An evolution of Western musical roots

15. March 2017
Teresa Garcia

Rhizottome is a duo formed by Matthieu Metzger and Armelle Dousset, they delighted the Jazzkaar audience with the enchanting simplicity and synchronicity of their musical instruments, taking us on a very personal journey of their unique interpretations of traditional Western folk songs where sitting in your chair became quite the challenge at times. Jazzkaar reporter Teresa Garcia had the opportunity to ask them a few questions before their performance.


Where or when did your interest in music start? And what brought you together as a duo?
Matthieu: It was something that I started to do as a kid, just like other children do sports I started to play music and it has just been a natural path ever since. As a teenager I discovered that I wanted to continue playing and being a musician was my idea of a perfect job. It is not a very big town and there are a lot of musicians so we eventually met through common friends in Poitiers.
Armelle: For me it was the same, I started playing as an activity to do and I decided to follow this path. The encounter between both us happened because of the instruments. We think they really match together, his sopranino saxophone and my accordion.


What are your influences? What do you listen to?
Armelle: A lot of really different things, from classical music to contemporary, folk, techno, jazz, etc.
Matthieu: There are no boundaries for me, it’s the way people play music beyond the aesthetics what matters.


Can you tell us a little about your project in Japan Niwashi no yume (The gardener’s dream)? How did that happen?
Armelle: I discovered Japan 8 years ago. I am also a dancer so I was there doing a solo dance project for three months and I was being introduced to a lot of people in the music network. My main personal project is Rhizottome with Matthieu, so we had two tours by ourselves, completely independent and without any connectons or friends. And afterwards we asked for a grant from the French institute to go there for a longer time and meet with other Japanese musicians.


How would you describe the music you are making? What would you like people to know about Rhizottome?
Together: The name of our project is an old word which means gardener or the tool which you use to cut the roots. We were inspired by a lot of things but mostly by traditional music from Western Europe which can be danced to. In a way it is our common root with Western people. We express what we feel about it because we are not experts and we don’t hesitate to cut the roots through improvisation or to mix with other influences that we have. It’s free music and you can dance to it, its ground is traditional music which is also something that is deeply rooted but slowly moving. It is our version of one possible tree. We would’ve liked the people to just listen, we are more into playing for people that are listening than talking about it (smiles).


What brings you here?
Matthieu: Thanks to Charles Gil. He’s well-known in the jazz circles and I asked him if he was interested in our project. I toured as a solo artist and now we are doing this tour together, we are really happy to be here. We are glad to play for audiences that aren’t French and for people to hear our music and also to listen to other music.



Friday March 3, 2017 at 7:00pm Philly Joe’s jazz club, Tallinn
Armelle Dousset – accordion
Matthieu Metzger – saxophone


Check out the photos here.