Set up in 2000 by Aret Madilian (USA) and singer Beatrice Valantin (France) Deleyaman have released this year their ninth album. Their work is a deeply, artistic, creation mixing Etheral, Cinematic and Neo-Classic music influences together with poetry. The dreamy and sometimes mystic sound universe might remind the listener to Dead Can Dance. The band’s newest opus “The Sudbury Inn” is once again touched by grace and sensibility; an invitation to an imaginary voyage filled with prosperity. I talked about this new masterpiece with multi-instrumentalist Aret Madilian.
(Courtesy by Inferno Sound Diaries)
Q: In a previous interview you said ‘music is a an honest friend you can be with when you are all alone’. I can imagine it was a precious friend considering “The Sudbury Inn” has been written and recorded during Covid-19. How did you experience this period and how important your ‘friend’ has been during this period and the writing of the new work?
Aret: Yes, the writing and recording of “The Sudbury Inn” began during the first confinement period. The creative process was pretty much the same as it always is with the exception that writing and recording the new material started much earlier than if we had gone on tour and performed on the road as we had initially planned following the release of our previous album “Sentinel”.
I am well aware that it was a very difficult time for many and in many aspects, especially for those living in cities. For us, living in the countryside and being in our studio, taking this time to create and record was a natural thing to do considering the circumstances.
Q: I guess music is not your single, honest, friend as poetry clearly is also important to you and again adapted in the new album. How do you feel when reading poetry and especially Henry Wadsworth’s “Tales Of A Wayside Inn” which has been a great source of inspiration to the new album?
Aret: I think that poetry and most literature are other forms of expressing your relationship to the world, to life, to existential questions, to nature, to beauty and everything else in between. And lately I have a tendency to think that what we may probably be losing along the way as a civilization is ‘the beauty and the poetry of our world’. It feels to me as tough the world around us and us as humans in general, we’re paying a very high price for what we call ‘technological progress’.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s “Tales Of A Wayside Inn” inspired some of the songs of the album because it depicts a world or a relation to the living that is now lost. I wanted to bring something of it back to life just for a while, for a time.
Q: Apart from poetry can you tell us a bit more about the ideas behind the new album and how did “The Sudbury Inn” see the light?
Aret:The music always comes first, meaning that I usually create a fairly advanced musical framework for each song within which we can experiment vocal melodies with Beatrice and eventually bring other instruments into the compositions once we find the path to the heart of each song. To be able to experiment with vocals, Beatrice and I either set out to write the lyrics to the music or we go through our old books of poetry or even philosophy, looking for some inspirational resonance, a spark in a phrase, a sentence or even a few words. I came across “Tales Of A Wayside Inn” one evening while reading a poetry book, searching with those musical intentions. The prelude of the Wayside Inn immediately designed an atmosphere in my mind, an enigmatic old world mood which provided key elements for the work and what was to follow.
Q: You again worked together with several guest musicians. How did you get in touch and what has been their true impact to the achievement of the album?
Aret:Yes, we worked with three new musicians Eric Plandé (tenor saxophone), Pierre Baillot (soprano saxophone, bansuri and oud) and Benoit Fournier (drums). As for Madalina Obreja (violin), Jules Maxwell (piano on the song “Another Evening”) and Artyom Minasyan (duduk), they are all musicians we have collaborated with on previous albums and during our live performances.
Eric who lives in Frankfurt, contacted me in 2021 because he had heard some of our music through a mutual friend and had seen our live show with Fanny Ardant. We decided to meet at our studio in Normandy for some recording sessions which went so well that we naturally took it further from there.
I had contacted Pierre initially for the album “The Abbey Project”, a side project, that I was asked to compose for a multicultural art festival for the Abbeys of Normandy. I was very pleased with the outcome so I asked Pierre to also be a part of our new album.
Benoit who is a friend, used to be a drummer in a Prog-Rock band. I asked him to come out to do some recording sessions for the album which turned out to be extremely creative, he was inspired. He is now in our live line-up.
Jules Maxwell who is a friend with whom we toured Ireland together, contributed the piano part to one song of the album.
Artyom Minasyan is an exceptional duduk player and is a part of our permanent line-up so he was naturally to participate to the recordings as well.
And for Madalina, I knew from the start that I would ask her to play all the violin parts for our new album as she had done for our previous album “Sentinel”.
The contributions of all these wonderful musicians to “The Sudbury Inn” are extremely important. The texture and the organic feel of the ensemble, just could not be the same without them.
Q: You mentioned the famous French actress Fanny Ardant and I noticed there’s a new live show planned in Autumn with her. I can imagine she’s a real particular woman to work with but what kind of person is she and how will the show looks like? Any further, ‘big’, plans?
Aret: Yes, Deleyaman & Fanny Ardant concert-reading will be on September 13th at La Maison de la Poésie in Paris. It will be our third show with her.
Fanny is great to work with because she is really passionate about her work. She is a determined and intuitive artist but works very hard on the subtleties and details of her performances. We will be doing a concert-reading which will consist of a combination of our songs from various albums as in a usual concert, including songs from “The Sudbury Inn” and there will be times within the concert when Fanny Ardant will be reading an essay from the Swedish author Stig Dagerman which we will accompany with a specific music composed especially for her voice and the text.
We are also invited to perform a concert-reading during a literary festival in France called “Terres De Paroles” on October 4th. We will be doing that concert-reading with Dutch actress Maruschka Detmers.
We then have a few dates in France including one on February 3, 2024 at La Batterie in Guyancourt. We are also looking to put together some concert dates for 2024 in Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands.
Q: I noticed you already did some live shows so how important is to you to get back on stage again and how do you transpose the songs from studio to live adaptations? Do you’ve any specific way to prepare a live happening?
Aret: In the very beginning, we used to be more of a studio band but with time, experience and lots and lots of work, we are at ease and very happy with our live performances today as well. Yes, we re-arrange certain songs differently for the stage, at times because it is necessary and sometimes because we prefer to. I like to think of live performances as another opportunity to be creative but I also really like to keep the live versions of our songs as close to the album versions as possible.
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