The beautiful Breton city of Nantes, at the mouth of the River Loire, is a hotbed of musical exploration. Just as the city itself has one foot in Brittany and the other in the Pays de Loire, its musicians and songsmiths draw on many influences; the Celtic beat of the Bretons, the jocular dances of the French countryside, folk songs from all over the world, jazz, and especially Blues. It’s only natural that noted performer Alex de Vree – himself a child of two traditions – should find his spiritual home here.
A citizen of France and The Netherlands, de Vree has honed his craft by travelling the world to seek out new music and new experiences, distilling his observations into a dazzling range of styles and moods. One moment Alex is a smooth, sensitive folk balladeer; the next a stomping, raucous Blues man, full of soul and passion. A writer and interpreter renowned for his imagery, wit and melodic gift, he has been a fixture on Europe’s Blues scene since winning first prize at Tremplin Blues Rendez-vous de l'Erdre in 2010.
Much sought after as a collaborator, his musical partnerships with harmonica legend Thomas Troussier and folk guitarist Erwan Le Fichant have met with particular critical acclaim. His music is characterised by inventive rhythm, soaring and elegant melodies, polished lyrics and a wry sense of humour, perfectly married to an incisive, penetrating, sympathetic and sometimes hilarious view of the world.
For his debut Irish tour, de Vree is accompanied by the Soul Bakers, an explosive mixture of rock’n’roll, grooving funk, folk, Blues and Soul. The combination has become a self-sustaining reaction, releasing energy and flashes of brilliance in a style and sound all their own. Their on-stage energy is legendary, and they’re a perfect fit with Alex; diving down musical back-alleys, storming the streets with protest songs, hailing the vanished voices of the past, and soaring into the future with new and startlingly original compositions. They will hit Mayo when they take to the stage in McGings, Westport on Saturday, May 27.