From the West, with their ears to the Black Atlantic, Julien Gervaix and Damien Tes- son are both children of the collective and of improvisation, playgrounds for these complete multi-instrumentalists.
The first one puts his talents of arranger-saxophonist at the service of the Nantes collective Soulshine and of numerous formations – in turn funk or rhythm’n blues – where swinging is the rule.This is notably the case of the afrobeat group Walko, in which Julien Gervaix had the honour of sharing the stage and the studio for several years with Kiala Nzavotunga, guitarist extraordinaire for Fela Kuti and Egypt 80. Meanwhile, Damien Tesson was being trained as a dubmaster-guitarist-arranger at the reggae roots school with the digital option of the Vendée collective Shi Fu Mi Temple.This initiation led Damien Tesson to join, among others, the Nantes-based group BIBA (Bingy Band) and then to collaborate with Jideh High Elements, a key figure on the international dub scene, Roberto Sanchez and the team of his Lone Ark Studio, as well as Sana Bob, a famous reggae singer from Burkina Faso.And then, life being well done, the paths of Julien Gervaix and Damien Tesson ended up crossing within the jazz-funk combo Playtime, before meeting again in the Vendée a few years later.
With an obvious tropism for Afro-Latin grooves, tropical colours, electronic tricks and furious swaying, the two musicians create Ireke like a glass of well arranged rum. Here’s to us, here’s to you! As if guided by the spirit of the plant, Ireke toasts the immense richness of these danceable rhythms, true generators of life, connection and energy.
Like Legba, the Yoruba orisha of intersections and crossroads, Ireke thrives in the between worlds.Aware of the lineage of goldsmiths who preceded them, Ireke
knows his classics and humbly draws inspiration for Tropikadelic from the musical genius of Pat Thomas, Poly-rythmo Orchestra, King Tubby,Tony Allen, Fela Kuti, Maître Gazonga, Ernesto Djédjé or the Vikings of Guadeloupe. Ecstatic brass, 70’s keyboards, elastic guitars, round bass and world percussion: from this sonic heritage, Ireke makes a unique fusion, enhanced by the audacious contribution of his dub science, and a few electronic touches patiently flushed out in the studio – which the duo considers as an instrument in its own right.
Finally, to give voice to his compositions, on Tropikadelic, Ireke calls upon an army of serious enthusiasts, each member of which has come up with his or her own lyrics. Thus, alongside Ireke, we find the groove griot Pat Kalla (“Femme qui Danse”,“Love Is Jokin”), the Franco-Laotian reggaeman Amatah Keo (“Man Bo Diak”), the Vendée- based Agnès Hélène (“Petit à Petit”,“Oh Ma Chérie”) and Charly Sanga (“Bas Les Masques”,“Oh Ma Chérie”), the Burkinabè lion Sana Bob (“Métissage”) as well as the Nantes soulman Jy Cooly (“Kinkeliba”).
For the duo, music is above all a collective practice, an active liberation, a rhythmic approach to letting go, a source of communicative joy… In short, groove is the weap- on! And Ireke knows how to use it.
Ireke? Sugar cane in Yoruba. Like her, the duo loves tropical climates and intoxicating rhythms, quick to liberate the bodies gathered on a dancefloor. Afrobeat urgency, funk suppleness, dub alchemy, highlife jubilation: with Tropikadelic, Ireke summons the heritage of the masters and the audacity of machines to give life to new sonic territories. At the crossroads. For the love of groove.
Ireke? Sugar cane in Yoruba. Like her, the duo loves tropical climates and intoxicating rhythms, quick to liberate the bodies gathered on a dancefloor. Afrobeat urgency, funk suppleness, dub alchemy, highlife jubilation: with Tropikadelic (album march 2023), Ireke summons the heritage of the masters and the audacity of machines to give life to new sonic territories. At the crossroads. For the love of groove.
PETIT A PETIT feat Agnès Hélène is the first extract and first single from the new project now signed to Underdog Records.