Created in 2012 by percussionnist Marc Glomeau, Muddy Gurdy combines three musical personalities coming from the blues, from traditional musics, and afro-caribean musics: Tia Gouttebel (vocals, guitar), Gilles Chabenat (hurdy gurdy), and Marc Glomeau (percussions, background vocals).
The trio, who comes from the Auvergne region in Central France, revisits the blues with a hurdy gurdy as a second guitar. The French musicians promote the idea of a “universal blues”, creating a link between the traditional musics from the hills of the Massif Central and those from the American South.
Their first album was released in 2014 under the name of Hypnotic Wheels. It mixed original songs with a personal interpretation of North Mississippi Hill Country blues treasures. This album was produced by Pierre Bianchi. Its psychedelic sounds startle and seduce the audiences.
The band gives about 40 shows in two and a half years in France, Switzerland, and Belgium. Their universe is very trance-like, with an etheral yet organic music. Their concerts are particularly inovative when they perform surrounded by the audience.
In 2016 as the band is thinking about their next album, Marc Glomeau submits the idea of traveling with a basic form to the North Mississippi Hill Country, an area well known for its hypnotic blues.
After working on the project for a whole year, the trio finally flies to Mississippi in Spring of 2017. There they record their album with only a laptop, a sound card and eight mics, hence following Lomax and Ferris’ “field recordings” tradition.
The recordings take place in the countryside near Como, at people’s places and in places filled with memories. The trio improvises sessions with the grand children of musicians who forged the North Mississippi Hill Country blues: Cedric Burnside, R.L. Burnside’s grandson, Shardé Thomas, Otha Turner’s grand-daughter, and Cameron Kimbrough, Junior Kimbrough’s grandson. In the Delta, they also record with Pat Thomas, Son Thomas’ son.
The encounteer between the two cultures and the input of the hurdy gurdy boost the creativity of the sessions.
Distributed internationaly bu American label Vizztone under the name of Muddy Gurdy receives accolades by the press in France as well as in the rest of Europe and the United States: Télérama (4 ffff), Les Inrockuptibles, Soul Bag, Living Blues, FRoots, Elmore Magazine, etc.
The album wins the Coup de cœur Musiques du monde award given by the prestigious Académie Charles Cros. It also is a finalist of the 2018 French Académie du Jazz Award in the Blues category, and was submitted for consideration for the 2019 Grammy Awards and Blues Music Awards.
Revealed by the 2019 Nuits de l’Alligator tour, Muddy Gurdy tours extensively offering the audiences some authentic, hypnotic, and transgenerational music. The trio performs in many festivals in France (Le Printemps de Bourges, Europavox, Cognac Blues Passions, Les Internationales de la Guitare, on tour with the MNOP Musiques Nouvelle-Orléans Périgord festival)– as well as abroad (Red Rooster Festival in England, Blues Rules in Switzerland) and professional events, such as the MaMa in Paris, France.
Muddy Gurdy is part of the 180 bands which were selected by the Folk Alliance to perform during their International Conference to be held in New Orleans in January 2020, a gathering of 3,000 professionals of the music industry.
Tia Gouttebel (guitar, vocals)
Tia was first noticed in the late 90s by American guitarist Larry Garner who invited her on several shows between 1999 and 2001. Tia began to develop her own style as a guitarist and vocalist.
In 2002 she formed her own band, Tia & The Patient Wolves, and started performing in clubs in France and in Europe, as well as in the most prestigious festivals: Cognac Blues Passions, Cahors Blues Festival, and Salaise Blues Festival (France), Kwadendamme Festival (Holland), Blues in Bloom (Belgium), opening for international artists like Jimmy Johnson, Louisiana Red, John Mayall…
Tia was awarded the Cognac Blues Passions Grand Prize in 2012 and opened for Charlie Musselwhite and Ben Harper in front of a crowd of over 6,000 the following year.
