Mino Cinelu and Nils Petter Molvær today announce release details for a joint album, ‘SulaMadiana’, due out September 4, 2020 via BMG’s Modern Recordings label. The news arrives alongside the first single to be released by the French percussionist and Norwegian trumpeter, ‘SulaMadiana (For Manu Dibango)’.
Nils Petter Molvær and Mino Cinelu had both come a long way in their careers before they met. Cinelu gained international renown on Miles Davis’ albums We Want Miles and Amandla, also noted for his playing with the likes of Weather Report, Gong, Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheny, Sting, Santana, Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson, to name just a few. He has also released 3 solo records and collaborated with Dave Holland and Kevin Eubanks on the World Trio album. Nils Petter Molvær, meanwhile, is one of the most outstanding figures in European jazz. In 1997, he made his debut on ECM Records with the album Khmer, combining the Nordic feeling of nature with the Southeast Asian philosophy of sound. His journey into the uncharted areas of music spans almost a dozen records, on which he explores various combinations of acoustic and electrical sounds. He collaborated with Berlin’s electronic producer Moritz von Oswald in 2013, with the reggae philosophers Sly & Robbie in 2018 and with Bill Laswell on several occasions.
Cinelu and Molvær in some senses represent two worlds, which – at first glance – could hardly be more different. Their musical home is the entire planet, but while Molvær’s hoarse and cloudy trumpet sound evokes boreal cold, Cinelu stands for the rhythmic fire of Latin America and Africa. On ‘SulaMadiana’, they’ve found their common playground – the album’s title itself a tribute to the two musicians’ heritage. Sula is the Norwegian island from where Molvær grew up, and Madiana is a synonym for Martinique, from where Cinelu’s father hails.
SulaMadiana is a cornucopia, spilling out reverberations of Miles Davis, Gong, and previous works of Molvær, and yet Molvær and Cinelu open up doors to entirely new worlds. Cinelu becomes a singer on his percussion, while Molvær’s electronically distorted sounds create a driving pulse. Cinelu plays acoustic guitar, Molvær conjures up drones on the electric guitar. The interplay between the two musicians is key, Molvær observing; “We are different, but what we have in common is that we like to give some space to things. I create space for him, he creates space for me, and we both create space for music.” Cinelu adds: “It doesn’t matter who has what share in music. We both know each other’s cultures, we find bridges and crossings, and often we walk these paths that lead in the same direction. We wrote everything together and followed our feelings. There are no limits or barriers.”
There are many ethnic and historical references on the album – on lead single ‘SulaMadiana (For Manu Dibango)’, Cinelu deliberately bows to his mentor, the late Manu Dibango, whom he calls a sage. Elsewhere, tribute is paid to the recently deceased Afrobeat master Tony Allen, and to the jazz drummer Jimmy Cobb, who also left us just a few weeks ago, and with whom Cinelu shared the Miles Davis experience.
Molvær and Cinelu first met back in 2015, at a solo concert Molvær was playing in Turkey. Soon agreeing to embark on a joint project, it wasn’t until more meetings in different parts of the world and several years later that they finally got together for a studio session in Oslo. In early 2020, the recordings were rounded off in Cinelu’s studio in Brooklyn, with post-production later completed as a remote, transatlantic endeavour following the emergence of the global C19 pandemic. Recalling the process, Cinelu enthuses; “The best way to start something is to start it. So I said: ‘let’s get started’. Nils brought a groove along which I liked, we enriched it with sounds and other grooves, wanted to find a melody, and it just made ‘Bang’. It was a real trip. A lot of blood, sweat and tears, but even more love.”
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