Canal93 residency, Paris

In early 2012 French venue and recording studios Canal 93 came on board, helping to part-fund Orchestra of Samples, offering us a place on their artist-in-residence programme. In June 2012 we headed over to the French capital for a two day recording session in their studios in the Paris suburbs of Bobigny, working with over a dozen amazingly talented musicians, including members of a number of music acts from places as far afield as Algeria and Togo.

Djeli Moussa
We were fortunate enough to do a recording session with the famously fantastic kora-player Djeli Moussa Conde, originally from Guinea.  An urban griot-like rocker who’s lived in France now for nearly 20 years, he’s collaborated with many of World music’s top international stars including Manu Dibango, Salif Keïta, Mory Kante, Alpha Blondy and Césaria Evora.  He’s just released an album with fellow band-members Vincent Lasalle on drums and Jouni Isoherranen on bass who we also recorded.
Continuing our sessions at Canal93, we spent a morning filming and recording Ommm, the wonderful five piece acapella band of Manon, Mélody, Marion, Mathis et Sam (aka Waxybox).  They inject good dose of experimentation in their music, especially as they all come from very different musical backgrounds, including jazz, classical, scat, funk and beatboxing.  In the last three years, they’ve toured all over Europe and Asia, and will release their first album in autumn 2012.

Nëggus &
Nëggus is a poet, rapper and a spoken word slamer from Togo with an incredibly deep and hypnotic voice.   An outspoken artist who writes about the human condition, he’s now collaborating with the African-inspired quintet Kungobram – which includes saxophonist Adrien Roch, who we also recorded a session with.

Sarah Olivier & Stephen HarrisonSarah’s Facebook / Stephen’s Facebook
Sarah Oliver, a Parisian with attitude, is perhaps best described as an eccentric blues singer!  She tells tales of women and desire, with tongue-in-cheek humour and a certain, well, ‘je ne sais quoi’!  Often performing and recording with the amazing doublebass player Stephen Harrison, originally from the UK, the pair are currently recording an album together.  Stephen told us his doublebass was over 100 years old and made of wood from Siberia! Amazing just to think of all the different musicians who’ve owned that instrument…!

Tunisian-born Khalil Chekir has been playing the kanun since the age of nine.  The kanun is a very complex oriental harp with microtonal subtlety, it dates back to the 10th Century and has been enjoying a revival since the mid-19th Century.  Khalil’s versatile style has allowed him to collaborate with a number of different artists, including Lebanese singer songwriter and cultural icon Wadi El Safi, tunisian singer Syrine Ben Moussa and French artist Moussa Youssouf from the Indian Ocean islands of Comoros.

Formed in 2004 by Algerian guitarist-singer Jamil, Djmawi Africa now boasts nine musicians playing both traditional and modern instruments, their style variying from reggae to Algerian chaabi.  Performing internationally, they recently recorded their second album at Canal 93, where we were able to record Jamil playing the guembri guitar and some of his fellow band members Fethi on violin, Zouhir on darbuka drums and Mhamed on saxophone.

D’ de
A poet, actor and rapper with a very unusual voice and style!  His solo performance is something to be experienced; live sampling and looping, he puts on different voices, creating characters who describe the urban world with poignant accuracy.  He’s lent his voice to a varied range of hip-hop and jazz projects, released a number of solo albums, and has recorded with the French rap band Assassin and with French metal band Lofofora.  He’s also acted in several plays, including a French version of Malcolm X.

With massive thanks to Mark, Emmanuelle, Mouloud, Alex and the whole Canal 93 team for being part of the project and all their help in making these recording sessions happen.