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Ventas Rumba


LP version. With his new instrumental album Ventas Rumba, the French composer (and singer) returns to his signature instrument, the piano, blending it with warm synth tones. This album represents a "return to his roots," allowing Ezéchiel Pailhès to reinvent himself in a seamless way while still exploring ballads and ritornellos, halfway between light-heartedness and melancholy. Ezéchiel Pailhès has been meaning to write a solo piano album for as long as he can remember. Hardly surprising, of course, for this academically-trained pianist, brought up on classical music and then studied jazz. Yet, since his 2001 debut with the electro-pop duo Nôze, and his subsequent four albums, the artist had constantly postponed this project that was so close to his heart. Then in 2022, just as he was getting ready to start producing an album of new songs, this long-standing aim finally materialized. The melodies he wrote seemed to stand on their own naturally, spurring him on to compose this series of fourteen tracks, recorded in sessions split between France and Latvia. A new piano: the Una Corda Ezéchiel wanted this project dedicated to the piano to begin a new narrative, to explore new instrumental terrain and new tones, something far removed from the familiar piano he has been playing all his life. He opted for the Una Corda piano, designed by David Klavins, a groundbreaking instrument builder renowned for his distinctive pianos with vertical shapes and frames. The Una Corda, created in 2014, is an upright piano with a single string per note (unlike three strings on traditional pianos). Enticed by the "crystalline and unique" tones of this instrument, which is hard to find in France, Ezéchiel travelled to Kuldiga, Latvia (where David Klavins set up his workshops and studios), to record the first part of the album. Although the title of the album may initially conjure up images of a distant, sensual dance, the reality is quite different. Ventas Rumba indeed refers to the waterfall and rapids (in Latvian: rumba) of the river Ventas, which runs near this small village in the western part of the country. Ezéchiel chose to blur the lines, as the sound and musicality of the title likely evoke both his short stay in the Baltic country, and also a form of distant exotic imagery perfectly in tune with his own mischievous wit.