Twenty years after Boulevard, his renowned debut album, fifteen years after Tourist, the record that took him around the world, St Germain has decided to surprise us. A pioneer of the “French Touch”, a creator of intelligent, sensual and original deep..
He's back. Still the same but more unpredictable than ever.
Twenty years after Boulevard (which sold 1 million albums), fifteen years after the multi-platinum, award-winning album Tourist (2.8 million copies sold worldwide) and a world tour spanning several continents, Ludovic Navarre, alias St Germain, is back in the studio again. A respected and undisputed master of electronic music for the past two decades, pioneer of the “French Touch” and creator of intelligent, sensual and original deep house music, St Germain has always been known for his uncanny ability to subtly blend machines and instruments, authentic roots and modern influences.
His music is a complex blend, reflecting his love of the blues, jazz and Black music of all kinds, with hypnotic electronic loops and harmoniously intertwined vocal samples. Who can forget his renowned “Alabama Blues” or “Rose Rouge,” the hit single played all over the world… even during Rolling Stones’ concerts! In short, his work is a blend of exceptional music, from Detroit, USA, to Saint Germain, France, taking in Mississippi and, this time, West Africa. And now, according to St Germain, after acid jazz, nu jazz and deep house, it's time to make way for Afro deep house.
This new album takes listeners on a unique journey, starting with the single, "Real Blues," a fiery, percussion-driven track combined with the vocals of Texan blues legend, Lightnin' Hopkins. This self-titled album boasts an original cover: a mask designed especially by Gregos, the street artist who displays sculptures of smiling or grimacing faces on walls across Paris and Europe.
When creating this new work, St Germain looked to the music and rhythms of Africa for inspiration. The music, which originates mostly from Mali, draws on Mandinka hunting ceremonies and rituals where singers, dancers and musicians celebrate different stages of life.
From this original material, St Germain - a veritable sound sorcerer - has successfully created a rhythmic and airy blend, combining traditional instruments such as the kora, balafon, peul violin, soku and n'goni (small lute-guitar with 4-6 strings) with more western-type keyboards, electric guitars and saxophones, all mingled with electronic sequences and layers, following a secret formula that only he could devise. This technique is evident in the instrumental tracks, "Hanky Panky," "Mary L" and "Forget Me Not," which blend groove jazz, ethnic percussion, ornate n'goni and guitar rhythms, trance and dance, tranquility and turmoil.
In contrast you have the fiery tempo and lively chanting of "Sittin' Here," "Voila" and "Family Tree," characterised by the whirling, commanding voices of Malian singers Nahawa Doumbia and Fanta Bagayogo, and musician Adama Coulibaly, in the great tradition of West African poets and story tellers.
St Germain is known for his love of the 12-bar blues pattern. In addition to Lightnin' Hopkins ("Real Blues"), he also pays tribute to R.L. Burnside, the Mississippi bluesman who died in 2005, with his song, "How Dare You."
To produce this album which was created, written, recorded and mixed, in secret, in his own studio, St Germain, an essentially solitary artist, surrounded himself by the finest musicians and singers from the African diaspora, from Mali to Senegal. So experts in the n'goni, kamele n'goni and guitar, Adama Coulibaly (Salif Keita), Sadio Kone and Guimba Kouyate, join kora players, Cheikh Lo Ouza Diallo and Mamadou Cherif Soumano (Tiken Jah Fakoly), and the violinist, Zoumana Tereta, a former lorry driver and now a renowned musician.
This international crew is further complemented by musicians such as keyboardist, Didier Davidas, from Martinique, Brazilian percussionist, Jorge Bezerra (Joe Zawinul Syndicate), Senegalese bass player Alioune Wade (Ismael Lô) and saxophonist, Edouard Labor, from Guadeloupe, who has also appeared on previous recordings.
Mastered in the legendary Abbey Road studios, in London, by Alex Wharton (who worked on the Beatles "Live at the BBC" and with the Chemical Brothers, Gilberto Gil, Scott Walker etc.), St Germain's new self-titled album, will be followed by a world tour, starting in November 2015, with most of the musicians who performed on the record.
Ludovic Navarre is back. When we least expect it! Welcome to new tales from St Germain.
Official website www.stgermain-music.com