Foto rechts: Las Dalias by Lorenzo Melissari
Hier seht und hört ihr den charismatischen David „trommeln“:
Und hier die englische Original-Version seines Interviews // here the original version of the chat between Chris and David Villefort.
He is a French-Brazilian percussionist, living in Ibiza for 12 years.
David, you are booked very often here in Ibiza to play percussion for other DJs. Is this combination becoming more popular recently?
I would say yes. And what I can certainly feel from the feedback I have during live performances is that in our today’s increasingly digital world, the live percussion/dj combination, this organic/electronic fusion, is definitely getting stronger enhanced and valued. It gives a wild and natural pulse, adding a huge value to the ensemble, awakening our memory cells and connecting us to another level. The percussion has this amazing and natural capacity to adapt and fusion beautifully to the structure and vibes of the electronic music, creating a unique and dynamic energy. Adding the power of improvisation on top of it and you have something awesome.
Do you have a particular style of drumming? Like Africa, Samba, Country Region, School?
It’s a mix (lol) of several influences and cultures. Brazilian, African, Arabic, Latin, Spanish with the Cajon (which actually came from Peru!), and so many others.
How did you actually become a percussionist?
It started with the first record my father gave me for Christmas. I was six years old. We went to the record store and for some reason I got attracted to one tecord that was unreachable. You needed a ladder to get it and of course I had no idea of what it was. We put it on and it was “Brazilian Batucada”. That was my first record and it was fascinating.
A few years later I had a dream. I was playing a Brazilian instrument called Agogo (Brazilian bells). The amazing thing is I absolutely neither had an idea of what an Agogo bell was at that time…nor that 20 years later I would play this instrument for real.
And then when I was 18 I went to Madagascar. An adventure that would change everything: I ended up becoming a fisherman on a remote island called Nosy Nato. No water nor electricity, gas, supermarket or internet. Those simply didn’t exist at the time (lol). Absolutely nothing but nature and these amazing people. The Essential… I started to play drums for real at the roots of the roots. Making instruments from bamboo and I had the most intense and deep experience ever.
Back to Europe one year later, I knew what I had to do…
Share with us your Ibiza story. Why are you here?
It started in Brazil, where I’ve lived for 17 years. I was playing in a great band called “Afro Rio” from Rio de Janeiro: 3 percussionists and 2 DJs, playing a powerful range of Brazilian rhythms, Hip Hop, Drum&Bass, and Brazilian music.
I was also working as a producer. “Afro Rio” staff recommended me to produce for a British project owned by a music lover who became a very good friend of mine. After one year of working together, the production moved to Australia & Europe and I was asked if I was interested in joining the crew in Ibiza. It was a once in a life time opportunity, so I didn’t hesitate. It was definitely the right thing to do. I’m very grateful to be here.
While jamming with others we talk about synchronised energy and the magic when everything falls into place. Do you get the same feeling when playing along a DJ set?
Absolutely yes, big time… you get into the loop and it’s perfect timing and from there, the repeated and hypnotic pattern feeds the energy. It’s like architecture in space using sound and frequencies. You can’t see it, you can’t touch it, but you definitely can feel it. It’s a build-up process, like a wave growing in the ocean. And then there is this moment, when you reach a strong feeling of perfect synchronisation with the music, the drumming, the machines, the people, all the elements, everything. That’s when the magic happens…
There is also this deep sensation of sharing something special with the audience. I can see people dancing, closing their eyes and embarking onto the journey. The percussionist and DJ are sending the vibes. Receiving them back from the people and the generated energy are connecting us all to the same pulsing beat. This can be a profound spiritual experience…
Have you been drumming just for fun at Benirràs? Or other sunset spots?
Yes, that’s a classic. I love it and I wish I could play there more often, but it’s hard to combine professional gigs and gigs for fun. Especially in summer! It is so cool to have this open drum circle at such a beautiful beach.
There is also a wonderful gig every Tuesday that I love to play: „The Ibango Gathering“ in San Rafael. It’s a beautiful jam, open to everybody, with great musicians. Definitely a place to go.
Can you recommend some cool, percussion heavy music? Like „Slave to the Rhythm“?
„Planet Drums“ is an amazing project with some of the best percussionists in the world. It features the legendary „Grateful Dead“ drummer Mickey Hart, along with extraordinary percussionists Zakir Hussain, Sikiru Adepoju, Giovanni Hidalgo, and traditional drummers & dancers from around the globe. Brilliant!
Where can we find you?
Many places and it changes all the time (lol)! Côto, Itaca, Sunset Ashram with DJ Maricha, Las Dalias, Beach house, La Farandula, Social Point, Ibango, private parties, weddings, ceremonies, and on the beach!
What would you recommend to somebody who wants to start learning to play percussion?
I would say go to the music store or a market (like the Hippie Market here in Ibiza) where they sell percussions and choose one. What I mean by choose is actually feel the one that is calling you, watch it, touch it, feel the sound response, feel its body. It looks like just any common object, but in fact it’s a body, with a bone structure, a skin. It then will have a voice when you start to play with it, and with time, will have a soul: the mirror of your soul…
Once you have a percussion, find a quiet place. The best is in nature and just play and start a conversation with it. Don’t try to rationalise what you’re doing. Just play, let loose, go with the flow, don’t think, that’s a wonderful feeling… keep doing this over and over again. You’ll have deeper conversations and will always give pure water to your soul…