Moriarty from France sees music in the unexpected
The musical instruments they use range from the classic piano, guitars and standard drums to more non-musical things like spoons, suitcases and drilling machines.
Their music is a mix of Jazz, Country, Cabaret and Folk. Continuing the heterogeneity, the band members belong to Swiss, Vietnamese, French and American ethnicities, but they met in Paris, are based there, and represent France when they travel. French band Moriarty was in the city recently to perform at Select City Walk, Saket, as part of the nationwide Bonjour India festival.
Comprising Rosemary, Arthur, Zim, Thomas, Charles and Vincent, Moriarty was formed in 1995, Vincent being the newest member and Sebastien Zamora the manager. “We have a very complicated way of functioning as we have no leader. So we're glad to have Sebastien to make decisive choices,” says Zim.
On the spoons, Zim says, “Rosemary used to perform on the streets along with her father. On the streets, a spoon is a very easy thing to play. We use everything we find, be it a suitcase or a typewriter. But then, not always. We play whatever is convenient. We like simple instruments.”
While Rosemary, with a background in classical music and opera, is the vocalist and plays the xylophone, thumb piano and tambourine, Arthur is on acoustic guitars, drum-suitcase and piano. Zim plays the double-bass, acoustic guitar and music box (and likes to sketch during conversations); Thomas plays the chromatic and diatonic harmonicas, drilling machines and Jew's harp; Charles is on electric and resonator guitar; and Vincent is the drummer.
Music influences can come from unlikely places. “Once we met a Tango musician in France in a radio show. The guy was called Cedron. We were scheduled to play immediately after him. We were all in tears after listening to his performance. Next week, we started composing a piece influenced by him. Till then we never thought Tango could inspire our music, but it did,” Zim recalls. “It can be classical or hip-hop or anything. We are very open-minded.”
“Arthur's guitar-playing is very influenced by African music. I listen to a lot of film music. I love Nino Rota (the Italian composer known for composing scores for films by Federico Fellini and also the first two films in Coppola's The Godfather trilogy). For me it is an influence. The six of us have different influences, but we respect each other's choices,” Zim explains.
Vincent idolises Levon Helm (well-known drummer of The Band, who was even ranked 91 by Rolling Stone magazine in the list of 100 greatest singers of all times). “He brought an altogether new quality to their music. He was a self-taught drummer, pretty much like I am, and he's a great singer too.” Does Vincent sing too? “Sometimes, only when I'm obliged to. I don't feel very secure in my singing. I could certainly sing better. Rosemary's good enough, so I don't need to,” he grins.
After Delhi, Pune and Mumbai follow on their schedule. “Our music is very India-friendly. Indian instruments could easily be included in our music. We love the sound of Indian music and are very curious about how they conceive rhythm. It's like discovering a new philosophy. In fact, Thomas knows a little of Carnatic music,” Zim says.
Any plans on a new album? “We've been touring non-stop for two years. We'll take a three-month break after the Indian tour. Hopefully, we'll come back and do the album. We've performed 270 concerts in two years, and there are songs that have been performed 270 times,” he signs off.SHALINI SHAH