Impérial Orphéon Mesmerizes Tallinn

12. March 2015
Sarah Hamid

People gathered wherever they could in the crowded hall of NO99, eagerly snatching seats as close to the stage as possible. There was a profound air of excitement as the final minutes leading up to the performance were ticking down, and the bar was overwhelmed with drink orders and laughing couples waiting for the show to begin.


The modern, lounge style design of NO99 Jazz club was both glamorous and casual. An interesting mix of lavish décor and floor pillows for the mass of people seated on a grand staircase implied refined comfort and laid-back chic. The atmosphere remarkably suited the group of four gentlemen gathered at the corner of the bar, chatting excitedly as the waitress left to prepare their drinks. Vocalist and accordion player Rémy Poulakis, saxophonist Gérald Chevillon, and trombone player Damien Sabatier were grinning and laughing, while drummer Antonin Leymarie listened in while tapping his drumsticks on the bar apprehensively. Despite using a limited number of selected instruments that night, together the talented group had the incredible ability to play a dozen instruments. 


The hall quieted from lively discussions to intense murmuring as the quartet took the stage. After the drummer introduced the band in Estonian, resulting in encouraging laughter and applause from an eager audience, the room was filled with the rich sounds of the accordion. The saxophone elegantly joined in a cheerful and energetic melody that soon went fierce as the drums and trombone joined in. A fantastic blend of a classical and French cabaret, the lively band suddenly shocked the audience as Poulakis began to sing in a tenor-like voice that hypnotized the audience and resonated throughout the hall. 


The blend of the trombone, saxophone, accordion, drums, and the rich full tenor of Rémy Poulakis were the perfect ingredients for a moving classical music performance. Therefore it was an incredible shock when the band dived into a modern style that mixed jungle rhythms and modern improvised melodies that verged on electronic dub. Demonstrating an incredible range of styles, Impérial Orphéon led the viewers on a winding, fast-paced journey. From deep, soulful and opera-worthy vocals to trippy trombone skills, the show was a remarkable display of musical ingenuity and a bold approach towards modern music.


Impérial Orphéon

March 6th at 22:00, Theatre NO99 Jazz club

Rémy Poulakis – vocals, accordion

Gérald Chevillon – bass and soprano saxophone, electronic music

Damien Sabatier – baritone, alto and sopranino saxophone, theremin, electronic music

Antonin Leymarie – drums, percussion instruments