Mathieu des Longchamps

Mathieu des Longchamps

Mathieu des Longchamps was born in Quebec, in Montreal.

 

Her mother is a folk singer. His flamenco guitarist and harpist father with Latin influences. His first years Mathieu lived them in Panama, at La Guaira, in a cabin on stilts isolated from everything, between the jungle and the ocean. He flies away to grow up in Paris. Before making the guitar his instrument, he touched the harp, percussion, piano.

 

At 17, he entered the American School of Modern Music in Paris. During two years. Pierre Bensusan, guitarist emeritus, considered by many to be one of the current masters of folk music, gave him his first electric guitar, a luthier's, for Christmas. New foot in the stirrup. New confirmation. Then, he left for Argentina, in Buenos Aires, to continue his apprenticeship. His first big solo trip. He decides to leave three months, on the roads, in Uruguay, with a friend. Playing in the streets, living on nothing. Adventure.

 

He returned to Paris, left to isolate himself for six months in Spain, in Cadaques, in his grandmother's house. The house overlooks wild waves. He is at home here too. He begins to write songs, with 19 cats as companions of loneliness, pretty songs that escape any classification and which unveil an unhindered poetry. He found himself, that's undeniable. He toughens up. For his first album, Mathieu returns to his roots. Return to Panama to record his Caribbean folk sung in French and Spanish. Solar and melancholy, bewitching. Mixed in Paris, it's ready.

 

Released in March 2021. Its title? “Vivo En Panama” (“I live in Panama”). It is also a song from the disc and the name given to the film directed by Mathieu, which will accompany the release of the album. Sound and image. Notes and visions. French and Spanish. Conceived between Paris, Milan and Panama, it is a disc in sepia sunshine, with mixed feelings, with rebellious elegance. It is important a first album, you put your whole life into it. “This record is a journey between childhood and adult life, between European winters and the Caribbean sun.

 

It is innocence, Paradise lost and a deeper and more difficult reality. It's still this trip between two worlds, that of my life as a city dweller and that of palm trees, cayuco (canoe carved out of a typical Caribbean tree trunk and heroine of his film) and friends on the beach in Panama... ” he said. It's still pretty free melodies, without borders or gimmicks. If the songs of Mathieu des Longchamps sometimes distill a certain melancholy, it is never either leaden or deadly. On the contrary even. It emerges from its melodies like an appeasement, it is an invitation to detachment, to contemplation, letting go. And if the past is a recurring character in his compositions, the horizon is also often there, with its possibilities and its moving colors. The adventure with a mirror in short. His music seems almost stripped down. But if you listen carefully, it reveals arrangements full of space, which breathe fully, delicate strata, strings, basses, small sound stratagems for summon the dreams of the listener. “Vivo in Panama”, yes, is a passport to elsewhere. The time is in confinement, in closure.

 

The disc of Mathieu des Longchamps then suddenly appears as a key to open the door to the world, to worlds even. A rite of passage. A promise of the future. When we listen to “Vivo En Panama”, its velvet brass, this guitar with hot tears, we are transported without waiting. It is a sincere tribute to this country that Mathieu loves so much. There is still "Perdona Me", the last song on the disc, its spun and sensitive metaphor on the sea, the sand, these sublime choirs of invisible angels, this desire to erase mistakes and still believe in them, it's an incredibly beautiful song. Which relates more to the present than to the past. “Les Bras dans les Bras”, one of the last songs written for the album, with delicate curves, evokes this daily fight so that tomorrow does not rhyme with nothing. Anyone can identify with it. “Héros Anonyme” picks up the pace a little, an acoustic cavalcade in which these anonymous everyday heroes, who suffer without ever complaining and who continue to move forward, are in the spotlight. “Comme un Éclair” sings the time that passes without taking any prisoners and on the feelings that struggle to vibrate again.

 

“Tenemos Todo” claims happiness without burden, light and consented travel. “Là-Bas” is the acclaimed unknown, the desire for discovery without a net. “La Guaira” is also there of course, the very first song created by Mathieu as a teenager. And then there is this film, made in January in Panama. We discover Mathieu going back in time and memories. In the heart of a jungle that owes as much to Joseph Conrad as to the pirate that was Mathieu kid. He goes up a river to finally reach this village where his memory still vibrates. He also wrote the commentaries and did the voice-over. "I'd rather leave than arrive," he says at one point in the film. He knows that the journey always matters more than the destination. “This film is a bit like the disc in images. A sort of intro. My original idea was to return to Panama and embark on an expedition. It was a dream I had for a long time. Adventure, for me, is something crucial. A childhood dream. That was the idea." The last image of the film is that of Mathieu, a child, who smiles. Happy. Innocent. In its place.

 

We suddenly understand why his songs sound the way they sound, both paradoxical and mysterious, simple and secret, unifying and intimate. They have found the secret of the Corridors of Time. They haven't forgotten anything. – Jerome Reijasse

 

 

NEW ALBUM Vivo en Panamà (released March 26, 2021 on Polydor)

It is with his first album to be released that Mathieu returns to his roots. Return to Panama to record his Caribbean Folk sung in French and Spanish.

Solar and melancholy, bewitching. Mixed in Paris, it's ready.