Que Vola?

28/02/19Dazzling French-Cuban Jazz Collective Drops Debut Album On Nø Førmat

Que Vola? This simple phrase, which translates to 'what's up?', is not just a common greeting in Cuba, but also the name of a new French-Cuban jazz collective that is currently on the rise and has just delivered an outstanding debut album on French imprint Nø Førmat (Toto Bona Lokua, Mélissa Laveaux, Oumou Sangaré). 

Back in 2012 French trombonist Fidel Fourneyron embarked on his first trip to Cuba, to find out more about the country that inspired his first name. With him he had his trombone and an address given to him by double-bassist Thibaud Soulas, who'd previously spent some time there: Calle Luz, 'the street of light'. Soulas also connected Fourneyron with three young Afro-Cuban percussionists, all members of the fabled Osain del Monte ensemble. 

Fidel immersed himself in the magical world of Cuban rumba and Yoruba rhythms, of ancient rituals and sacred chants. But it took another five years until the new ideas that had taken hold of him fell into place. Surrounding himself with talented French jazzmen, Fidel returned to Havanna to reconnect with his Cuban friends and when they in turn visited Paris, the dialogue intensified and the magic began to happen.

The group's self-entitled debut album contains seven dazzlingly virtuosic compositions, one of them being a track called "Calle Luz", which you can watch in the video below: "The video tracks the tune’s insidious, percussive groove and bright, taut bursts of horn section to a dawn-to-dusk glimpse into the life & music of Calle Luz. Speaking about the track, Fidel Fourneyron says, 'The musical theme played by the wind instruments is a hint to rumba singers - it’s a simple song with only 5 notes. 'Calle Luz' is a memory from this place, my first souvenir from Cuba'."

If you are just as intrigued as we are by this story, do check-out Que Vola's ongoing, five-episode web series. Here you go: ONE, TWO, THREEFOUR and FIVE. Now you know what's up. 

Que Vola? are
Adonis Panter Calderon (percussion)
Aymeric Avice (trumpet)
Barbaro Crespo Richard (percussion)
Benjamin Dousteyssier (alto sax)
Bruno Ruder (Fender rhodes)
Elie Duris (drums)
Fidel Fourneyron (trombone)
Hugues Mayot (tenor sax)
Ramon Tamayo Martinez (percussion)
Thibaud Soulas (double bass)

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom