Hello RQL friends ! How are you ? It's the first day of summer and we're here with a very special guest, someone whose life and music can be of great inspiration:
So thank you so much Yeshe for taking the time to have this interview with us !
Hello Yeshe, would you like to introduce yourself for our listeners\readers?
I am a singer/songwriter, percussionist, playing 2 African melodic instruments, the Mbira Dzavadzimu from the Shona people of Zimbabwe and the Kamele Ngoni from the Bambara people of Burkina Faso and Mali. I was born in Germany, but left there at age 16 to discover the rest of the world. I still travel a lot but am now based in Byron Bay, Australia.
-When did you start playing\singing?
I used to sing in the school choir when I was young and also studied classical guitar back then.
-When did your interest in African sounds begun?
When I was 14 I started studying African drumming with world renowned Ghanaian master drummer Mustapha Tettey Addy, which completely changed my musical path from then on.
-So you were very young when you left home for african countries. Can you tell us more about that experience?
Travelling and living in different African cultures, I got adopted into the families of my teachers and straight away felt very much at home.
-In which countries have you lived so far and what has, each of these countries\people, given to you? How many languages can you speak?
I have lived in more then 20 countries and speak bits and pieces of many different languages, but learned very quickly to communicate without language and through music.
-How would you describe your music?
Good question, but difficult answer. I have been described as a “genre bender” as it seems hard to fit me into any particular musical genre. I see myself as a singer/songwriter, but my instrumentation is quite unique. I studied a lot of traditional music and played in Africa in a lot of traditional settings and ceremonies, but my teachers always encouraged me to find my own voice in my music.
-What inspires you writing your music? Tell us something about your creative process.
Everything inspires me, I think that as musicians we become vessels or channels, it feels like the music just flows through me. I don’t necessarily think that I am the one doing it. Some days a new song starts to develop and I often wonder myself where it came from.
-Which message can we find in your lyrics?
All kinds, really, I never know what inspires me to write at any given time.
-'Peace of mind' and 'La Ballade de Jean Batailleur', two of my favourite songs of yours. Soothing, engaging, wonderful songs. Would you like to tell us something about them?
Well, ‘Peace of Mind’ is really just some personal thoughts about finding that ‘Peace of Mind’ that, I think, most people are somehow looking for. I came across ‘La Ballade de Jean Batailleur’ when I was on tour in Quebec, the French speaking province of Canada. It’s a song written by Zachary Richard and most people in Quebec seem to have a strong connection to that song. When I first heard it there on the radio, it really touched me on a deep level and I knew that I had to try my own version of it. Zachary Richard has since contacted me to tell me that my version is his favourite version that anybody had done of any of his songs and he became a big fan of my music, which of course made me very happy, as I was a bit nervous of how he would react to the way that I changed the song.
-And about the whole 'Roots and Wings' cd ? I consider it such a gem, filled with different sonorities, atmospheres, languages ...
‘Roots & Wings’ was my second CD and it was really about honouring the ‘roots’ of all the music that I had learned and then making it my own, becoming my ‘wings’.
-With which artist have you worked with? With whom would you like to work?
I have collaborated with a lot of different artists all over the world, it usually just seems to happen very organically, there is not really that much planning involved on my behalf.
-And what about your collaboration with Xavier Rudd and the United Nations? How's been that experience?
I met Xavier Rudd many years ago while touring and he has since become a good friend of mine. Our favourite time together is sitting at a fire, playing music and sharing ideas. We talked about the idea of collaborating for a long time and finally the timing was right when the ‘United Nations’ were born. It was a great experience, we had the perfect team come together.
-Are you working on some other project at moment?
Yes, I have just finished recording my new album ‘Woven’ and I am very excited about this. I feel that on this album I finally found my voice/sound. It’s a lot more raw and gritty, and the lyrics are very deep and close to my heart. The album will be released later this year. If you are interested please check my website: yeshe.com.au
-We are italian, we live in Finland and we are curious. Have you ever been to Italy or Finland?
I have been to Italy many times, I love the Italian audiences, but I have yet to come and play in Scandinavia,
I hope that it will happen soon. I always love experiencing new places.
-If you could make a wish, which one it would be?
I guess my biggest wish is peace on earth and that we all take more responsibility to look after our precious planet.
-Where can we follow you ( social, websites, youtube ... ) ? Where can we buy your music ?
Here you go:
And to buy my music, you can buy physical CDs at the shop on my website (yeshe.com.au) or download the songs on ‘Bandcamp’: https://yeshe.bandcamp.com/
If you are interested in the new album ‘Woven’, please keep checking this site as we will soon do a special pre-release for fans only on ‘Bandcamp’....stay tuned
"Here is a photo of me playing the Kamele Ngoni, the instrument that I play on my new upcoming album 'Woven' " (cit.)
Thank you again Yeshe for the interview but most of all for the great music,we can't wait to listen to 'Woven' !
And dear RQL friends, have a wonderful summer !