Review of Show in Charlotte, NC
Photos from Charlottesville, VA
Review of Show in Charlotte, NC
Photos from Charlottesville, VA
After much anticipation Stephane and his band are ready to kick off the Dreamers of Dreams tour with their friends at Joe’s Pub in New York City! Please join them on September 13 at 9pm for a chance to hear Stephane and his band perform the album for the first time, and to get a copy of the new CD. Stephane’s seventh studio album takes you on a musical journey through image provoking compositions inspired by the band’s own worldwide experiences. Stay tuned for additional tour dates! Tickets can be purchased here.
We are excited to announce that the new album has been recorded and mixed! The finishing touches are still in the works, but a finished product is right around the corner. We are also working on our live show weekly on Sunday nights at Barbes in Brooklyn. If you’re in the NYC area, come check out a show, and stay tuned for the official album release dates as well as new tour dates. It’s going to be BIG! (more…)
Stephane and His Band are heading to Korea for two special shows in October! Starting in Seoul, Korea on October 3rd and Busan on October 5th for the 18th Busan International Film Festival.
We are also very excited to announce the release of Origins in South Korea very soon. This will be an exciting opportunity to expand our horizons, learn about new cultures and spread our music throughout the world.
Stay up to date with pictures and blog posts from Stephane in the Travelogue!
On September 28, 2013, Stephane will step back into his roots and curate an enchanting evening of music entitled “Django’s Dream: A Gypsy Swing Festival” as part of the 9th Annual NY Gypsy Festival. For one unforgettable night, this mini festival celebrates Gypsy swing of the 1930’s in unexpected ways under the artistic direction of Stephane Wrembel.
Kamlo will join Stephane, who interprets Django via the Mediterranean, and Flamenco and Gypsy swing-style guitar master Alfonso Ponticelli. The electrifying sounds of three of the world’s leading gypsy jazz artists – who each share a deep knowledge of Django’s style yet express it in individual ways – will move effortlessly between beloved gypsy jazz standards and stunning improvisations ending in a spectacular super jam finale.
Tickets are $35. For more information & to purchase tickets go here.
For three days in late September, Stephane will perform special collaborative performances with his longtime friend and fellow musician, Kamlo. Stephane and Kamlo have been friends and musical companions for over 15 years. Their connection has continued to evolve and has been reinforced by time.
The two share a palpable desire to express through music what is the most luminous in human beings, using a variety of cultures and genres to communicate with audiences. This powerful collaboration promises to be a riveting and unique concert experience. The duo will also be joined onstage by Stephane’s amazing band.
Wednesday, September 25 – DBGB’S – Buffalo, NY
7PM, Tickets $10 (all sales at door)
Thursday, September 26 – The Carriage House – Ithaca, NY
8PM, Tickets $20 (all sales at door)
Friday, September 27 – The Lovin Cup – Rochester, NY
8PM, Tickets $20
See a complete list of Fall dates here.
Stephane and His Band recently returned from a 2 week trip to Nigeria as cultural ambassadors under the US State Department’s “International Language of Jazz for Peace” program. As guests of the US Mission Nigeria, the trip aimed to promote mutual understanding between the American and Nigerian people by providing an opportunity for people in the sometimes troubled region to come together through music and fellowship.
Stops on the tour included headlining the Abuja Jazz Festival, visiting the University of Jos, performing for The U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria and guests including senior Nigerian leaders, Nigerian Ministers of State, and other ambassadors as well as alumni of the Fulbright scholar program, the Humphrey Fellows program, and the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP). Stephane also lead a variety of workshops throughout the region with local students and musicians. This once in a lifetime cultural music adventure culminated at a celebration for National Day, where Stephane and His Band presented the national anthems for the United States and Nigeria.
To read more about Stephane’s incredible african adventure, check out his travelogue for a first hand account.
In the French movie “La vie est un long fleuve tranquille” (An absolute must see masterpiece by the way…), one of the characters asks the main one : “Why don’t you ever talk about your life in Africa?”
“Because one cannot speak about Africa. Africa is something you experience”.
Well, this statement is so incredibly accurate. I have no words to describe the feelings left in me (or us, as the guys and I continue to talk about it all the time with the same sense of astonishment). I will try my best, in my French English vocabulary (Anglais pigeon?), to give you some details and insight into what we saw and experienced, in the form of questions and answers:
Why were we even in Nigeria?
