Andy Narell - steel pans
Mario Canonge - piano
Michel Alibo - bass
Jean Philippe Fanfant - drums
I met Michel in 1993 in Martinique at the jazz festival, and Mario in Guadeloupe, where I was playing at a club. I was already aware that the music coming out of those islands was something special, and that there were some really good musicians down there. But when I started playing with Mario, Michel, and Jean Philippe, and I saw the kind of understanding that they shared about the music, it was like a window into another musical world had opened up for me. Here were three guys who could play their asses off in any style of music, but who also had a deep knowledge of their musical roots. I latched on and began learning about the biguine, mazurka, gwoka, belair, zouk, compas.
We started playing gigs in the French Caribbean, then I wrote some music for them for my album ‘Fire in the Engine Room’. In 2001 we played gigs in Paris and Switzerland, and we decided to be a band — Sakésho — which means ‘it’s gonna be hot’ in Creole, the language of French Caribbean.
We have two recordings, available here at the online store, and we’re playing live as much as we can. The video here at the site was shot by our friend (and percussionist) Bago at the recording sessions for ‘We Want You To Say,’ and edited by Anita Bonan.
2002 - Sakésho - ‘It’s gonna be hot’
2005 - Sakésho - ‘We Want You to Say’ > buy CD
Mario Canonge was born in Martinique and currently resides in Paris, where he’s a composer/bandleader and a top session player. With a catalogue of his own records as leader, he’s a key figure in French Caribbean music. A co-founder of the groups Ultramarine and Chic Hot, he has also performed with artists such as Patato Valdes, Alex Acuna, Chico Freeman, and Dave Liebman. He has made several albums as leader, the most recent being Mitan, featuring Felipe Cabrera and Obed Calvaire. His previous album, Rhizome, featured Roy Hargrove, Jacques Schwarz-bart, Michel Alibo, and Antonio Sanchez.
Michel Alibo — also from Martinique —has been at the forefront of African and Caribbean music for many years, recording and performing with artists like Salif Keita, Yousou N'Dour, Cheb Mami, Karim Ziad and Nguyen Le. A gifted composer as well, he was a founding member of the popular jazz fusion band Sixun.
Jean Philippe Fanfant — from Guadeloupe — hails from a family of great musicians, and is another long-time Parisian studio ace. He’s played with Mario Canonge since 1991 and has appeared with artists like Kassav, Toure Kunda, Angelique Kidjo, and Tania Maria. He has a new book out about Afro-Caribbean rhythms for the drumset which is killing. Distributed by Hit Diffusion in France, and by Sher Music everywhere else.