Šarivary: Melanž

6 June 2019, 1:00

Šarivary: Melanž

The title of this album is deceiving. Although the group Šarivary uses the Czech phonetic transcription of the French expressions charivari and mélange, it is not composed of any Czechs. The quartet that got together in Brno is headed by French singer, flutist and accordionist Aude Martin and American guitarist and singer Chris Coleman. Besides them, the band is formed by Swedish trumpeter Christopher Strandh and Slovak bass guitar player Tomáš Ulahel. The band's music is as colourful as its motley ethnic composition.

The quartet members are no newcomers to the domestic scene. Chris and Christoffer appeared together in the group Mosskin, and Christoffer is in addition to that also known for example from his long term cooperation with songwriter Beata Bocek. While in Šarivary he appears above all as a trumpeter, sometimes he performs as a bassist at concerts and recordings of Czech musicians. Aude Martin has been involved in the cultural life of Brno as the director of French Alliance and is still the dramaturge and production manager of the festival Bonjour Brno.

The dramaturgy of the Šarivary's debut album originated seemingly using the system called "How the Dog and the Cat Baked a Cake". Each of the band members brought in what they liked, including their native language and poetics. The result, however, quite surprisingly is not a disgusting "melange", but a nutritious mixture of different moods, pleasant to your ears,  in which other musicians sprinkle spice, according to their best conscience, on what the frontpeople – that is, Aude or Chris – have prepared. Aude is singing her songs either in her native language (a pleasantly capricious confession to her mother called Chanson pour ma mère [A Song for My Mother]), or in her own incomprehensible language (Marala Tisa). Chris tells his stories – and in his case these are actually more epic songs, sometimes even autobiographical – in English (Lucy in the Forest, As Warsaw Sleeps). Christoffer also had his share on the album as an author – his  song of Colour of her Day has, as a secondary theme, the issue of language (with the use of some Swedish words) and likewise the song Les idiomes, the lyrics of which were jointly written by three members of the band, is composed of conventional phrases in English, French and Swedish. An interesting diversification for the French-speaking listeners is the text of Victor Hugo's  Les pauvres gens [How Good Are The Poor] put to music.

From the point of view music of Šarivary's production is (if the handwriting of the three authors can be summarized using a single characteristics) closest to what is referred to as urban folk in this country. Due to the significant role of Aude as a vocalist, the proximity to French chanson is rather understandable; some songs of the band have a slightly jazz touch (Weekend Plans, Fils de la terre [Son of Earth]), while Les idiomes is swinging. Chris Coleman in his As Warsaw Sleeps gets close to modern songwriters on the borderline between folk and high-quality pop, some of the songs are not far from world music without necessarily defining the area from where their author (yes, in this case is Aude again) is drawing – Marala Tisu and Renemo. The song Imago then goes, thanks to its repetitive and meditative nature, into contrast with faster and actually hit songs such as Chanson pour ma mère.

This concept, when a band arises from the joint music-making by players of different nationalities who try to interlink their musical foundations and moods, is not unique. The band Miramundo has also given several concerts in the Czech Republic, headed by Brazilian singer and songwriter Luiz Murá, who in Spain met musicians from Italy, Catalonia and Mexico. Šarivary works on a similar principle, it just has more than one leader. Thanks to the fact that Chris and Aude share the repertoire both as performers and authors, and that Christoffer is also involved in the composing (by the way, his trumpet is crucially important for the overall sound of the album), Šarivary can be a welcome item for festivals of various genres, city festivals and club concerts. This band is definitely worth getting to know about.

Šarivary – Melanž; self released in 2018. 12 tracks, total time: 43:14

Photo from FB of the band

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