Poems by Langston Hughes set to music and played by
Debbie Cameron vocals & fender rhodes
Hasse Poulsen guitar and vocals
Luc Ex bass guitar
Mark Sanders drums
”Freedom is a strong seed
Planted in a great need.”
The Langston Project is a quartet where musical inventiveness meets the poems of the late, great American writer Langston Hughes. It is the combination of creative – or let’s say “free” – music with ambitious song writing.
The poems by Langston Hughes are set to music in precise song forms that allow the four musicians room for interpretation and improvisation. Langston Hughes‘ poems call for swinging and grooving music and for the blues – the more or less abstract blues, “ Contemporary Blues” as Luc calls it.
The arrival of Debbie Cameron in the quartet in the Spring 2014 brings a strong jazz and soul fell as well as a deep American prononciation that fits Langston Hughes‘ poems perfectly. The between this rich world and the more experimental temperaments of Poulsen, Ex, and Sanders gives a fresh and grooving music on the edge between tradition and invention.
If one word could pin-point Langston Hughes‘ poems, it would be “desire”: Desire for artistic expression, desire for writing, desire for justice and equality, the ambition and desire of people, the desire for dignity and above all the desire of love, for love, in love. Desire.
Langston Hughes (1902-1967) is one of America’s truly great poets whose lifespan coincides with the birth and the hey-day of jazz music. Like another great artist coming from the same environment at the same time, Duke Ellington, his art speaks far beyond the place it was made, his poems and writings have universal appeal. At the same time Langston Hughes was deeply involved in his times and their troubles and wrote poems about social injustice, the world war, segregation. He became the leading literary voice of the “Harlem Renaissance” from the mid twenties onwards.
Being the author of many plays, novels, short stories and a lot of poems, librettos for musicals and operas, Langston Hughes is one of the innovators of the literary art form, jazz poetry. His poems are often inspired by blues and jazz which give them an edge and rhythm that work very well with contemporary jazz and blues. But not only jazz and blues: Langston Hughes worked closely with several composers of his time such as William Grant Still, Kurt Weill, Randy Weston, Charles Mingus,
The four musicians are all very active on various creative new music scenes: From Luc Ex‘ punk rock explorations with the Ex and Rubatong, to his free playing with Four Walls and SPEEQ (an earlier name for this group), To Mark Sanders‘ dub playing with Jah Wobble, his free improvising with Evan Parker or John Butcher, Debbie Cameron’s jazz virtuosity, her pop experience (no 1 in in The Danish Eurovison song contest, no 11 in the international in 1983) to the gospel singing that has followed her troughout, Hasse Poulsen’s French jazz extremities with Louis Sclavis and Hélène Labarrière, the more cabaret sounding Das Kapital and his post-rock singing with The Man They Call Ass.
30.10 The Langston Project @ le Singe, Biel /CH
16.11 The Langston Project @ Cafe Wilhelmina, Eindhoven, NL
17.11 The Langston Project @ La Dynamo, Pantin, F
18.11 The Langston Project @ La Périscope, Lyon, F
19.11 The Langston Project @ L’AJMI, Avignon, F