St Germain brings Africa to electro after decade away

13th November 2015, Comments 0 comments

St Germain, the genre-merging electro artist key in the "French touch" sound of the 1990s, has re-emerged after more than a decade, this time with an eye on Malian music.

St Germain -- the stage-name of the French artist Ludovic Navarre -- sold more than three million records worldwide with his 2000 album "Tourist," as he pioneered a mix of slick jazz and danceable house music.

After 15 years away, he is back with a new album -- simply called "St Germain" -- and has returned to live performances, playing Thursday night at the Bataclan in Paris.

Scholarly and low-key, St Germain prefers to stay behind his equipment as he leaves the show to his seven accompanying musicians.

St Germain, whose last album touched on reggae and Latin rhythms, in his latest incarnation has found new joy in African music.

He was joined by the impressive Malian guitarist Guimba Kouyate as well as musicians on the ngoni, a small West African instrument similar to a guitar, and the kora, the harp that is emblematic of the region's music.

Other instruments included percussion, bass, flutes and keyboards from Mali, Senegal and other West African countries.

St Germain on Thursday released a video for the album's song "Sittin' Here" -- a dance track marked by African instrumentation and vocals -- featuring images of an artist drawing a beige city landscape with sand.

On stage, St Germain also obliged the crowd with tracks from "Tourist" as well as his more dance-driven 1995 debut album, "Boulevard."

St Germain has chosen the path of experimentation -- and, for more than a decade since, silence -- at a time when many other French electronic artists have stayed at the top of the international scene.

Air and Daft Punk, fellow bands in the French electronic movement in the 1990s, went on to become household names around the world.

St Germain started his tour in November in Belgrade and plans performances in coming weeks throughout Europe including in Britain, Germany and Spain.

He heads to North America for a tour next year that starts on March 31 at the 9:30 Club in Washington.

© 2015 AFP

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