Bonjour is not quite your average chamber music ensemble. With a rather uncharacteristic instrumentation, this group has altered the rules of the game. Formed around the music of composer and bassist, Florent Ghys, they made their official debut at NYC’s Flea Theater in the spring of 2012. The music they play freely crosses the boundaries between pop, minimalist and contemporary.
The works from Bonjour’s eponymous debut album are musical snapshots. Performed in no particular order, each one represents a day of the week and its associated mood, and some, like “Friday 3 PM,” are more specific than others. Ghys draws on the Indian classical tradition of raga, the Western classical tradition, jazz and other popular music to craft his own idiosyncratic style that by turns builds like the best kind of post-rock anthem, grooves like a hocket-obsessed West African funk band, and has the harmonic vocabulary of a synthesizing sponge with a diplomatic passport. The players’ voices are alternately treated as additional melodic instruments or as dictaphones spewing nonsensical parallel quotes from a variety of literary, news, and other sources, as in “Monday Morning”.
The combination of vocals with guitars (electric and acoustic) and percussion, which includes everything from drum kit to melodica and glockenspiel, all of it fleshed out by several lush and pliable layers of lower strings, yields a surprising array of textures in which to become lost and then find one’s way out of, or to just relish staying lost in for a while. Bonjour has been presented at The Detroit Institute of Art, the New Amsterdam Space in Brooklyn, Provincetown Playhouse, Invisible Dog, Tribeca New Music Series, Pete’s Candy Store and DROM’s (un)classical series in NYC. Their first album will be released in 2016 on Cantaloupe Music.
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