Garlo at TEDx Bordeaux

It was in french, I made a translation of my own , here it is …

Working as a composer, or as a sound-producer is great, you are surrounded by tools that you love and that you touch all day & all night long.
BUT you are always in indoor confined places. Something was missing to me.
Since a long time I dreamed of making an artistic & a musical creation outside with a natural element.
I have heard of aeolian harps in the ancient greek time, that were played by the wind. I made tests with a guitar.
If you have a guitar & some wind, orientate the guitar in the wind and you will listen to a sound. I wanted to transform that sound into music.
This apparently simple dream needed a lot of works.
Create a music needed to multiply the sources so I made tests with different guitars & basses. I tried different non-standard chords that we call open-tuning chords, these chords sound perfect without putting your fingers on the guitar. We needed money, we had to create a team and to find the guitars.
Thanks to an incredible team, the dream turned to reality 19 years ago …

In october 1994, I put 54 guitars on the highest sand dune in Europe, La Dune du Pyla. Guitars were played by the wind.
The shape was the graphic representation of a bass guitar. 4 parallel lines with 13 instruments in each line.
Each line was managed by a musician. He was in charge of taking care of the guitars, of tuning the guitars depending of the chords I was asking for, orientating them in the wind and the wind alone was playing the instruments. In front of the lines , there was 2 more solo guitars with 2 musicians… so they were using vibrato, tuning or detuning during the guitars played by the wind.

Of course, Vent de Guitares was not just an acoustic research that I call geo acoustic, it was also a land art creation and a world premiere.

Compositions were written before, chords & notes I wanted to have, but of course when you get in the wind it’s alway’s an adventure, so compositions were reworked during the mixing sessions depending of what the wind have played or not. That music generates reactions. Some people hate it because it’s so different than other musics, some people love it speaking of a cosmic music …, but Vent de Guitares generates also physical reactions and not just among the humans.
The last day of the installation, the whole team have an incredible moment when for a few minutes stayed in front of us … 2 dolphins attracted by the high frequencies generated by the wind and transported by an east wind from the dune to the beach … a Magical moment.

Vent de Guitares cd was released, and made it’s life, and one day I had a proposition for a scouting trip in Japan.

I never do the same thing two times, so the idea there was to mix rythms to the wind… I am a bass player, so I love rythms.
That idea to mix modernity & tradition, urbanity & natural element, occidental world & Japan seduced french institutions and above all a big japanese communication company.
And the dream went on in Japan in Fukuoka in 1999.

Kaze that means wind in japanese took place in 3 steps.
First a geo acoustic installation. The shape was an exclamation mark. The point below the exclamation mark was made with a round circle of 32 guitars.
The vertical line was made with japanese elements linked to the wind, Flags / bamboos, bamboo flutes, big bamboos like a huge pan flute and furins , japanese traditionnal little chimes.
Coincidence or not ? The chosen site for the geo acoustic installation is the exact place where in the XIIIth century, Kubilai Kan Mongol invaders  were pushed away two times by the Kamikaze or God wind.

The second step was an exhibition downtown Fukuoka, with a plastic installation, videos, pictures, a painting and the music recorded during the installation. Kaze had turned into a french & japanese creation with different artists working on the wind. The wind enables me to meet different cultures to meet and to work with other artists beyond the language barrier.
Fukuoka inhabitants were very sensitive to that contemporary creation linked to a natural element that you are inclined to forget in a big city.

Kaze final were concerts with european rock musicians & japanese traditionnal musicians who were playing together with the recordings of the installation.
Music is a mix of instruments played by the wind, songs about the wind in french & japanese and rythms.
The idea is to show by the music & by the rythms that I don’t speak of a cool, light & idealised wind but also of a wind that can be strong & very violent.
During the Kaze 3 days installation, we got many media & no wind at all on the 1st day, then rain. After, wind became stronger & on the last day, we got a storm, we took off the installation earlier than previously planned because guitars were beginning to fly away.

Another dream was to mix my music with native american culture.
I am not a native american but I was born in Wendake reserve in Quebec & a part of my familly live in Western Canada in Saskatchewan, so I have seen native american people when I was a kid. Maybe that’s why I m interessed in native american culture.

I made 2 scouting trips in Arizona and in the Navajo country. I found beautiful & windy places, I met people, I made friends, I lived in the reserve & I met musicians who were ready for an adventure.
It was not so easy, but the wind helped me.
I have heard that a Navajo singer that I love was leaving in a village in the reserve. I did not have his address, I looked for him for a long time.
When I finally found him, we listened together to an extract of Vent de Guitares. We were in front of his trailer, it was windy, I went to the car to take my guitar, I tried it in the wind and the guitar was sounding beautiful, I put a headphone on his head he liked it, and …             … he begun to sing.
In Japan I got money & many media, but now nobody was really interested in my project in the « desert » with « indians ». So I changed the process.
I wrote compositions that we first recorded in Santa Fe with Verdell Primeaux & Johnny Mike two Navajo & Sioux  healing singers and Fernando Cellicion a Zuni flute player. And after, I made a mini installation with just one guitar & one bass, to make the chords & drones i needed for my songs previously recorded. I was alone, but in front of Monument Valley. A great moment.
Me coming from the european rock scene, there was just a slight chance to work with native american musicians. That’s the wind that enables me to make the link.


I want now to talk about a dream I am working on for 2014.
The idea is to create the first world wide geo acoustic creation, and you can participate. Musicians or not You, You, You. Everybody can be a participant.
We invite people to make a video while recording an instrument played by the wind in a windy place.
You can watch & listen to the participants on our Google map on our site
Guitars players  can of course use a guitar, handyman can build an aeolian harp, or flutes with plastic bottles or bamboos. You can also use a chime or a furin.
After the 15th of June 2014, the Global wind day, their music will be part of a huge, online musical evolving creation.
It’s not so easy to become a music played by the wind hunter, to be in an agressive place, frequently cold, but I promise you that being in a windy place while listening to an instrument played by the wind is an incredible experience.
So this dream is open and you can be part of it.

Finally, I want to say that of course there is wind everywhere, the wind enabled me to meet other people and artists beyond the language barrier and the differences of culture.
I think the wind is a universal messenger that is underused in art & in energy.
Fulfil his dream is of course a lot of works, but for me it was also to accept to let go.
When you work only with very well known tools , you look only in the same directions,
But in fact, directions become interesting ones, when you forget your conventional tools or when you mix them to anotherthing.
Work & let go, that was the lesson.
Thank you