I am on board of the Aline sittoé Diatta, sailing up North toward Dakar, after what it happened to be a dizzy crazy month in Ziguinchor. It started in the beginning of November when a special meeting of all managers of the French Alliances, and the Managers of the French Institutes of Senegal and Gambia took place to decide whose artists would be chosen and elected for the tour network. 5 dates in the 5 greatest cities of Senegal and Gambia, with professional conditions. Samuel Demolliens proposed a very ambitious project, with a large band of 7 Brazilian musicians called Tribo Ethnos, a Brazilian singer named Adeildo Vieira, and yours truly with le Peace Orchestra. 20 persons on tour, all unknown in Senegal, the Berimbaobab Tour was not for sure, the cheapest project nor the most evident. But despite these cumbersome data, I don't know why, I was sure that we would win this tour, so sure that I was not waiting for the decision, but I already integrated the fact that we will have to manage good relationship between 20 people that do not speak the same language, plus managers and technicians during 3 weeks of proximity and lack of intimacy, and I was rather considering the practical aspects of this new adventure to come. Of course when Samuel, and later Sylvain Prudhomme, manager of the French Alliance of Ziguinchor called to announce the final and triumphal decision, I was delighted, and I exulted like a child. Yes! We won the icing on the cake! And now with this step reached, I had the impression to complete my adventure in Casamance. Thanks to the wonderful commitment of Sylvain whom, I am sure, defended the project like his, and of course to Sam who had the audacity, and the necessary amount of madness to write down this grand project and submit it with the idea that this could work, and thanks to everyone who voted for it! At the end of October, we began to play every weekend, in a remote and brand new bar called "Le campagnard", in the outskirts of Ziguinchor. The place is cool and perfect for us, as it has a good and powerful p.a. system, and very good drums, but hard to get to. Jules Coly, the owner, is a joyful guy who very much likes holyday and bars' atmosphere. His guests are "la crème" of Zig, for the admission and drinks are quite expensive. Of course, this is not the best aspect of the place, but we have been paid cash on the nail each time, and it was the perfect occasion for the peace orchestra to get into its stride, before the Berimbaob Tour. One night, may be the 1st or 2nd time that we played there, Jules came very close to me after the show. His breath was smelling cheap wine, and he said to me: "I know that you will leave soon in France, but we began to search for your substitute, for this band has to continue, my guests like this! I could be the manager!" I made an effort to restrain a fit of laughter, but later on, I found this was a great idea. I do not know if there will be many candidates for the job, but I would love to!
This is it! What I have been working for, and dreaming for so long is now ready to be shared. My 1st album, Following – 7 blue songs from the red house, recorded in Senegal Africa with the Peace Orchestra is now available, and you can order it on this new website patricegomis.net. A maverick experience, a maverick production, very far off the beaten tracks, far from the trend, and the blockbusters of the show business industry, is now offering its fruits very unpretentiously, like an eccentricity of another time. I could wonder what is the meaning of all this, why it had to be that way, why going so far to come back to square one when I reached my goal, but I am not sure I could get any understandable answer of this very occidental mental torture. I prefer to focus on the joy that I share with the musicians of the Peace Orchestra when we play, and on the smiles on the faces of all the people who participated to this adventure. I want to thank all of you; you are the true success of this enterprise, its true value.
Thanks to Michael Babel who made the graphic art of the cd, and who build this beautiful, and handy website. I am pleased to have met him, because this man achieved the dreamt life that he had in mind. Michael is quite an exceptional character who does not fit the physical, social, or cultural usual classifications. He is very talented, gifted, and ingenious in many different fields. He can play music, draw, paint, and he has built a beautiful and original house in Casamance. He is from Geneva Switzerland where he works 6 months a year with his wife Aïda, and they earn good money doing interesting activities, to travel the 6 months left around the world. I met them near Cap Skirring, in their little paradise by the sea, where they shared a little of their obvious but never arrogant happiness, and these very special moments are still very symbolic to me.
Samuel Demolliens, engineer and saxophonist, another gifted person who lives the interesting and happy life that he has chosen, is doing really good in setting up a tour in January with Tribo Ethnos and Adeildo Vieira from Brazil, and the Peace Orchestra in Senegal and Guinea-Bissau. A very special thanks to him, for what already is a wonderful adventure. But I will tell more about this another time.
Now let me share music with you on this new website, or on this myspace, dedicated to all who participated somehow, and to all music and freedom lovers.
Thanks to musicians, Joël Bassène, Longuenza, Viviane Tendeng, Olga Diedhiou, Berthe Bassène, Mimi Bassène, Assou Bassène, Lalo Cissokho, Paco Manga, Seydou Diatta, Jean-Jacques Atchikiti, Bernardo Co, Heba Bodian, Chloé Mons, Gaspard Gomis, Alsène Gomis, Poppée Bashung.
And also, Jean Pierrot, Bruno Cambier (French Cooperation), Martin Ott (GIZ, German Cooperation), Jean-Luc le Bras from the French Embassy, Maike Cotterink, Boubacar Tall and Juliette Rafin from Impact lives studios, Philippe Latron, Cedric Taurisson, Sylvain Prudhomme from the French Alliance network, Aziz Delfolie, Nathalie Bayon, Jean-Denis Escudié, Gisèle Escudié, Mylène Bronoël, Alain Gomis, Jean-Louis Gomis, Gabrielle Savary, Pascal Gomis, Catherine Ruelle. Sorry for all the people I forgot to notice!...
Thanks to red house!