“I always dreamt of an intimate record revealing our particularly erratic life as a musician. The movie “Steps across the Border”, the demos of the English Band X.T.C., Exile on Main Street, and Duke Ellington, lonely in the hubbub of his musicians, packing their instruments and leaving the studio, gave me the necessary swing for the making of this record.” Vincent Segal, October 2002.
Cellist for all fields with Mathieu Chédid, Dick Annegarn, Nana Vasconcelos, Susheela Raman, Blackalicious or Elvis Costello, Vincent Segal is one of the most elusive musicians of his generation. Bumcello, his duo with the drummer Cyril Atef, hustled all French stages for the past three years.
His first album “under his own name” had to be up to a persistent dynamiter reputation. Hidden under the colorful pseudonym “T-BONE GUARNERIUS”, Vincent recorded with his eight companions an “UFOs-album, a kind of crazy road-movie, both lived and dreamt, recorded live in selected locations and atmospheres according to the different tunes and Mr. Guarnerius’ imagination (a chapel surrounded by the sea, the Place des Vosges arcades, a section of the Porte de Bagnolet ring road...)
T-Bone Guarnerius: album by Vincent Segal (cellos) with Magic Malik (song and flute), Seb Martel (guitar), Piers Faccini (song and guitar), Mama Ohandja (song), Glenn Ferris (trombone), Vic Moan (song and mandolin), Gilles Coranado (guitar), Pascal Palisco (accordion).
Photo Crédit: Cécile Postel
In the movie “Wildstyle”, we see the D.J. Grand Master Flash calmly moving on “beats” at home. Seeing him quietly at home propels us light years away from the usual Rap’s anabolic productions. There is more class in the way Flash transforms his bedroom into a “Block Party” than in the video productions, in which no one perspires.
I always dreamt of an intimate record revealing our particularly erratic life as a musician.
The movie “Steps across the Border”, the demos of the English band X.T.C., Exile on Main Street, and Duke Ellington, lonely in the hubbub of his musicians packing their instruments and leaving the studio, gave me the necessary swing for the making of this record.
Each duo was recorded live by Philippe Teissier du Cros in the fields of my daily life.
I met Malik for the first time during a festival in Austria, as I was playing the bass for Mama Ohandja. During the journey in a bus, I had time to observe this weird troubadour lying on the luggage compartment and reading a Debussy score.
Malik is a secret man. From project to project, I see him growing up like a brother, but he still remains mysterious.
We recorded in this tiny chapel on an islet near Cap Frehel.
We reached it at low tide and we let ourselves surrounded by the sea for a part of the night. I wanted to share with Malik this magical place of my childhood. The metallic percussion heard in “Vienne” is just a rhythm made by a singing Malik striking on the wobbly rusty door with his ringed fingers.
The meeting with Seb, it is Julien Lourau setting up Olympic Gramofon (E. Lohrer, Seb, Shalom, Y and my Bumcello alter ego Cyril Atef).
Seb is a shaolin warrior, an hermit of today. While touring, when it’s time for the highway ‘taboulé’; Seb always makes his subtle cookery. In the summertime, when we sit at cafés terraces, he studies in a protective wood.
Seb likes daybreak. We therefore stood once with our heavy amplifiers (thanks to Elodie, Cécile and Pierre!) at four o’clock in the morning in the middle of July on the Paris ring road, Porte de Bagnolet. Covertly sitting on the asphalt, we submerged ourselves into this highly urban atmosphere of a white noise, of a still sleeping city, of stray rats. The view was exceptional. We were playing for Paris and no one noticed it. This Paris Seb knows so well, strolling around with his child’s scooter in the sleepy little streets.
Piers, this was the end of my adolescence in Paris. We heard night and day Wilie Mc Tell, Big Dady Kane, Caetano Veloso, Bade Gulam ali khan, Mansour Seck. We used to play together on the street, Agnès often came to listen to us. Piers has a sensitive inner life just like his painting. We played at Agnès’ home by the fireside, quietly, like a day during which friends meet again, intimately.
One evening, at the Metro station Château d’Eau, I watched Mama Ohandja, he had under his arm a pile of records: his 100 % bikutsi record. I bought his record, he took my phone number, intrigued by my cello box. But he taught me to play bass, we used to work without respite nor amplifier in his room at Corentin Cariou. He trained me in the way we train musicians from Cameroon: an extraordinary accuracy and a memory work! The first piece is a funeral song, usually played on the xylophone or with a “rock” band. I am pleased to play it on the cello. The second one is not a piece but the study of a piece on which I added a cello tambura.
This is the way we are studying and this interlude is a tribute to my masters Pierre Pennasson, Nana Vasconcelos, Glenn Ferris and Mama Ohandja.
Thanks to them and to my parents’ patience, I am a musician.
We recorded in Marseille in the Vilette area, where Mama lives and where I had the opportunity to meet his last daughter “Fanny” during a memorable meal.
Glenn, I personally went to fetch him in ’89 or ’90 after a concert with Nico Bunck.
“I play cello, in case you need it!” Twelve years later, he is still there to play and play and play. On each record of his trio, we play a Duke’s piece arranged by Glenn. For our duo, I wanted “Lotus Blossom” by Strayhorn. We recorded around 11 o’clock in my courtyard in the centre of Paris. It was quiet, neighbours were listening from their windows and the blackbird was singing.
Vic Moan always impressed me because he saw Monk playing at the “Five Spot”. When Vic is in a room, the curry is more spicy, women are more beautiful and one thinks “Tomorrow, I’m going to buy new shoes!”. We composed together “Soul Kiss”, but here it is “Bright Mississipi” which is played in his flat close to the station Nation. Vic is the big brother each child dreams of !
From a room under a roof he is renting in a house on the Place Daumesnil, the hypnotic lanes of the car traffic remind me Gilles’ writing. While I often give up composed music in favour of the incredible energy of “oral” forms, Gilles is the one reminding me the beauty of Webern’s music.
The problem with underground is the fact that we are forced for economic reason to play in rotten places, which do not honour the music we are playing.
I dream of the “Limelight” or the “Cigale” for Gilles Coronado’s music.
Pierre thus propelled us in this disused printing factory in Amiens. A magical place at the end of the day, we could feel it coming out of “Stalker” by Tarkovski. When the workers left in ’86, everything remained: machines, papers, tools, photos of naked women in the machine rooms, the P.T.T. calender with little cats in the reception room. All this with the rust and the silence broken by the rain on the glass roof…..
Every afternoon, musicians pass the hat round on the Place des Vosges, on Sundays, it is a perpetual hubbub, but with 18, passing the hat round in order to pay the movie, it is ideal. I met Pascal Pallisco thanks to Dick Annegarn.
I wanted to play “la Rédina”, at night, under the deserted arcades of the Place des Vosges. Passers-by stopped and we played. We were alright, but this indignant lady threw a bucket of water and shouted: “stop it, otherwise I call the cops”. This also belongs to a musician’s life.
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