“HEAR MY VOICE” EP #2 : TUi MAMAKi

I’m very happy to tell you that the 2nd ep from our vinyl series HEAR MY VOICE is out today!

So let me introduce you to our latest collaboration at my label Beating Drum, the wonderful singer songwriter from New Zealand, TUi MAMAKi.

I started the HEAR MY VOICE collection to launch a select group of new and exciting Folk voices and songwriters from around the world.
First up in the series was the fabulous Neapolitan singer songwriter Gnut last month and now it’s the turn of the enigmatic and haunting songs of TUi MAMAKi.

Discover now her debut 4-song EP in a gorgeous 12“ vinyl package or on digital music services.
CLICK HERE

“HEAR MY VOICE” EP #1 : GNUT

I’m incredibly excited to introduce you to our latest musical venture at Beating Drum. We’ve started a new collection of vinyl eps called HEAR MY VOICE to launch a select group of new and exciting voices and songwriters from around the world.

First up in the series is the fabulous Napolitan singer songwriter Gnut.

CLICK HERE to discover now his 4-song EP in a gorgeous 12“ vinyl package or on digital music services

“HEAR MY VOICE” #2 & #3 coming soon !!

VIDEO: Concert at Church of Saint Eustache in Paris

Last summer we brought the songs from I Dreamed An Island to the iconic Church of Saint Eustache in Paris.

Here are a few songs from that wonderful night of music I shared with my band mates Simone Prattico and Malik Ziad and my guests Jasser Haj Youssef and Djene Kouyate

To Be Sky (Music Video)

Written & Directed by Cyril Gfeller and Piers Faccini
Animation : Cyril Gfeller and Igor Kuzmic

“A map of the world that does not include utopia is not worth even glancing at for it leaves out the one country at which humanity is always landing. And when humanity lands there, it looks out, and, seeing a better country, sets sail.”
Oscar Wilde

For ‘To Be Sky’, our third video of songs taken from, I Dreamed An Island, I wanted to come up with a story that captured the essence of what had inspired me to write the album. As I wrote ideas down and exchanged with my co-director Cyril Gfeller this summer, I kept thinking of the beautiful and unique ancient Roman city of Palmyra in Syria and of its tragic vandalism by Isis. Somehow those images lingered in my mind and we decided to build a dramatic narrative, in some way inspired by that horrific footage. 



We imagined a series of mini theatre sets made out of paper upon which we would project real and filmed silhouettes. As well as an ongoing fascination with animation using paper cut outs, I felt there was something about its nature that captured the nature of memory that the video’s story revolves around. Torn up, burnt or rewritten, a paper world seemed the right metaphor for our fragile times.

to be sky 2

In ‘To Be Sky’, a lone protagonist arrives on a deserted island and as the song unfolds, we see him wandering through the different landscapes that he discovers; shorelines, forests, deserts and vast canyons. What is it that he seeks as he intones; “Found an ocean but it dried away, found a rock but it crumbled to dust..”
The climax of the video comes with the third verse when our lonely seeker finally stumbles upon what he’s been searching for. “To the gates of the temple I rode, I saw the ruins of the kingdom and wept”

But ruins are far from tragic if they’re looked after, like memories they must be dusted down and preserved. The price of forgetting them is too high to imagine! And for the video’s silhouetted protagonist, although he finds himself alone, walking through the ruins and the civilization that he’s been so desperately seeking is now long gone; at least with the ruins, he has the proof of its existence! 


to be sky1

Those who want to destroy the trace of history do so because it can be proof of a shared multi-cultural past. Revision of memory is the first step to whitewash history in order to re-write it. When Trump defended far right protesters after the events in Charlottesville, when many were marching under Nazi banners, he trod on the memory of Americans who died fighting Nazism in the 2nd world war as well as the memory of six million Jews who died in the Nazi concentration camps. There’s vandalism of another kind there too but no less shocking or dangerous.

For the complicated and slow process of making the video, I followed proceedings from a distance as Cyril Gfeller assisted by Igor Kuzmic used detailed paper cut stages sets combined with back lit projections. The multi-layered three dimensional sets where created with paper, using a vinyl cutter. The various scenes were captured in camera with a motion control system in order to create smooth and repeatable sequences with different passes. The small silhouetted character was filmed on green-screen and integrated in postproduction matching the style of the paper-cut. 


to be sky gif 3

“Last night, I dreamed an island and as I slept, I heard the music playing.
On her golden shores, I heard the blend of languages and traditions conversing
and of voices joyfully sharing the dance.
All night and through until the dawn, her graceful island music filled the air.”

La Plus Belle Des Berceuses (Book + CD)

Today my first ever children’s book La Plus Belle Des Berceuses was published in France by Actes Sud. I wrote and illustrated the story and the book also comes with a cd of lullabies that I wrote and recorded to accompany the story.
I hope the book will come out in an English edition one day but in the meantime and for those of who don’t read French, you can at least have a listen to the music and songs that I wrote and sang to go with the book.


Photos: Mr Cup

Dans l’île des Dormiens, tout va très très bien. Et surtout chacun y dort du sommeil du juste.
Les habitants de ce pays adorent dormir et consacrent un temps considérable à cette activité. Jusqu’au jour où le roi et la reine donnent naissance au petit prince Constantin, un nouveau-né très mignon… mais complètement insomniaque !
Dès lors, le sommeil de tout le palais, mais aussi du pays entier, est compromis. Il s’agit de trouver une solution radicale pour faire dormir cet enfant : et si on lui chantait une berceuse ?

Aujourd’hui c’est la sortie de mon livre disque, La Plus Belle Des Berceuses !
Pour accompagner l’histoire que j’ai écrite et illustrée, j’ai aussi enregistré un disque de berceuses originales. Le livre sort chez l’éditeur Actes Sud, il est maintenant disponible chez tous vos libraires, ainsi que sur mon shop Bandcamp où vous pouvez vous procurer un exemplaire dédicacé.

COMMANDER SUR BANDCAMP

J’ai écrit l’histoire en anglais mais pour sa version française, j’ai eu la chance de travailler avec une traductrice exceptionnelle, Amélie Couture, qui a su rester fidèle à la musique et à l’humour du texte original. Pour les illustrations, j’ai travaillé dans un style que je développe depuis quelques années, dessinant avec des découpes a la main de papiers colorés.

Pour la partie musicale du projet, je voulais chanter des berceuses dans des langues différentes mais pour que cela corresponde aux chanteurs et aux chanteuses qui se présentent à la cour de Dormia dans le conte, j’ai fait appel pour les voix feminines à deux merveilleuses chanteuses; Djene Kouyate et Florence Comment, qui chantent respectivement en Malinké et en Hindi.

Mes enfants sont assez grands maintenant mais j’ai toujours adoré ce moment intime, entre parent et enfant, qui est l’histoire du soir. On a l’impression que l’histoire lue à voix haute fonctionne comme un accès en douceur au monde du sommeil et des rêves.

Quand Actes Sud m’a proposé un projet de livre pour enfants, je savais que je voulais faire quelque chose autour du sommeil et des berceuses. Lorsqu’ils étaient petits, je chantais souvent pour mes enfants et je suis ravi de pouvoir laisser, à travers ce récit et ces berceuses, une petite trace de ce rituel intime et privilégié que j’ai vécu avec ma famille.