The story behind the album…
I bought my caisa in 2008. I had seen videos of guys playing Hangdrums on the internet and I immediately fell in love with the instrument. I could see what I would be able to do with it and I had to get one!
I bought my caisa- a model from German steel drum maker Bill Brown- through a live auction happening on eBay. When I received it, I immediately played it the way I was hearing it in my head before ever having it in my hands!
It was quite a magical moment, but also quite frustrating because I felt like I already knew it and wanted more, something more challenging. Still, I created one piece and eventually another a few years later, but I was never totally satisfied.
Around the same time I started a musical journey that I knew would probably never end. I had discovered a style of music like no other- a blend of American jazz music and European folklore- called Gypsy Jazz in which complex harmonies with simple and delicate melodies are all played mostly with acoustic instruments.
In desperate need of learning what this music was about, between theory, practicing my guitar and actually playing music, I never felt ready to write my own pieces. Every time I tried, I felt frustrated not being able to understand enough of what I was hearing to put it on paper.
I eventually created my own band with the great singer/cellist Shana Tucker in summer 2012 and this is when I decided to dust off of my caisa and give a shot at my compositions. I quickly realized that every time we played, people would be attracted and inspired by this instrument.
After being asked to perform for a festival in Los Angeles with it, I figured, why not record some of those songs so people can actually buy them if they wish? I had about two months left before the gig, not much time left between family life and work, and two songs to record but nowhere to do so.
I naturally turned to my good friend Lionel Hamel, who was immediately excited about the project. There was only one problem, “two songs are not enough,” he said. “If we have to do this, a good six titles would be much more appropriate. OK! lets do this!”
What he said clicked in my head and I was composing everyday, all day long. New ideas flourished out of nowhere. Actually, I heard most of them just before going onstage! As a performer for a cirque show, there are always those few minutes, seconds, that precede the opening of the curtain when I would suddenly hear something, and hope that when I get offstage I would still remember it.
I lost a few ideas like that. I would run off stage as if a number two was on the way, grab my phone and record the different ideas… or not. I could hear cellos, gypsy and flamenco guitars, didgeridoos, percussion of all kind, body percussion.. all of them surrounding the caisa. And what an amazing feeling to be able to actually hear for real what was originally buzzing in my head like a fly on a buffalo’s tail!
About two months later we had eleven tracks recorded! The LA gig got cancelled, but I had a whole album that quite represented my little existence and musical influences of this time of my life… The one I seek to be, places I want to visit. I was the caisa either being highlighted in a big urban city ( Eveil/ Awaken), wondering the streets in Africa ( En Apaisenteur ), chilling on a Brazilian beach (Early Bird), horseback riding in a sandy desert (Desert Ghost) or just daydreaming under water (Big Blue).