Jean-Pierre Smadja (Smadj)
Tunisian born, Parisian musician, Jean-Pierre Smadja (Smadj) grew up listening to Oriental, Brazilian, funk, soul, and folk music. Entering a jazz school at age 15 due to his intense interest in the guitar, Smadj’s musical development came to be characterized by transforming traditional jazz styles into eclectic sounds. This interest in the mechanics of making music led Smadj to pursue a degree in sound engineering, which led to a fruitful career as a recording & sound engineer for famous classical and folk musicians.
Releasing his first album in 1994, Smadj became quickly recognized on an international scale for his signature blending of acoustic and electronic sounds on “Equilibriste”, which would ascend on the European World Music Charts to the number 4 position. In 2002, Smadj joined fellow oud magician, Mehdi Haddab to create DuOuD, a duo transporting thevoud to the 21st century.
In 2003, Smadj joined master percussionist Burhan Öçal for Burhan Öçal & The Trakya All Stars and in 2005 he stepped behind the scenes to serve as artistic director for Burhan Öçals “New Dream”, re-arranging Gypsies music. Meanwhile, Smadj was recording his own projects with other Turkish virtuosos Savas Zurnaci and Orhan Osman and DuOud. (“Sakat” with the yemeni player Abdulatif Yagoub recorded and “Ping Pong”).
More? A solo project “Selin” with Erik Truffaz and Talvin Singh as special guests ; a soundtrack with Cem Yildiz for the film “Muro”, some tremendous work with a “Hü” band, focusing on Alevi traditional music, and a huge project “the oud after Smadj” with Natacha Atlas, Ibrahim Maalouf, Mehdi Haddab, Cem Yildiz…..command for Saint Denis Festival (France). Some knows better Smadj for his album “Fuck the DJ”, relased in 2012, a musical journey where music is having an orgy with disco, dubsteps and oriental flavor. But there is the “Spleen” side of him (released in 2015). Smadj is East meets West, often severely borderline. And it’s a real pleasure.
Mehdi Haddab is famous for the creation of the band EKOVA with Dierdre Dubois & Arash Khalatbari (first album signed by Sony Music : “Heaven’s Dust” 1998 + Remix album (featuring DJ Cam, Doctor L, Da Lata , Smadj … ). First album… first world tour through Europe, the USA, Canada… EKOVA will open all the shows in France for The CURE, before to release a second album : “Space lullabies and other Fantasmagore” (2001), ranked 11 in the Top World Music Albums. The band is starting a second World Tour in the USA, Canada, Europe, Russia, Turkey…
In the 2000’s, Mehdi Haddab start collaborating with SMADJ with the DuOud project. First album signed on Label Bleu , a famous Jazz label “Wild serenade ” (2002) – album BBC awards nominated. Second album on World Village / Harmonia Mundi. And…. As always a long world tour : the USA , Canada, Europe , Russia , Turkey , Yemen , Oman , Tunisia, Morocco , Japan, Singapore, Morocco, Yemen, Algeria , Malaysia , Australia … They open shows in the US for the diva Natacha Atlas.
In 2009, Mehddi Haddab creates the band SPEED CARAVAN as a leader. First album “Kalashnik love ” (Real World Records ) – Song lines music awards nominated, and again a World Tour : Europe , Canada , Australia , New Zealand , Morocco , Algeria , Tunisia , Lebanon , Jordan , Egypt , Mexico , AEU, Dubai , Abu Dhabi , The Azores…
Second Album : “Big Blue Desert” 2016 (World Village/PIAS Records)
Mehdi Haddab is a real crossover artist, multiplicating movies collaboration : Imuhar / music Philippe Eidel ; Mortel Transfert / music Reinhart Wagner directed by JJ BENEIX, ; with Ekova : track (Temoine) in Wayne WANG’s movie “the center of the world ” 2001 ; with Duoud : Track (Johnny Guitar) in Rachida BRAKNI’s movie « De Sas En Sas » ; with Speed Caravan : Track (Diamond Belly Button) in Oliver STONE’s movie “Wall street 2” 2010). He is also creating for television : main theme with Al Jazeera music show (AL JAZEERA english/Moonbeam Films ) Track : Kalashnik love ; main theme TV talk show prime time Ness Nesma (NESMA TV ) Track : Galvanize ; original Score in Salem Brahimi’s documentary « Emir Abd El Kader ».
Mehdi was seen on theater in Othello, with Denis Lavant & Disiz la Peste. He also create the original music score with Sapho. Plus, he appeared as stage performer with Rachid TAHA , Brian ENO , Steve HILLAGE (Russian Tour 2005) and on the project Damon ALBARN’s AFRICA EXPRESS.
He played with : Rachid TAHA, HARD-FI, Mick JONES (the Clash), John Paul JONES (Led Zeppelin), Amadou & Mariam, Damon ALBARN (BLUR),GORILLAZ ,Chek TIDIANE ,Baba MAAL, Tinariwen, Natacha ATLAS, Talvin SINGH, Rodolphe BURGER, Nedim NALBANTOGLU, Erik MARCHAND, Viorel TAJKUNA, Angelika NIESCER, Lotfi ATTAR, Julien LOURAU, Cyril ATEF, Mino CINELU, Mathieu CHEDID, Eric TRUFFAZ, Ibrahim MAALOUF,Tony ALLEN…