It is the 20th anniversary of the death of the Guyano-Martinican Diva. Retrospective of his life and career.

Table of Contents

Her name is Edith, in memory of an hurricane

Indeed in September 1963, Cyclone Edith devastated Martinique, killing 10 people and over 5,000 victims. Two months later, on November 17, 1963, the singer was born. For his father, a meteorologist, the name was all found.

She lived between French Guyana, Martinique and contiental France

Of a French Guyanese mother and a Martinican father, Edith is the youngest of 5 siblings. She lived the first 3 years of her life in Guyana, then in Martinique until she was 14 years old. When her parents separated, she left to join her mother in France.

Her idol is another Edith

Edith grew up listening to Charles Aznavour, Jacques Brel and Barbara Streisand at home. But his idol remains the charismatic French singer, Edith Piaf.

It was with her older brother, Laurent, guitarist, that she took her first steps in music.

Thanks to him, she has the opportunity to sing within her group, in the patronal feasts and other evenings of the great standards of Caribbean music and French variety.

She left her studies to devote herself to singing

In continental France, Edith Lefel entered the singing conservatory in Saint-Denis, while pursuing law studies at the University of Nanterre.
But the call for music was stronger: she left everything to become a studio singer and lend his voice for radio spots.
She meets the rising stars of French West Indian music.

It was with Jean-Michel Cabrimol that her career took off

In 1984, the Martinican musician Jean-Michel Cabrimol, at the head of his group La Mafiaa, suggested that Edith Lefel join them and go on tour in the West Indies.
The tour is a success, Edith's career is launched.

Happy encounters will lead her to fruitful collaborations.

First in 1986, she became the backing vocalist of the Kassav group and performed in duet with Jean-Luc Alger the hit "Ich manman".

Then in 1987, she sang another hit "Lanmou" on Simon Jurad's album.

Ronald Rubinel is her pygmalion

Edith meets Ronald Rubinel, musician, songwriter, producer. From this professional and personal union will be born twins, Chris and Matthieu and several successful albums.


La Klé is her first album and the album of all successes

In 1988, Edith Lefel released her first solo album.

For the occasion, the entire Kassav team writes to him and composes tailor-made songs.

This album is full of nuggets but is immortalized by two emblematic hits "SOS Mémé" composed by Jean-Claude Naimro (SACEM Prize for Best Author) sung in duet with Ralph Thamar and "La Klé" composed by Patrick Saint-Eloi.


Malavoi is the band that gives her the opportunity to broaden her horizon beyond zouk music

The Malavoi adventure began in 1987, when the string band invited him on stage to sing the famous hit "Caréssé mwen" in the absence of Marijosé Alie.

Malavoi opened the doors of the international scene to her with a major tour.

Between Edith and the group will follow a long collaboration, in particular on the Matébis projects.

Malavoi offered her on a silver platter the covers of "La Sirenn" or "Asi Paré" which became emblematic of the singer's career.

Edith Lefel is also a singer of French varieties

In 1998, the album "Matébis II" offered Edith an anthological duet with the star of French variety, Jean-Jacques Goldman, the song "Chanson d'amour » then a tour in Martinique.

In addition to the duet with Jean-Jacques Goldman, Edith also sang songs from her childhood.

In 1993, then backing vocalist of the singer of French varieties, the Martinican Philippe Lavil she sang with him the duet "Touché en vol".


In 1999, on her album "À fleur de peau", she covered 3 standards of French variety, namely "If I was a man" by Diane Tell and above all "La Foule" and "No, I don't regret anything" by her lifelong idol, Edith Piaf, performed on Latin consonances.


1996: The year of consecration

Edith Lefel performs in the mythical hall of the Olympia on May 11, 1996 in the footsteps of her idols of yesteryear.

In a memorable concert, she delivers her greatest hits, supported on stage by her accomplices Ralph Thamar, Jean Luc Alger, and behind the scenes Ronald Rubinel.

A rare but precious solo discography

To her credit: 5 studio albums and a live album.

The last album, "If only" is that of the break, insofar as the couple having separated, it is no longer Ronald Rubinel who realizes it but the Martinican singer Harry Diboula.

The title "If Only" seems prescient in the text and lays bare a hurt and misunderstood woman taking stock of her unhappy love affair. Yet the album is full of hope.

All the means have been put in place for this album and big names in West Indian music are collaborating on it, such as Frédéric Caracas, Thierry Delannay, Jocelyne Labylle and Jean-Michel Rotin...
A long tour is even planned.

Everything is unfortunately stopped on January 20, 2003.

Edith Lefel succumbed to a heart attack at her home in Dreux, at only the age of 39.

Eternal rest at Père-Lachaise

She now rests in the cemetery of Père-Lachaise in Paris (division 45) among the most famous names, including that of her idol Edith Piaf.




Martinican, passionate about culture and music of all kinds. Greater Caribbean specialist.

About Fwi Music Heritage

FWI MUSIC HERITAGE (FMH) is an information and resource portal specialized in the music, dance and forms of orality of the French Antilles and Guyana.


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