Le Hangar, Paris

Le Hangar, the excellent venue in the Ivry suburbs of Paris, recently began their first ever artists-in-residence programme and we had the incredible pleasure of being their very first, working with young musicians from both Le Hangar‘s own music school and the local Music Conservatoire of Ivry.

We kicked off a few days of recording with Rwandan-French rapper Gaël Faye and his creative partner French-Cameroonian Edgar Sekloka aka Suga.  In 2008, the pair formed hiphop jazz act Milk Coffee and Sugar releasing an album of the same name, collaborating with musicians like Beat Assailant. Thanks to their engaging lyrics, their break through came a few years later at Printemps de Bourges – the famous French showcase for new acts. 2017 UPDATE NOTE:  In 2016 Gaël Faye wrote a book about his childhood called Petit Pays (Small Country), which became an international best-seller and has since been translated into 36 languages. 2020 UPDATE NOTE: The book has now been made into a film of the same name.

Also lined-up were local drummer Julien Boinot and bassist Nicolas da Bass who plays with the Old Lightnin’ Richard Blues Band, both excellent musicians, the pair now work at Le Hangar putting utilising their very complimentary skills.  Next up, and a first for us, we filmed one from the conservatoire’s entire children choir!  Under the tuition of music teacher Olivia Lemble, the Ivry Conservatoire Children’s Choir (a thirty piece, who only just fitted into the studio) sang a whole range of vocalisations for us, including old traditional French songs and improvised sounds and clapping.  We also filmed and recorded music student Aleksandar Djordjevic on trumpet, a wonderful talent who also performed with us on Orchestra of Samples at the end of the week (a talent to watch out for!).

Aleksandar’s teacher at the conservatoire, Professor Serge Delmas, is a specialist in playing the Cornet à Bouquin or Cornett – a wooden pipe dating from the medieval period.  He wanted us to record him, bringing a selection of wind instruments with him, improvising a number of baroque inspired melodies.  Smooth and gentle, the Cornett sounds a little bit like a mellow trumpet.

Remi Stengel, also a professor at the conservatoire and an accomplished composer, has worked on sound design for a number of commercials, theatre productions and French films- including several by film director Cédric Klapisch.  A keen collector of obscure instruments from around the world, Remi brought in his valiha, a Madagascan bamboo zither with strings running down its length – its sound is very haunting and ethereal.  Remi then played guitar using an Ebow slide to create even more ethereal sounds.

As well as delivering talks and discussions about the project to the music students, we filmed a number of them, including pianist Paul David, drummer Marine Berlu, bass player Serena, guitarists Jeremy Tourneur and Leo Gauchet and the extraordinary accordionist Quentin Auvray who had a very powerful voice and healthy set of lungs!

Grand merci to Bruno from The Hangar and to Lino, Olivier and Karim from Le Hangar’s team for their help, and Milk Coffee & Sugar‘s manager Touria El Haouzi.