseille, to financially help this forty-something married with two young children. In 2017, he stopped breathing: a tracheotomy then helped him to breathe but also, curiously, to concentrate on his projects. He learns of the existence of eye tracking software that allows him to communicate with others, write and compose without the need of a third person. “I learned of its existence about two years after the diagnosis, says Pone, because the lack of information [sur cette maladie] is abysmal. “

Kate Bush’s “blessing”

After a few days of learning, even before making music, the composer begins by filling this void and creates an Internet site, “The SLA for dummies”. Then begins to compose again. He is not the only musician suffering from this disease who uses the software. « Everything is there to use the mouse with the eyes, he explains, therefore all software is theoretically accessible. I know two DJs who mix with the eyes in Italy and the United States, and a hard-rock guitarist who developed in the 1990s a tablature software for guitar, controllable with the eyes. »

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