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Take Five With Berangere Maximin

AAJ Staff By

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Berangere MaximinMeet Berangere Maximin:
"Berangere was born on the remote French colonial island of Reunion in the Indian Ocean and moved to France at the age of sixteen. A resident of Paris since 2002, she has performed as a singer in rock and world music bands and also studied electro-acoustic music with Denis Dufour at Perpignan conservatory. Working out of her own Home Sweet Home Studio in Paris, her work is seductive and beautiful. Tant Que Les Heures Passent (Tzadik, 2008) is her debut CD and presents six environmental landscapes that pull you in and hold your attention with a keen sense of detail and subtle sense of surprise." —Tzadik

Computer / every day objects / voice.

Teachers and/or influences?
Denis Dufour, John Zorn, Diamanda Galas.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when...
I started to sing in the bathroom at the age of four.

Your sound and approach to music:
As a composer I am most interested in preserving the spirit of live music in the studio, a passion passed on to me from my friends—guitarists and singers in rock and world music bands. Working out of my own Home Sweet Home Studio, I shoot sounds in a dark silent room, record soundscapes and acoustic sounds, play with sampling, digital effects, perform on a variety of objects and sing.

I've written musical works for concert and radio shows, and have contributed greatly to the French Contemporary Music Movement. My attraction to light and powerful sounds gives my work a very unique quality.

The large spectrum of heterogeneous sounds which are chosen without complex or dogma, the hypersensitivity to the most intricate nuances, the precise and joyful writing, the playing with the space, are the marks of my style and can seduce the most uncompromising pair of ears.

Your teaching approach:
Try all you can. No dogma but precise knowledge and research.

Your dream band:
I dream of working with Robert Hampson (we're supposed to collaborate soon), Simon Fisher Turner, Yoko Ono and Trey Spruance.

Anecdote from the road:
I'm always surprised when people tell me there are too few women artists in the world. Do we live in the same time and space?

Favorite venue:
Salle Olivier Messiaen, Hall of Radio France (Paris);
Motus at Palais de Tokyo (Paris);
Auditorium of the Central Conservatoire of Beijing; (China)
Fringe Festival in Dublin; (Ireland)

Your favorite recording in your discography and why?
David Bowie, Lodger—sounds perfect;

Miles Davis, Bitches Brew—my first jazz record;
Diamanda Galas, The Singer—also my favorite live performance;

Bob Dylan, The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan—my encounter with great lyrics and poetry in music.

What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically?
The big deal for me is the perception of space in music.

Did you know...
I practice guitar and have started to compose some stuff.

How do you use the internet to help your career?
I use internet every day to help my career. I submit my works to different festivals and concert producers, I keep connected with students or younger composers, I send news and bonuses, and I visit my friends' and relations' websites.

CDs you are listening to now:
Diamanda Galas, Guilty, guilty, guilty (Mute);
John Zorn, Six Litanies for Heliogabalus (Tzadik);
Secret Chiefs 3, Xaphan, Book of Angels Vol.9 (Tzadik);
Laurie Anderson, Anthology (Rhino).

Desert Island picks:
David Bowie, Lodger;
Talking Heads, Fear of Music;

Miles Davis, Bitches Brew;
Diamanda Galas, The Singer;
Lou Reed, The Blue Mask.

How would you describe the state of jazz today?
As the other music genres, multiple, nourishing, infinite.

What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing?
Let it go!

What is in the near future?
Shows in France and Italy;
Second Album on Tzadik in 2009;
A theatrical show after the Daniil Harms novel The Old Woman;
An electro-acoustic commission, thema : Recycling.

By Day:
I also handle my husband's business as a manager.


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