Created by a trio of French musicians, Tia Gouttebel (guitar, voice), Gilles Chabenat (hurdy-gurdy, a traditional French instrument), and Marc Glomeau (percussions), Hypnotic Wheels has conceived a type of music that draws its inspiration from traditional French music and North Mississippi Hill Country blues using the hurdy-gurdy as a second guitar.
In October 2014, the trio’s first album, self-produced by the French production company Chantilly Negra, found themselves going down a daring new path, bringing together two musical cultures that had never before been associated with one another.
When in 2015 the trio started working on their second album, percussionist Marc Glomeau came up with the idea of traveling to North Mississippi, the native land of North Mississippi Hill Country blues, to bring life to this unprecedented union. And so the Muddy Gurdy Project adventure began —a play on words with the French instrument: hurdy gurdy.
One year of work was necessary to sort out all the details for traveling to the United States and immersing themselves in the countryside of North Mississippi (the towns of Como, Senatobia, and Holly Springs) where the plan was to make some ‘nomadic’-style recordings with major local artistes.
Cedric Burnside, Shardé Thomas, Cameron Kimbrough, as well as Pat Thomas in the Delta, all descendants of their prestigious elders (R.L. Burnside, Otha Turner, Junior Jimbrough, James Son Thomas) lent themselves to the project with talent, humility and the excitement of a unique musical experience.
Far removed from fancy recording studios and cutting edge technology, Pierre Bianchi captured the emotions of these encounters with only an eight-microphone preamp and a computer. The recordings too place on front porches, back porches, at people’s houses and in historic landmarks (Dockery Farms, B.B. King’s Club Ebony) which are woven into the memory of Mississippi.
The result is an incredibly authentic recording, without any gimmicks or gloss, where the titles are recorded on location, where the old melts into a new music that is all its own…
As if the blues was universal!