Gabi Hartmann, the new star who combines French song with world music


First, it’s an image that caught our attention: a young woman whose fingers caress the strings of a nylon guitar. At a time when a power cut could put half the live show out of work, a singer seems to be mocking computer-driven music and clumsy in-ear drum clicks like in the 40s. For Gabi Hartmann, 31 years old, brown hair, seawater eyes and a discreet nose ring, only the beating of a human heart acts as tempo.

After a remarkable EP in 2021, the Parisian, who embraces the swinging reverses of Afro-jazz and Brazilian music with riding grace, releases a first album with sparkling charm. Evolving from French to English, through Portuguese and Arabic, these fourteen postcards tactfully and gently follow the path opened in recent years by Norah Jones, Madeleine Peyroux and Melody Gardot.

On the Road by Jesse Harris

That’s a good thing: the man who co-produced his record worked with these three jazz voices. Jesse Harris, winner of a Grammy Award for his song I don’t know why placed at the opening of the album come with me (27 million sales for this preliminary Norah Jones item). The young French woman found herself in her path when she had responded to the invitation of a Brazilian composer who asked her to record a title in French for the Rua das Pretas collective. “Jesse Harris had been asked to play banjo on a piece on the record. He seems surprised, but this kind of meeting seems almost normal to me because in my network of musicians everyone is on the move all the time.”

The ethnomusicology student was returning from a stay in South Africa after having already lived in Guinea, Portugal, London and Rio, where he encountered the complexities of Brazilian music. In New York, Jesse Harris opens the doors of his studio to him and invites him to perform with him in the legendary Birdland room, inhabited by the ghost of Charlie Parker.

Done to Nina Simone and Charles Trenet

The question now is to understand why a producer of the stature of Jesse Harris was interested in the project of a stranger from Paris to the point of co-writing half of her album with her. We find her in the heart of the Goutte-d’Or in a place that suits her globetrotting spirit: the 360 ​​Paris Music Factory, which will host the 16th edition of the Au fil des voix festival with artists such as Portuguese of Cape Verdean origin Carmen Souza or the Mediterranean folk jazz duo Madeleine & Salomon formed by singer Clotilde Rullaud and pianist Alexandre Saada. In the eyes of an American, this singer who grew up in Paris embodies all the exoticism of French song.

This is also how the artist, nurtured by both Nina Simone and Charles Trenet, is considered as a unique object that integrates naturally into the concept of world music. Hear how this classically trained pianist melts into the swinging rhythms of the The disease of love by Henry Salvador. Hear this almost self-taught guitarist take a curio from Fernandel, misunderstood lovewith the Sudanese flautist Ghandi Adam.​

And check out this amazing adaptation of The sea by Charles Trenet: “The sea we see dancing has reflections of blood / The bodies of the castaways, in oblivion, overturning. » In the sea, the doctor’s daughter saw the souls stranded under her house, Porte de la Chapelle. “In 2015, like many residents of the neighborhood, we mobilized to help the migrant camps. There were Sudanese and Syrian musicians, so we even organized concerts. » What joy when a foreigner reveals to us a part of our heritage.

Gabi Hartmann ***

(Sony Music). In concert on Tuesday at 8.30 pm in the auditorium of the musical Seine.

Source : Le JDD

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