Presented by Music Network
About Sélène Saint-Aimé
Sélène Saint-Aimé double bass/vocals
Rafael Aguila tenor saxophone
Boris Reine-Adélaïde bèlè drum
Defying any easy classification (is it contemporary jazz? world? Afro-Caribbean?), the enchantment of multi-instrumentalist Sélène Saint-Aimé’s musicking lies in that undefinable essence that is best experienced, not categorised.
It is an enchanted locale, where drums seem to sing and speak, and where the voice goes from florid passages in ethereal heights, to earthy growls peppered with voiced staccatos.
Largely eschewing language(s) per se in favour of her own improvised vocalisations, the double-bassist, singer and poet brings together crystalline scatting and mesmerising ululations, interplaying them sinuously with her trio’s drums and saxophone, as well as with her own spellbinding counterpoint on double bass.
This unlikely but compelling combination organically evokes the structure of the Martinican bèlè tradition, a dialogue of drummer and dancer that—especially in Saint-Aimé’s case—is a fluid, conversational juxtaposition of Afro-Caribbean musical elements and playful improvisatory energy.
Saint-Aimé drinks deep from the source of her Martinican roots, pours it into a modern jazz-shaped vessel, and joyously shares a cup of it with us.