In Etampes, Ibrahim Maalouf prophet of improvisation in his country: "Nothing can be revealed without making mistakes"

In Etampes, Ibrahim Maalouf prophet of improvisation in his country: “Nothing can be revealed without making mistakes”

Jazz, soul, funk, French chanson, classical music and even humour… The 6th edition of the m’IMPROvise festival, an event created in 2016 by the trumpet player from Étampes (Essonne) Ibrahim Maalouf, begins this Friday at the leisure island of Etampes. For the occasion, Joyce Jonathan, Kimberose or even Tryo will join the party, accompanied by the group Amazing Keystone, one of the best jazz big bands in France. The rest of the festival, which continues until June 22, will take place at the Étampes intercommunal theater with the exception of two major events, also organized at the leisure center: the music festival on June 21 with the Cuban sounds of El Comité, and the great evening of improvisation the next day orchestrated by Ibrahim Maalouf himself.

For the programming of the festival as in your personal projects, you leave a lot of room for the new scene. What does this outstretched hand towards the new generations bring you?

IBRAHIM MAALOUF. I have always been sensitive to the need to transmit. Both my parents are teachers and I also taught. All of this means that the transmission speaks to me a lot. This transmission is valid in both directions. The new scene particularly interests me because it is audacious. All these artists have something very reckless. They teach me a lot. For my next album, I also asked two young people to produce it. One is in the United States, the other is in France. They help me renew myself in my music. In 17 albums, this is the first time that I have entrusted the production to someone else.

This festival is placed under the sign of improvisation and the piano. What does improvisation mean to you on a daily basis?

I have been practicing improvisation for many years, I even created a class entirely dedicated to it at the Higher Education Center of Paris-Boulogne. As a child, I started by taking classical lessons, then I continued my self-taught learning. When we learn to play an instrument ourselves, we make mistakes, we make mistakes but above all, we try to develop our playing until we arrive at something intelligible. This process is exactly the same as that of improvisation. I also realized the importance of improvisation in our lives. Nothing can be revealed without making mistakes, nor can anything be done without a collective. We need a common denominator, just like in music. Of all this, I made a book (Little philosophy of improvisation, co-edition Mister Ibé & edition of the equators, 18 euros).

After two years without concerts, they resume. How is the reunion with the public going?

I am delighted to resume the concerts, I will soon be leaving on a big tour. But the public has not yet fully returned. For this festival, we had to pull prices down as much as possible to encourage people to book. There are also a few places left for the opening concert, this Friday. The public must understand that the fixed price, 40 euros, is not expensive to see all these artists. On stage, there will be Tryo, Joyce Jonathan, Kimberose, Féfé or Sofia Essaïdi. In Paris, a ticket for just one of these artists would cost more. We were able to pull the prices down thanks to our sponsors and grants.

What are your plans for the next few months? New albums are in preparation?

After the m’IMPROvise festival, I go on tour. It will pass through France, Turkey, Greece, Morocco but also Belgium, England, the United States and Canada. On the disc side, my next disc will be released on June 24th. It’s an album that I recorded with the singer Angélique Kidjo on the theme of the Queen of Sheba. She is from Benin, she sings in Yoruba. Otherwise, I also composed the music for the next film by Gad Elmaleh which will be released in 2023. I am also preparing an album with the Brazilian singer Flavia Cuelho. It will be called “El Mundo”. And finally, my next solo album will be released in November, I’ve called it “Capacity To Love”.

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