It all started with a journey. In 2012, French trombonist Fidel Fourneyron decided to go to Cuba to find out more about the country that had inspired his name. Apart from a few essentials for the trip, he packed his trombone and one address: Calle Luz – ‘the street of light’. The place was recommended by his friend, the double-bassist Thibaud Soulas, who had lived there for a while and immersed himself in the life and music that sizzled all around him. Soulas came back to France with an address book bulging with new names and numbers, including those of three remarkable local percussionists – Barbaro Crespo Richard aka ‘Barbarito’, Ramon Tamayo Martinez and Adonis Panter Calderon – all members of the celebrated Osain del Monte Orchestra.

They returned to Cuba at the end of 2017 to link up with their friends and plug back into the Afro-Cuban ‘mains’. Fidel started to compose and record, superimposing new melodies and arrangements over a sacred Afro-Cuban core. They surrounded themselves with talented French jazzmen, many of whom belonged to the band Radiation 10. The Cubans joined them in Paris; a deeper dialogue was woven; the magic began to glide.

The word ‘magic’ won’t seem too far-fetched when you hear how all the music on this debut album has been irradiated by the age-old power of that percussion. The seven pieces are arranged like the stages of a ceremonial journey, with every stage bringing the listener closer to the beating heart of this musical encounter. It starts with ‘Kabiosile – saludo à Changó’, a ‘prologue’ in which the brass and wind instruments ‘sing’ a salutation to Changó, god of lightning and thunder. And it finishes with ‘Resistir’, an epic finale that takes the listener back through Afro-Cuban history, with its light and shadow, its joy and darkness, its chains and tears overcome by the resilience of an entire people, its hard-earned liberty won with music. In between lies a trance-like journey, a virtuoso ride with mind, heart and limbs fully engaged. These musicians give off an energy that’s makes it hard not to dance. That’s the strength of this project, and its novelty too.

Out on April 5th, they release their last single ‘Los Tres Guerreros‘, via No Format. This track is written on series of rhythms played by batas drums during Santeria ceremonies. They pay tribute to three warrior deities: The track opens with the childhood’s God, the one who opens roads, personified by Fidel Fourneyron’s trombone. For Oggún (metal’s warrior God), the Europeans instruments move aside to let the drums speak. The last part is a tribute to the God of forests and nature. The tenor saxophone and trumpet are stimulated by continuous interactions between bata drums, the bass/drums/keyboard and horns, leading to the final feverish and libertarian theme.


6/27 @ David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center (Nø Førmat! Festival) – New York, NY

6/27-29 @ Dizzy’s – New York, NY