« Un truc de dingue ». Les paroles de la directrice de l’Atelier Mo’Zar, Valérie Lemaire, semblent justes en considérant l’ambitieux projet musical réalisé par la U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa Band, de la marine américaine, en collaboration avec les jeunes musiciens de « la petite ONG de Roche-Bois », qualifie-t-elle.

Collaboration qui s’est matérialisée sur une composition du trompettiste Philippe Thomas, intitulée Seggaz, partagée ce mercredi sur les réseaux sociaux.

« En septembre, nous avons reçu un appel de l’ambassade américaine », relate Valérie Lemaire, directrice de l’Atelier Mo’Zar. La US Navy de la région africaine et européenne, poursuit-elle, souhaitait collaborer auprès de musiciens mauriciens. Ainsi a été contacté l’Atelier Mo’Zar.

« Nous avions vu jouer la Navy Band à Boston en 2019. Ils sont très très forts, fabuleux dans tous les styles musicaux », indique Valérie Lemaire. En 2020, « nous leur avons soumis trois morceaux et c’est la composition de Philippe Thomas, Seggaz, qui a été retenue ».

Les partitions sont échangées et un calendrier de travail est mis en place. Les Américains et les Mauriciens se partagent les instruments à enregistrer. « Ils nous ont envoyé des spécificités techniques pour les prises d’images et d’audio, qu’il fallait bien respecter », souligne la directrice de l’Atelier Mo’Zar.

Début décembre, dans les studios de Sounds.mu, à Flic-en-Flac, huit jeunes musiciens se rejoignent, à savoir Samuel Augustin (trompette), 11 ans, Jérémie Augustin (basse), 13 ans, Elizabeth Ramtalo (violon), 17 ans, Ezechiel Ramtalo (trombone), 18 ans, Laurent Lindor (ravanne), 19 ans, Jazzy Christophe (saxophone alto), 18 ans, Stahn Latcheemoonah (saxophone soprano), 18 ans, Axel Hon Fat (saxophone tenor), 20 ans, et Philippe Thomas. Une journée d’enregistrement qui se déroule devant les caméras de Wild Square Production, et ce, « dans les conditions du direct ».

« L’ambassade américaine a pris en charge tous les frais », soutient Valérie Lemaire. « Elle a suivi tout le projet et l’a coordonné avec nous ».

« The launch of this video marks the start of African American History Month, also known as Black History Month. This annual observance recognizes the important achievements by African Americans in U.S. history », décrit l’ambassade américaine, qui a publié la vidéo sur sa page Facebook ce mercredi.

Les jeunes élèves de l’Atelier Mo’Zar ne pâlissent nullement face aux talentueux musiciens de la marine américaine. A savoir le Musician Second Class Matt Jones (Keyboard and Unit Leader), le Chief Musician Joel Packer (Electric Bass), le Musician 1st Class Kent Grover (Saxophone), et le Musician Second Class Ray Carega (Drum Set).

Le résultat de cette collaboration particulièrement technique est simplement ahurissant.


U.S. Embassy: « A powerful way to connect people and
celebrate our shared passion for music »

 

How did the idea to work on this project come up?

U.S. Embassy: The U.S. Embassy in Port Louis had planned on hosting musicians from the U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa Band in Mauritius. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and travel restrictions, the travel plans were put on hold and we looked for a way to foster a digital collaboration.
The U.S. Embassy has worked with Atelier Mo’Zar on several occasions, and we greatly admire their work to use music to connect with youth and build community. In addition, Atelier Mo’Zar has built a strong connection to the United States where several of their musicians have received scholarships to attend the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. The launch of this video, Segazz, which combines Sega and Jazz, also marks the start of African American History Month, also known as Black History Month in the U.S..
This annual observance recognizes the important achievements by African Americans in U.S. history. Jazz music grew out of African American musical traditions and brilliant musicians such as Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, and Miles Davis. On February 1st, Mauritius commemorated the 186th anniversary of the abolition of slavery.  This day is also an opportunity to recognize the achievements of Mauritians of African descent and their contributions to Mauritian history. This musical collaboration is a powerful way to connect people and celebrate our shared passion for music.

What were the challenges in recording/creating/editing this video, considering the pandemic where you are?

U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa Band: Long distance collaborations are definitely more difficult, if we could have all been in the studio together we would have been able to make musical decisions together and adjustments in real time. Doing this separately meant we had to plan out everything in advance by telephone before we’d even had a chance to rehearse it.
Based on what we discussed with Philippe Thomas, we then laid down our keyboard, bass and drum tracks and sent them over to the studio in Mauritius for Atelier Mo’zar to record with. The last thing we did was record our saxophonist’s solo, which we waited for because he was soloing over a part of the song with Atelier Mo’zar’s bassist and the interplay between soloist and the rhythm section is very important. U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Band recorded our rhythm section in early November, Atelier Mo’zar recorded their performers in late November, and then our saxophonist recorded his solo from his home in January. We spent all of January editing audio and video to get to a final product.

Will there be similar collaborations in the future?

U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa Band: When international travel resumes, the U.S. Embassy hopes to welcome members of the U.S. Naval Forces Europe and Africa band to Mauritius in support of the Exercise Cutlass Express. This exercise is designed to assess and improve maritime law enforcement capacity and promote national and regional security in East Africa. Similar to the teamwork demonstrated in the Segazz video Cutlass Express builds teamwork between U.S., Mauritius, and international partners.