The much-anticipated self-titled album from St Germain (Ludovic Navarre), which comes 15 years after the commercially and critically successful Tourist, was released on Nonesuch Records in October 2015 to acclaim. NPR declares that Navarre “remains a sly master of the textural mix,” and the Wall Street Journal calls it “a clever and very pleasing album, one that justifies the long wait.” In support of St Germain, Navarre has embarked on a world tour. In a four-star review of his London concert, The Times (UK) wrote, “[St Germain] filled the hall with an ocean of sound. Western instruments mingled with African strings…it took flight, unfurling into life-affirming polyrhythmic jams…” Navarre brings this larger-than-life show to North America this spring. A full itinerary is below.
Watch this live long-form video clip from his performance at The Bataclan in Paris on November 12, 2015. Shot by Charlotte Vasseneix, who directed the “Real Blues” video, it highlights St Germain’s first Parisian show in over a decade.
For the St Germain live show, which KCRW calls “a must see at this year’s Coachella,” Navarre will be joined by revered Malian guitarist and n’goni player Guimba Kouyate (whom Brian Eno recently heralded as “the greatest guitar player I’ve heard for years and years”), Senegalese kora player Cheikh Lo Ouza Diallo, and Brazilian percussionist Jorge Bezerra, all of whom perform on the album, as well as Didier Davidas (keyboard), Sadio Kone (n’goni), Edouard Labor (saxophone & flute) and Sullyvan Rhino (bass), with Navarre himself at the center, acting as musical director.
On March 11, Navarre digitally releases a new set of four remixes of tracks from the current album, including a remix of “Real Blues” by DJ Deep & Romain Poncet, and three versions of “Sittin Here,” by AtJazz, Boddhi Satva, and Terry Laird.
St Germain’s albums Boulevard (1995) and Tourist originated a genre of French electronic music. His self-titled record marries percussive grooves, always central to his sound, with traditional Malian instruments.
St Germain features various musicians and singers from the African diaspora and beyond including the touring band’s Kouyate, Diallo, and Bezerra, Malian kora player Mamadou Cherif Soumano, Malian violinist Zoumana Tereta (on “How Dare You”), Senegalese bass player Alioune Wade Malian n’goni player Adama Coulibaly (on “Family Tree”), Malian vocalists Nahawa Doumbia (on “Sittin’ Here”) and Fanta Babayogo, among others.
St Germain’s move closer to the source of the jazz and blues elements that were essential ingredients in Boulevard and the internationally acclaimed Tourist led to his interest in those genres’ roots in West African music. Tourist, which sold nearly three million copies worldwide (more than 300,000 in the U.S. alone), was equally embraced by jazz and electronic music circles, reaching #1 on Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz Albums chart and being named one of the Best Albums of the Year by Rolling Stone. In France, the album won three Victoires de la Musique awards (the French equivalent of the GRAMMYs), including Best Jazz Album, Best Electronic Album, and Best Live Performance. On the 250-show tour that followed Tourist, St Germain performed at venues ranging from London’s historic Royal Albert Hall to the Glastonbury and Coachella festivals, with guests including Herbie Hancock, Jamaican guitarist Ernest Ranglin, Jamaican jazz pianist Monty Alexander and legendary French jazz vocalist Claude Nougaro.
St Germain Spring 2016 North American Tour
April 2 - New York, NY - Webster Hall
April 4 - Boston, MA - House of Blues
April 5 - Quebec City, QC - Imperial De Quebec
April 6 - Montreal, QC - Metropolis
April 7 - Toronto, ON - Danforth Music Hall
April 9 - Detroit, MI - St. Andrews Hall
April 10 - Chicago, IL - Vic Theater
April 11 - St. Paul, MN - Fitzgerald Theater
April 13 - Denver, CO - Ogden Theatre
April 15 - Indio, CA - Coachella
April 16 - San Francisco, CA - Mezzanine
April 18 - Vancouver, BC - Commodore Ballroom
April 19 - Seattle, WA - Moore Theatre
April 21 - Los Angeles, CA - Fonda Theatre
April 22 - Indio, CA - Coachella