Sélène Saint-Aimé

Sélène Saint-Aimé

Sélène Saint-Aimé
Defying any easy classification (is it contemporary jazz? world? Afro-Caribbean?), the enchantment of multi-instrumentalist Sélène Saint-Aimé’s musicking lies in that undefinable essence that is best experienced, not categorised.

Sélène Saint-Aimé double bass/vocals
Rafael Aguila
tenor saxophone
Boris Reine-Adélaïde bèlè drum

It is an enchanted locale, where drums seem to sing and speak, and where the voice goes from florid passages in ethereal heights, to earthy growls peppered with voiced staccatos. Largely eschewing language(s) per se in favour of her own improvised vocalisations, the double-bassist, singer and poet brings together crystalline scatting and mesmerising ululations, interplaying them sinuously with her trio’s drums and saxophone, as well as with her own spellbinding counterpoint on double bass. This unlikely but compelling combination organically evokes the structure of the Martinican bèlè tradition, a dialogue of drummer and dancer that—especially in Saint-Aimé’s case—is a fluid, conversational juxtaposition of Afro-Caribbean musical elements and playful improvisatory energy. Saint-Aimé drinks deep from the source of her Martinican roots, pours it into a modern jazz-shaped vessel, and joyously shares a cup of it with us.

Totalis - Sélène Saint-Aimé

Duo Sélène Saint-Aimé / Boris Reine-Adélaïde sur Culturebox France 4

Sélène Saint-Aimé, double bassist, singer and poet of Martinican and West African descent, performs in an intimate trio ensemble to showcase her spellbinding vocal and instrumental talents. Her first album Mare Undarum was released to much critical acclaim in 2020, navigating a unique path between contemporary jazz, Afro Caribbean rhythms and modern classical music. Her most recent album Potomitan was released in February 2022 and has cemented her status as one of the most imaginative and original artists around. Sélène’s star is undoubtedly on a rapid upward trajectory which was confirmed when she received the prestigious Victoire du Jazz Award in the Rising Star category in 2021.

Studying with internationally acclaimed bassists such as Ron Carter and Lonnie Plaxico as well as saxophonist and conceptualist Steve Coleman has honed her considerable skills and provided her with the inspiration to carve out her own creative path. Currently a 'composer in residence' at Tropiques Atrium National Hall of Martinique, Sélène is also one of the 2022 Villa Albertine laureates in New Orleans, Louisiana. She has built a non-profit organisation alongside Martinican percussionist Boris Reine-Adélaïde called Afropolis that aims to promote and develop the practice of traditional music from Martinique. This involves a curated performance space where everyone is invited to participate, to create and/or experience new cultures.

Appearing at King’s Place in the upcoming EFG London Jazz Festival, Sélène Saint-Aimé is an exceptional artist who is fast enchanting audiences everywhere!