“Progress on an Unfamiliar Path Requires Listening”

The village the place I grew up, between the Écrins and the Taillefer, was coated in snow six months a yr. Because the dignified son of a mountain information and ski teacher, I used to be keen on off-piste, mountaineering or climbing; strolling was only a chore again then, a obligatory step to take my dose of pleasure. I’ve all the time searched excessive for this depth of feelings, which I additionally discovered when listening to music.

Sure sounds actually made my hair stand on finish. One thing to pique my curiosity: however what do musicians do to create such an impact? I needed to grasp! So, about 8 years previous, I took the balalaika that was mendacity round at house, and I began taking part in to attempt to mimic these sensations. My father, of Russian descent, confirmed me what he had realized from his mom when he was a baby, and I did all the pieces once more by ear. If I favored one thing, I dug in that path.

“Down within the music”

Any model could make me tremble: conventional Russian music, Chopin or Prokofiev, Miles Davis or the Brazilian guitarist Baden Powell. For a very long time I did not know that different folks have been taking part in balalaika in France, till as a young person I met musicians whose work it was. Amongst them Nicolas Kedroff, one of many best of the time, who gave me an enormous pile of scores to learn.

I took them with me after we left to journey as a household for a yr, in direction of Mongolia. For us, the journey was extra essential than the vacation spot. And what number of international locations have been crossed! I had loads of time to benefit from it as a result of after graduating from highschool at 16, I took a yr off.

Throughout this journey I actually got here into contact with music. After I got here again, I took a BTS in sound engineering in Lyon, then I went to Moscow to review balalaika, conducting and piano on the conservatory. Throughout these two years I grew to become obsessed with studying and writing music. I lastly had the means to decipher the enigma, or thriller, that has fascinated me since childhood: the way it evokes in us an infinite palette of emotions. The reverse course of fascinated me simply as a lot: bringing out what we have now to make and share music.

If you compose, once you do it in an trustworthy and trustworthy method, you sink into your self and typically you might be confronted with elementary questions, along with your grey areas. By putting notes and sounds on what lives inside you, you possibly can progress, be taught rather a lot about your self, others, life, the world… However once you play, you have got the impression that you’re conveying one thing that comes from past your self and surpass your self utterly.

And that one thing invisible to the eyes has the facility to immediately join folks, past their variations. The musician is the truth is an middleman, and with a purpose to be that, he should search a sure transparency.

Since 2013, Gaspard and the musicians of the Tournée des refuges have enchanted the mountains with “an eclectic combine of latest world music and jazz”.


Contact, encounters and ease

After Russia I had a horrible want to journey. So I began giving concert events in Jap Europe, North and South America with acoustic and jazz bands. I’ve been in a position to experiment with several types of excursions. For instance, there may be the tremendous competition the place you carry out in a big corridor with sound. The place is prestigious, however the crowd is simply an vague crowd, and once you get house after three days, you have not seen something or anybody.

I understood the thought, however I did not prefer it. However, for a yr I joined a Canadian group in Colombia that did a truck tour from Northern Canada to Southern Argentina. Between the mounted dates deliberate within the halls, we improvised concert events wherever they needed to welcome us. I beloved this shut contact with folks, these encounters, this simplicity.

I hardly ever visited shelters, extra used to the mountain in bivouac mode, however someday I believed they’d be nice locations to do an entire tour. Two passions united! I admit I’ve missed the mountains, particularly in the summertime, as a result of concert events and festivals observe each other from June to September, and it is an infernal race for a musician, all the time between two trains or two planes.

My instinct matured little by little, which led to an unique concept: to prepare a mountaineering journey to convey music to mountain folks and to convey music lovers to the mountains. In 2012, I advised Florian Vella, with whom I had began taking part in guitar in highschool, and Alisa Ignateva, a Russian singer I met in Moscow, to begin this touring musical venture with me.

First refuge in 2013

In the summertime of 2013, we set out for an experimental “Tour of the refuges”: 11 concert events and 11 days of mountaineering within the Écrins massif. It was fairly intense, particularly for Alisa, who had by no means climbed a mountain earlier than! However this primary version satisfied me that we had an awesome concept right here. It appeared to me that I had captured one thing that was already consistent with the occasions: the return of acoustic music, the proximity of the viewers, the necessity to go away town, slowing down the tempo…

The idea definitely caught on, as a result of in the present day, along with our onerous core of 4 musicians, about twenty different professionals from everywhere in the world, but in addition sound engineers, photographers and videographers take turns each summer time. And individuals are writing us from throughout to ask us!

In 10 editions we gave virtually 400 concert events in as many days of strolling; that’s greater than 6000 km. The route modifications yearly. We have now walked on many mountain massifs, in France, Switzerland and Italy, but in addition within the French and Spanish Pyrenees, and even within the Negev desert, in Israel and on the island of Réunion.

Often we play in shelters, however typically additionally in church buildings, museums, cafes or festivals. Regardless of the place, we have now the identical requirement to supply each the connoisseur and the native shepherd the very best of our repertoire; an eclectic mixture of present world music and jazz, relying on the influences and musical style of every musician current.


Again to fundamental

We simply stroll, play, eat and sleep for a month and a half. Going again to fundamentals and disconnecting from the concerns and distractions of on a regular basis life does a variety of good. We solely take the necessities – admittedly, my backpack weighs no less than 20 kg, however it’s primarily the load of my devices, my headphones, a digital camera and albums! For a big a part of the summer time we do not cross a street, not even a automotive.

Nature, nothing however nature! The change of surroundings is complete, rejuvenation assured. Not being in your consolation zone, however transferring ahead on a transferring, unfamiliar path forces you to be extra versatile and attentive, which inspires creativity.

As soon as we arrive on the refuge, siesta is important earlier than we repeat. However the fatigue flies away as quickly because the music takes us on board. The viewers, who has additionally come an extended solution to come and hearken to us, really feel that we aren’t solely a music group, but in addition a rope celebration. In truth, we’re actually collectively within the journey. There’s a actual mutual assist and goodwill between us.

Connections within the joint effort

Connections are strengthened by strolling, connections are fashioned over time and thru joint bodily exertion. At some point we needed to placed on crampons and ice axes and tie ourselves as much as climb La Meije… Enjoying music means telling a narrative, and there we had a powerful story to inform when evening fell!

I, who did not like strolling very a lot, beloved it. It’s good for the physique, which is made for strolling, and in addition for the thoughts, which is lastly free to work, wander, assume and meditate. Final yr I transformed a refrigerated truck right into a home with a recording studio. This cell base camp permits me to make music whereas wandering right here and there.

For instance, if I’ve to compose music for films or reveals, I put my “home” in the midst of nature, in entrance of a lake or on the foot of the mountains, and I do all the pieces on foot! With the lives we convey to ourselves in the present day, we’d like these moments greater than ever after we’re not “doing” something, however the place we’re simply “being”.

musicians on the go
For the 11e version of the Tournée des refuges, which ends on August 14, musicians-hikers journey by the Belledonne en Vanoise massif, between Isère and Savoie: 46 days of mountaineering and as many concert events with free admission, within the evenings. “An accordionist from Ukraine ought to be a part of us if he manages to get out of his nation…”, says Gaspard Panfiloff. An expert performer able to cancel commitments to affix the journey? “It proves that this considerably loopy venture is smart! » And that he’s by no means an novice, as a result of the routes of Gaspard and his mates are organized to the millimeter: “ This represents greater than a yr of labor upstream. » Every live performance is recorded stay for spectators to observe on a USB stick, and every tour is the topic of an album.

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