Wed, Oct 15, 2003 - Page 16 News List

French dance music emissaries present credentials

Laurent Garnier joins Frederic Galliano and his two African divas at a show tonight backed by the French Institute in Taiwan

By Jules Quartly  /  STAFF REPORTER

Laurent Garnier reaches out at LUXY tonight.

PHOTO COURTESY OF MILENIUM X-TOUR

Two ambassadors of French culture are set to rock the house tonight at LUXY, with Laurent Garnier joining Frederic Galliano and his two African divas to mix it up at the central Taipei nightclub.

Excited diplomatic staff at the French Institute in Taipei have been busy hyping the event, which is being sponsored by the French government and FNAC.

The last 20 years have been quite a turnaround for Garnier, who first started spinning records as a boy. Since this was early 1980s France, however, his parents were understandably worried about his career choice and made him train as a chef.

At 18 he was sent to London to work at the French embassy and later reportedly ran off to Manchester to avoid military service back home.

Inspired by Mike Pickering and others at The Hacienda in Manchester, Garnier went back to his first love, DJing, and hasn't looked back.

He starred at the legendary Wake Up parties at the Rex Club in Paris and released his first album in 1990. In 1991 he was signed by FNAC and became a world-wide emissary of the French techno sound. He was also awarded the Victoire de la Musique for his album 30.

He was one of the first genuinely international house music DJs and probably peaked in 1993 and 1994 when he was recognized by Mixmag as one of the world's top turntable artists.

As befits a superstar, Garnier's Asian Tour will orbit Taipei, Shanghai, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur in just four days.

He will be supported by Frederic Galliano and The African Divas (live DJ, two female vocalists/dancers), with their exploration of "afro meets dance music ... acoustic tradition meets technology."

Galliano is the consummate nu-jazz DJ and his album Frederic Galliano and the African Divas was the result of four years spent traveling throughout west Africa, where Galliano recorded over 50 singers and musicians from Senegal, Niger, Ivory Coast and Mali.

In an e-mail interview with the Taipei Times, both men said they were excited to be coming to Taiwan.

Garnier: I think it is my third time. As always I am very excited about coming back to tour in Asia.

Galliano: It's my first time to come to Taipei. I've been many times to Japan before, but never Taiwan or China. I'm very happy, very excited and happy to discover new cultures.

Taipei Times: Where is your music heading these days?

Garnier: Same as always, I try to be as eclectic as always.

Galliano: My music goes round in 360 degree turns. Right now I'm working on electronic mixes from a contemporary point of view.

TT: How do you feel dance music has changed, if at all, since the Manchester days of the late 1980s?

Garnier: Music is always changing, it always has new styles, it changes, moves and re-defines itself. It just follows a normal evolution.

Galliano: [There have been] big changes, the music business has now absorbed all these different styles, good electronic music, and the bad ... the general atmosphere is less interesting than it was five or six years ago, people forget about their own identity. People get less into culture and [more into other things].

TT: Who are your musical influences?

Galliano: My musical references range from Klaus Schulze through to the label Strictly Rythms. I like early 1990s music, but listen to anything from the last 30 years. I'm a very open-minded producer.

TT: Would you see yourself as an electronic music pioneer like Jean Michel Jarre, or are your influences more international?

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