Orange Blossom 

The Artists

Orange Blossom has been around for ten years. Starting as a trio, they recorded a first “electro-ethnic” self-produced album in 1997, choosing to work with Yelemba percussionists and dancers from Abidjan. They then did a project with the group Ganoub, traditional Egyptian and Nubian musicians. After a month of living in Cairo, they toured Egypt, France, and the Benelux countries.

When the original singer left the band, they recruited a new singer and a percussionist and began creating their own unique style. Mathias, a devotee of African percussion, who trained with the Yelemba drummers, became addicted to traditional trance music. PJ the violinist, immersed in Anglo-Saxon culture, passes melodies to Leïla, who is inspired by the oriental melodies passed down through her family tradition. And finally Carlos, an unclassifiable drummer and percussionist who grew up in Mexico, arranges and programs the sounds.

Confident in their way of communicating after ironing out the kinks in hundreds of concerts across Europe, Orange Blossom headed back to the studio and in 2005 released a second album, Everything Must Change, which bears witness to the path traveled towards the peacefulness that comes with a rich, unclassifiable music on a constant quest. The guest musicians on the album include a classical string orchestra, a brass section, an opera singer, and African vocalists. They all add their special flavor to the musical mix that is based more on dialogue and spirituality than the effortless effects of an attempt at fusion based on clichéd rhythms packaged in disposable synthetic sounds.

Orange Blossom is working on a new means of expression, an auditory alchemy that harmoniously blends European electronic beats with echoing melodies and colors from the mysterious East and tribal Africa. It is a true synthesis, not an amalgam of disparate elements, but rather a multiplication of these elements that achieves a homogenous sound, a storm of sound that speaks to everyone by getting to the innermost depths of our memory.

They spent the first part of 2006 sharing their ecstatic sound on tours through Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, the Czech Republic, and across North Africa. They spent the following summer enchanting crowds at the major festivals in France.

Rather than creating a fragile stardom for themselves by formatting their songs, Orange Blossom has chosen to be true artisans. Their music honors the tradition of the minstrels who, for time immemorial, have crossed lands to offer up songs to those who are attuned to different worlds – both worlds of dreams and of sharing, of communion through a form of music which is inclusive rather than exclusive. (adapted from a write-up by Jean-Eric Perrin)

Leïla Bounous : vocals
PJ Chabot: violin
Carlos Robles Arenas: drums, djembe, arrangements
Mathias Vaguene: djembe, bougarabou

In the Press

Everything must change: A beautifully-crafted opus wherein Eastern melodies embrace electronic grooves. Everything must change is, all in all, truly a masterpiece. Sounds, images, climates – all the ingredients have blended together to create a timeless score. To achieve this global sound, Orange Blossom sought out different artists, including The Cosmic Orchestra, whose strings reinterpret Tchaikovsky along with Ivorian chants by the band Yelemba (Lassana Coulibaly and Alama Koné Seydou) on the track Bendimina. Chacha Hills brass which, in the spirit of 1970s Pink Floyd, responds to the electronic grooves and sampled voices on the song Désert Dub. Soprano Marion Tassou’s contribution gives Souffrance the feeling of a neo-pop mini-opera.
Radio France Internationale (RFI)

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