Anne Paceo | Samâ
by Jeff Becker
Anne Paceo is a drummer and vocalist that was born in Daloa, Ivory Coast. Ever since childhood, she has always felt the fundamental, relentless, and insatiable urge to play, create, and share her music. Paceo has performed in over 43 countries, on five continents, with some of the most excellent musicians, and has won 3 times Victoire de la Musique (French Grammy Awards). As a leader, she has recorded six critically acclaimed albums and was the first 24 years old-on Laborie Jazz records. Paceo is sponsored by three major brands, Yamaha, for drums, Bosphorus for cymbals, and Vater for the sticks. The BNP Paribas foundation and SACEM also support her musical project developments. Paceo is now releasing her album titled Samâ. The five songs are inspired by the joy of life and nature engaged in a perpetual dance. In Arabic, Samâ is the sacred dance of the Sufi whirling dervishes. Joining Paceo is Ann Shirley, vocals; Florent Mateo, vocals; Christophe Panzani, saxophone; Pierre Perchaud, guitar, and Tony Paeleman, keyboards.
The title track begins the project. The music that accompanies Samâ is thought to be deeply related to the whole Cosmos; it is spiritual listening; it is being inside “the presence.” Over a light ostinato, the melody is built. The vocals color the instruments and add to the organic flow of the melody. The harmonies are haunting and imaginative. As is the case with many drummer composers, the focus and attention to the rhythmic layers are beautiful. The male and female voices also add to the orchestrative colors. Panzani’s saxophone solo is intense, with Paceo providing a wonderful supportive texture.
The three vocalists’ power can be heard on “Tomorrow (Live at Cité de la Musique – Philharmonie de Paris, 15/06/2019).” The three-part harmonies add to the color of the melody. Ann Shirley takes the lead on this one. Perchaud’s guitar playing is exciting and answers the vocalist. The multiple layers of rhythmic activity are stunning, and Paceo’s drumming is just as gorgeous as her singing. This live cut also has the added energy of being performed in front of a live audience. The counterpoint is beautiful in the bridge.
Samâ is a collection of songs that creatively depict life’s joy and nature, all developed in a perpetual dance with rhythms and melody by Paceo’s compositional vision. The Dervish symbolizes the constant circular motion of the planets and the cycle of life, and music, for its part, becomes the sonic expression of this law of the Universe. The singing and playing on Samâ are absolutely stellar.