Tag Archives: France

Artist Profiles: Baptiste Argouarch

Baptiste Argouarch was born in St Nazaire in 1983 and started playing the violin at the age of 7. He studied classical music for 7 years, after which he turned to Irish traditional music only.

At 15 he started a violin building course from which he graduated in 2003.

Argouarch spent some time in Belgium, performing with Camaxe , Khalid Izri, Ialma, Turdus Philomélos and Klezmic Zirkus.


Refreshing Bab El West

Bab El West – Douar (Big Banana Music, 2017)

Bab El West is a new French band that combines North African music influences with rock, jazz, blues, pop, soul, Gnawa and African and Latin American rhythms. Douar, Bab El West’s debut, features a great set of songs with pop hooks and outstanding qanun work. The mixture of western rock instruments and traditional Arabic qanun is truly fascinating.

The band was founded by vocalist and guitarist Habib Farroukh (who sings in Arabic), drummer Marc Dupont and bassist Clément Vallin. The trio later added guitarist Hamza Bencherif and qanun master Nidhal Jaoua.

The lineup on Douar includes Habib Farroukh on lead vocals, guitar and percussion; Clément Vallin on acoustic and electric bass, guitar and backing vocals; Marc Dupont on drums and percussion; Nidhal Jaoua on qanun and backing vocals; Hamza Bencherif on electric guitar and backing vocals; and Anthony Honnet on keyboards.

Guests: Yannick Jory on saxophone; Léo Fourastié on percussion; Jalil Belbekri on guimbri, karkabas and backing vocals; a string ensemble featuring Boris Lamerand, Olive Perrusson and Liam Morrissey; Kicca on backing vocals; and Guyzo on lead vocals.

Douar reveals a new world music act with great potential; it’s a likeable mix of western popular music and traditions from the Maghreb.


Entrancing Modern Celtic Sounds of Scotland and Brittany

Alain Genty and Joanne McIver – Eternal Tides (Buda Records, 2017)

Eternal Tides is a beautiful and mesmerizing album by two masters in the Celtic music field. Frenchman Alain Genty is a bass virtuoso, multi-instrumentalist, producer and composer who has been involved in Breton music for many years. Joanne McIver is a Scottish singer-songwriter from Arran Island who also plays the Scottish smallpipes.

Together, Alain Genty and Joanne McIver celebrate Scotland’s traditions through songs in Gaelic and English plus short instrumentals. It’s contemporary Celtic music, mixing tradition with tasteful modern electric bass, North African rhythms, jazz trumpet, and soundscape electronics. Some of us would call some the pieces progressive Celtic music.

Along with the remarkable vocals of Joanne Mciver and the outstanding bass lines of Alain Genty, you’ll also find an impressive list of well-known guest instrumentalists from the Breton Celtic music scene who add Breton and world music instruments into the mix.

Some of themes of the songs include the uncertainty of distant fishing; a longing of childhood summers on the beach; dockworker songs; and references to Scottish history.



The lineup includes Alain Genty on bass, guitars, keyboards, drums and electronics; Joanne McIver on vocals and Scottish smallpipes; Patrick Molard on biniou; Jean-Michel Veillon on bombard; Nicolas Giraud on trumpet and berimbau; Christophe Saunière on harp; Thierry Garcia on guitar; Kouider Berkane on violin; and Bachir Mokari on darbuka, bendir and karkabas.

Eternal Tides is an exquisitely-crafted, enchanting album by two giants in the contemporary Celtic music field who masterfully bring together Scottish and Breton traditions.

Buy the Eternal Tides CD or the digital download version.


Artist Profiles: Lo’Jo


Lo’Jo is a an eclectic French band that creates hybrid music based on sounds from Africa, Europe and the Middle East. When Lo’Jo first formed there were only three members: Denis Pean, Richard Zenou, and Richard Bourreau. Since 1982, more than 300 musicians and dancers have contributed to Lo’Jo’s sound.

As a fledgling band, Lo’Jo joined the Jo Bithume Company, a street theatre ensemble. They absorbed multiple influences while touring Europe for four years. As musicians, we needed to open our ears to the music of the world. That was the idea when I began Lo’Jo,’ Pean said.

Although the band started with traditional Western instruments (piano, bassoon, double bass, and violin), West African instruments were introduced in the mid-90s.

The band’s members have performed live to Murnau’s silent film Nosferatu, published books, produced documentaries, performed twice at the Lincoln Center with 20 performers, and spent countless nights chatting around campfires, drinking wine and smoking cigarettes.

For a few years, they produced Le Festival au Desert with English guitarist Justin Adams and the Tuareg desert blues band Tinariwen, struggling against heat, political tensions, and sand-covered roads in search of new experiences and adventures.

Combined with performances in politically charged landscapes and collaborations with Malian group Tinariwen, Lo’Jo’s lyrics continue the poetic traditions of the French chanson.


* Boheme de Cristal (World Village, 1997)
* Mojo Radio (World Village 468003, 2002)
* L’une des siens (Emma Productions/Universal, 2002)
* Au Cabaret Sauvage (World Village 468007, 2002)
* Ce soir-la (World Village 468027, 2004)
* Bazar Savant (2006)
* Tu Connais Lo’jo (2007)
* Cosmophono (Wagram, 2009)
* Cinema El Mundo (World village, 2012)
* 310 Lunes (2014)

Web Site www.lojo.org


Renovated Dance Music from Paris

Denécheau Jâse Musette - Amour Java
Denécheau Jâse Musette – Amour Java

Denécheau Jâse Musette – Amour Java (Buda Musique, 2016)

This French revivalist ensemble plays a typically Parisian musical genre called musette. Denécheau Jâse demonstrate the cosmopolitan nature of this musical style by incorporating dance styles from eastern Europe, Spain and musical influences from other parts of the world, including American jazz dances like the one step and foxtrot.

The musicians’ backgrounds are very diverse. They use a mix of European and American musical instruments. The lineup includes Denis “Scotch” Gérard on banjo; Daniel Denécheau on diatonic accordions; Ophélia Bard on vocals, bigophone, percussion; Robert Santiago on jâse (ancient drum set), vocals, jazzoflûte, pipeau, quena, pepino, turbine, castanets, carillon, and vocals; Michel Esbelin on cabrette; and Christophe Pélissié on dobro.

Amour Java presents the work of musicians passionate about a popular dance music style, updating it with fresh ideas, unconventional musical instruments and good humor.

Buy Amour Java