Composer-arranger, trumpeter and ethnomusicologist, Yohan Giaume is building an oeuvre that combines his passion for world music traditions, large-scale collaborative efforts, and love for the trumpet, his first instrument. His musicological research focuses on the origins and intersections of musics between the Americas, Europe and Africa, but his motivation is always to create that allow traditional musics to inform and inspire in contemporary settings.
Born in 1977 near Grenoble, in Southeast France, Yohan Giaume studied trumpet, and composition in the French Conservatories of Lyon, Chambéry and Grenoble. He received academic honors and prizes for music composition including the “Prix SACEM while studying jazz harmony, arrangement and trumpet with the renowned trumpeter Pierre Drevet at the Conservatory of Chambery. Later, Giaume studied orchestration with Olivier Kaspar at the Conservatory of Saint Maur, Paris and completed a Master’s in Musicology at the University of Sorbonne.
Diverse international adventures followed his studies. For example, he studied traditional Cuban music in Cuba and toured with groups such as the Banda de Santiago de Cuba and Benito Suarez, a former guitarist of the Buena Vista Social Club (2004-2005); he learned about the balkan brass bands of Macedonia and arranged a project for the original Kocani Orkestar (AMDRA, 2005); he recorded and arranged for tango expert Juan Carlos Caceres in Argentina (Utopia/Mañana Music, 2007) after a 2006 ‘Envie d’Agir’ prize allowed him to study Argentinian folk music. Investigations of Afro-Peruvian traditions brought him to Peru in 2009 where he toured and recorded with singer Mirtha Guerrero and guitarist Felix Casaverde, a former guitarist of Chabuca Granda and Susanna Baca (De Verdes y Maduras, Independant, 2010). Since 2013, he has been involved with the Marrakech Music Collective in Morocco as a musician and composer-arranger.
Giaume’s international involvements did not prevent him from staying active in his native France. Highlights include arranging music for a two-hundred musician ensemble for the annual street show commissioned by the 2006 Biennale de la Danse in Lyon. In 2009, his arrangements of songs by Claude Nougaro were performed in Toulouse by artists including Manu Dibango, singer André Minvielle, and multi-instrumentist Guillaume Lopez. In 2011, Christian Vieussens hired Giaume to compose, arrange and perform music for his spectacle “Le Concert.”
But it was a pilgrimage to New Orleans in 2009 that Giaume began the journey leading up to the Gottschalk project by immersing himself in the indigenous African-American and Creole traditions there, he captured the attention of New Orleans-based clarinetist Evan Christopher who hired Giaume to arrange pieces for full orchestra. These were debuted by the Minnesota Orchestra in 2010 in a concert that celebrated the traditional music of New Orleans and the New Orleans clarinet style. A “Villa Medicis – Hors les Murs” grant from the Institut Français in 2012 allowed Giaume to expand his research for a project inspired by the funeral music of New Orleans. His latest research focuses on the influence of Afro-Caribbean rhythm in the early New Orleans jazz and a 2016 French American Jazz Exchange award will allow him to record his project titled “Whisper of a Shadow, an Homage to Louis Moreau Gottschalk” in collaboration with Evan Christopher.