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Pierpoljak, a French reggae star who has become known as the White Rasta, has not always espoused Rastafarism. Far from it, in fact. The singer has followed a fairly tortuous path to fame, with many ups and downs in his personal life, before achieving his current success.

Born in Paris on 7 September 1964, Pierpoljak (whose real name is Pierre) grew up in Colombes in the Paris suburbs. Pierre was a difficult adolescent who got into all sorts of trouble and in the mid-70s he got involved in the punk/skinhead movement. It was around the same time that he took his first steps as a musician, playing bass with a local band called Samu 92. Pierre’s passion for punk eventually led to him moving to London in 1981 where he threw himself into the violent, aggressive sound of the “No future” movement. Living in a squat in Stockwell, in south-west London, Pierre gradually came to discover reggae through his Jamaican-born neighbours, listening to the likes of Desmond Dekker and Toots and the Maytals. This proved to be a big musical revelation for him.

Pierre eventually returned to France and got into trouble with the authorities, ending up serving time in Fleury-Mérogis prison. When he got out of jail, the young adventurer decided to take to the high seas, travelling round the Caribbean. Pierre signed up as a member of the crew of a cargo ship and spent the next few years sailing round the French West Indies and the Dominican Republic (an island he grew particularly fond of).


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