She has traveled extensively in the United States several times (Memphis, Mississippi, New Orleans, Texas, Los Angeles, Florida). She has been invited on stage by the greatest musicians: bassist Leroy Hodges (Al Green), guitarists Kirk Fletcher and Johnny Moeller (The Fabulous Thunderbirds), drummer James Gadson (Bill Withers), harmonicist Lynwood Slim. All of them have been “amazed” by the talent and the authenticity of the French woman.
Gilles Chabenat (hurdy-gurdy)
Gilles Chabenat was born in Central France. That is where he started playing the hurdy-gurdy at age 13 with Les Thiaulins, an organization devoted to promote folk arts and traditions. He won several awards and subsequently decided to work on his region’s rich traditional repertoire with already a desire to branch out into other musical styles.
In the wake of Valentin Clastrier, he felt the need to reinvent the instrument and the playing techniques associated with it. Around that time and after several years of research, luthier Denis Siorat developed a contemporary-style electro-acoustic instrument which facilitated the integration of the hurdy-gurdy into the modern musical experience.
In 1992, Gilles Chabenat began a 12-year partnership with famous Corsican band I Muvrini. He later met and worked with Sting, Véronique Sanson, Florent Pagny, Stephan Eicher, Jean-Jacques Goldman, and collaborated with jazz musicians Vincent Mascart, Jacques Mahieux, Alain Bruel, Alain Gibert, and Jean-Marc Padovani in a number of creative works, including a theatrical reading of Enzo Corman. His hurdy-gurdy can also be heard in a movie, Pierre Jolivet’s Le Frère du Guerrier.
Gilles Chabenat’s approach shows the multiple aspects of an instrument which has been evolving for over 1,000 years. Just like he does today with Muddy Gurdy.
Marc Glomeau (percussion, vocals)
Percussionnist, writer, and producer Marc Glomeau founded Black Chantilly, which became one of the leading French Afro-Cuban jazz bands. He toured for over 10 years with the band.
Marc Glomeau then worked with numerous artists from the jazz scene, as well as in French and American world music: Bruno Angelini, Thierry Peala, Rosy Bazile, Cheb Bilal, Arthur H.
His meeting with drummer and writer Marlon Simon (nominated for a Grammy Award with his In Case You Missed It album) changed the course of his career. In 2008 the “Black Chantilly invites Marlon Simon” project wins the prestigious French American Jazz Exchange Prize, awarded by Culture France and the Chamber Music of America. The prize was followed by a tour on the East Coast in the U.S.
Extremely creative, Marc Glomeau is at the origin of numerous original projects: Racines (a septet mixing Afro-Venezuelian cultures with those of Central France) along with Marlon Simon and Gilles Chabenat, Mère Grand & The Sound Avengers (a delirious pop concert revisiting TV-show songs with a 70s twist to them), Akrofo System (exploring links between jazz and African rhythms with pianist Philippe Monange). And, recently, Muddy Gurdy.
Pierre Bianchi (sound engineer)
Pierre Bianchi started his career as an assistant with Plus XXX studio in 1981, and slowly and surely became a sought after director, producer, and sound engineer, both in studio and live.
Pierre Bianchi toured with musicians of international fame in the U.S. in Canada, Central America, South American Japan, China, Africa, Middle East. He worked with Youssou n’Dour, Peter Gabriel, Sir Yehudi Menhuin, Natalie Dessay, Diane Dufresne, Charly Watts, Jimmy Cobb, Gerry Allen, Tigran Amasyan, Papa Wemba, Angelique Kidjo, Salif Keita, Murray Head, Alpha Blondy, Catherine Ringer, Elisabeth Kontomanou, Kellylee Evans, Yuri Buenaventura, and the Kuhn/Humair/Jenny Clark/Portal Quartet to name a few.
His artistic collaborations are very ecletic, covering all genres: pop, rock, classical, jazz, world…
A rich universe he shares today with Muddy Gurdy.