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Denez makes the tradition waltz

How do you feel a few days before the release of your eleventh album?

It is the result of a long work of more than two years, in exceptional conditions, very restrictive in terms of health. As I always do, I started by recording the voice, a cappella, around July 2019. Then, I worked with Nicolas Rouvière, who has the dual role of sound engineer and sound engineer. His studio in Plestin-les-Grèves (22) is very professional. By email, we sent the recordings of my voice to different musicians. James digger, who comes from hip-hop, is at the forefront of electro music, he has put colors of sounds there. Jonathan dour, a very great violinist from Saint-Michel-en-Grève (22), also intervened: he masters harmony very well, he laid several layers while following the song line perfectly, like an orchestra. The files were then sent to Cyrille Bonneau to make instrumental bridges. One thing leading to another, and it is the case to say it, the song is like a body which one dresses, many musicians thus contributed to the creation of this garment.

You surrounded yourself with renowned artists, some have already worked with you, others are surprises… How did the meetings go?

Because I find that it lends itself well to Breton singing, Youenn Kamm plays the trumpet there, it’s a new color. Just like the Argentinian bandoneon by Jean-Baptiste Henry or the kanoun by Maëlle Vallet. Against all odds, we orchestrated the different songs and each in turn came to the studio recorded. There is also Yann Tiersen, who has worked since Ouessant (29), with whom I have already worked.

“Stur an Avel”, in Breton, to be translated as “Le Gouvernail du Vent”, is the title of Denez’s new album, recorded in the Trégor. The music video for the song “Waltz of Life” was shot at the Château de Rosanbo in Lanvellec (22). (Denez)

With all these artists, several instruments and pieces are new in your style and, in particular, this waltz at the heart of the album?

The waltz is a style that was totally foreign to me, indeed. And one day, a melody came to me, an idea of ​​waltz on lyrics I had composed with my wife Stéphanie, a text in English. Around this track, which has since become the flagship title of this album, I called on Aziliz Manrow, country singer. My wish was to offer a musical diversion rather than a bridge. I also contacted an iconic rapper: Oxmo Puccino said yes from the first bars. They came to record a few months ago, last November.

The world is a meadow made of flowers and my music is one of the flowers of this meadow

You also shot a clip at Rosanbo Castle, in Lanvellec (22). Tell us about this experience?

Everything begins again and again with an idea that comes to me, at random. The last clip was about a drawing. There, during a walk with Stéphanie, we discovered a magnificent dovecote, perfectly preserved, an enormous monument. I found that it looked like a contemporary work of art, that it was exceptional, with that open ceiling that looks like an eye and that circular movement made me think of the waltz. Like a haunting spinning mill. I chose him to be the central character of the clip and Rosanbo Castle opened its doors to us: we see Oxmo Puccino in the large library, for example, and me, in this incredible dovecote. We shot for a day, it was a beautiful day out of time, in a time out of time.

Denez makes the tradition waltz
Denez, in his garden in Lanvellec (22) (Le Télégramme / Valérie Le Moigne)

We find in this album your key themes, between love and death. What message do you want to deliver with “Le Gouvernail du Vent”?

Coming from the gwerz, my songs are the verb; history, stories, often magnificent, on which we come to put a melody. Ancestral stories mixed with contemporary music. I like to evolve acoustically, bring an electro color, it’s an infinite range of sounds. Rhythmic balls and a repertoire to dance, two registers of trance music, where we take the audience in a movement. When I compose, I have two files on my computer, one for the lyrics, another with the melodies and, when I choose a text, the music comes in a magical, magnetic way.

Denez makes the tradition waltz
As for “Mil hent / Mille chemin”, it is Denez who signs the design of the cover of this new album. (Coop Breizh Musik)

And if the theme of death is recurrent, it is because it is very present in Brittany, we are never afraid to talk about it, on the contrary, it allows it to be exorcised. It is not a negative sadness, it is an outlet. In festive songs, it is love that is all about. I don’t feel like a committed singer, more of a messenger. A friend said: “I am an oak tree, no need for a sign on my trunk”; Me, it’s the same, I am Breton and I fully assume my condition of Breton and my branches, like those which one finds on the cover of the disc, are listening to the seven winds of the world. The world is a meadow made of flowers and my music is one of the flowers of this meadow.

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