We were part of the US Embassy Jazz Envoy program. Basically, as Ambassador McCulley said, music concerts that bring bands like mine to Nigeria are clear reminders of the strategic friendship between Nigeria and the United States. We were sent by the American government to share peace, love and friendship with the people of other countries in its name, and I like that.
Who was there?
The full team! Roy Williams on guitar, Dave Speranza on bass, Nick Anderson on drums, Terry Lapointe on sound, Cam Morin on management and photography, and I on guitar.
Who did we play for?
We played for everyone! The first night, we started with an intimate show for Ambassador Terence McCulley and guests at his residence, and we ended the trip by playing the official US Embassy’s celebration of America’s Independence on July 4th, at which we had the honor of playing both the American and Nigerian National Anthems for more than 300 guests representing nations from all over the world. In between, we played for the workers of the US embassy, for Nigerian people in Abuja and Jos, for kids in various schools, in Universities, radio stations and national television.
What an amazing experience, what a deep human and spiritual connection. I saw so many amazing people. Those I met at the Embassy, most of them are leaving their families, friends, wives behind, because it is such a dangerous place. They give their time and comfort to serve an ideal, and to genuinely help people they have never met, in a completely different part of the globe. And when I say genuinely, I really mean it. So much heart and kindness on the US Embassy team!
And what a joy to also be drawn into the hearts of the Nigerian people! Their soul is limitless, they are inhabited by such great spirit and kindness, it is just unbelievable! In the presence of such beautiful people, something grew in me, a sense of universal connection to my fellow human beings, a sense of real and deep brotherhood.
In Jos, a beautiful city in the highlands known as the Plateau State, an area that has been rife with both political and religious strife the last 10 years, we were bestowed Nigerian names and gifts. I really felt weird. I, the westerner who has everything and lacks nothing, received a t-shirt and a tribal name from people who largely live on a dollar a day. Like the guy said, “We don’t have much of anything here, but we have gifts for you”. And I won’t even try to explain how I felt when we went to give away some soccer balls and play with the kids at the orphanage….
Did we meet local musicians?
The day after we arrived, we had a chance to jam with a band called “ASO ROCK BAND”. A bunch of sweet and amazing musicians. We asked them to play a song for us, they started, after five seconds, we new we were now really in Nigeria! A true, authentic, badass afrobeat band! Wow…Then Baba 2010 showed up with his musicians to blow our minds even more; he was Fela Kuti’s keyboard player. Re-nuking of the mind….Absolutely incredible. These guys have that West African sense of rhythm that comes from a depth that only they seem to possess. We also had the pleasure of jamming with King Faj, a great guitar player who seemed to get a kick out of our guitar style :-). We jammed with Hosho (unbelievable singer), Big Daddy Cool, and a bunch of other musicians from Abuja and Jos. Africa Rocks…
Any crazy stories?
Nigeria is a dangerous place. The US Government took very good care of us. The craziest trip of my life was the 4 hour drive from Abuja to Jos.
It started at the Embassy where they had us fill out forms with private information and secret codes, “To have proof you are alive if you get kidnapped. If you get kidnapped, don’t worry, it takes us a few days to find you and get you out of there, so just be patient. And remember…the first offer is always to high!”. Nice…
We travelled with a Nigerian military vehicle opening the road for us, driving on the wrong side of the road if there was traffic, having cars move over by flashing their Kalashnikov rifles. On board our armored van was an armed guy from the military mobile police and a driver from the secret services. Behind us, two armored vehicles of the secret services, checking the road for us, and armed with some terminator kind of guns…everywhere we went we had armed guys locking things down and armed guards looking over us.
Was anyone rude or aggressive there?
The only rude people were a group of Chevron employees at the hotel in Abuja. They tried to cut in line in front of Terry at check in, like they were above the rest of us cockroaches. Terry gave them a good masshole ride for their money. Don’t mess with Massachussets
That’s it. It is very hard to describe what we really felt, minute after minute, the unfolding of a new universe within. For sure part of my soul stayed in Nigeria, and will continue to haunt my dreams.
Today was nothing short of incredible, and it was only day #2! We played a private party for the US Ambassador to Nigeria at his private residence. Ambassadors from Japan, Italy and France were there as well as a who’s who of Nigerian State Officials and US Embassy staffers. It was surreal to say the least. Here’s a picture of the guys soundchecking. We have tons and tons of photos and videos from the evening that we’ll post tomorrow once we figure out how to get them off of the camera Stay tuned!