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Jean Gabilou

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Jean Gabilou

Jean Gabilou
Birth name Gabriel Lewis Laughlin
Also known as Gabilou
Born (1944-02-28) February 28, 1944
Papeete, Tahiti, French Polynesia
Origin French Polynesia
Occupation(s) Musician
Associated acts Barefoot Boys

Jean Gabilou (born Gabriel Lewis Laughlin on 28 February 1944) is a Tahitian singer. He also represented France in the 1981 Eurovision Song Contest.

Early life

Born into a family of ten children, he grew up in Papeete, Tahiti until the age of 13, before moving to Faa'a with his family.[1]

In 1963, a friend, Raoul Robert, asked him to sing a melody at the Matavai Hotel. He then interpreted two waltzes and a religious song entitled "When The Saints Go Marching In" in rock version. The same evening he received his first contract for 60 francs an hour. He first worked with the Vernaudon brothers for two years, then started performing at the Pitate Club with the Hars Brothers for another two years. Laughlin was then approached by Petiot, a guitarist for a group called The Barefoot Boys, which he joined at the age of 23. However in 1968, Laughlin left the group.[1]


Following his departure from the Barefoot Boys, Laughlin founded the Banjo Boys, a group formed with his friends Kitty Salmon, Jacky Bougues, Marius Charles and Michael Garcia. Their song "Little Sacred Island" was released in 1968 and sold 54,000 copies.

In 1971, he sang at the hotel Tahara'a and was noticed by a lady named Paulette Vienot who, during that year, gets Laughlin signed for a contract in Paris with Eddie Barclay[1] compiling the song "Moi girls". Which did not meet the expected success that was hoped.

In 1979, he moved to the United States. Two years later, he was contacted to represent France in the 1981 Eurovision Song Contest with the song "Humanahum". He finished third with a 125-point deficit behind Germany's Lena Valaitis and the United Kingdom's Bucks Fizz, who won the contest.[2]

In 1983, he celebrated his twenty-year career in Papeete. In 1985, he married Moeata Sasson,[1] an accomplished dancer for the Tahitian dance troupe "Tamari'i Fautaua. A few years later, Moeata staged her own dance troupe "Tamari'i Poerava", whose dancers then began performing alongside Gabilou.

Later life

In 1993, he returned on stage with "Hei No". However in 1995, feeling ill, Gabilou went to a medical clinic in Papeete where he was diagnosed with having paralyzed vocal cords. Despite the bad news, he fought to regain his voice and left for France where he met speech therapist Dr Veil.[1] After attending numerous rehabilitation sessions he regained his voice and released the album "Rohipehe"

In 2000, Gabilou decided to produce his own songs together with his friend and singer Andy Tupaia. Along with John Marote Mariassouce, the song "Fakateretere" featured on the album with the same name, was produced. It sold 20,000 copies and continues to be recognised throughout the Pacific as his signature song.

Gabilou continues to perform on stage. In 2001 and 2002 he was invited to Rarotonga, Cook Islands where he had also lived previously, to sing in front of 3500 people.

In 2003, he performed at the Oscars of Polynesian music. On the 6th of June 2003, he celebrated his 40th year in the industry with a concert in Pape'ete's To'ata Square in front of a full crowd, with guest Tahitian performers such as [3]


  • 2007 - Le Fafaru
  • 2006 - Avini Ute
  • 2005 - Homai-Heiatea
  • 2004- Keanu
  • 2003 - Poerava
  • 2001 - Fakateretere
  • 1999 - Barefoot, en souvenir de Joe Garbutt
  • 1997 - Rohipehe
  • 1996 - Na oe Vairea
  • 1994 - Mama Ella
  • 1992 - Hei No Tamatoa
  • 1990 - Nohoarii
  • 1989 - Hianau
  • 1988 - Esther et Gabilou, leurs plus grands succès


  1. ^ a b c d e "Semaine 47 / 2007 : Tous les messages - Tiwan". 2007-11-13. Retrieved 2014-03-24. 
  2. ^ "Eurovision Song Contest 1981 | Year page | Eurovision Song Contest - Copenhagen 2014". Retrieved 2014-03-24. 
  3. ^
Preceded by
withHè Hé M'sieurs dames
France in the Eurovision Song Contest
Succeeded by
Guy Bonnet
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