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 wonderful pleasure of being their very first, with Orchestra of Samples.  The residency allowed us to work with young musicians from both Le Hangar‘s music school and the Music Conservatoire of Ivry.

We kicked off two long 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 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 their skills to very good use.  Next up, and for the first time for us, we were able to film an entire choir…  a thirty strong children’s one from the conservatoire!  Under tuition of music teacher Olivia Lemble, the Ivry Conservatoire Children’s Choir (who only just fitted into the studio) sang a whole range of things for us, including old traditional French songs and improvised sounds and clapping.  We also filmed an incredible 18 year old trumpeter called Aleksandar Djordjevic who really wowed the whole room.  Can see he’s got a bright future!

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 joined us, bringing a selection with him and improvised 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.

Lastly, we filmed music students from Le Hangar’s own music school, 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.