Artist Residency: Puman x Voyou

Right off the heels of their concert at Spacing for Fete de la Musique Kunming, Voyou joined an artist residency with Sea of Wood's band Puman. A 5-day program designed, planned and produced by Sea of Wood's international team, the residency had two parts: the first four days were meant for exploration, inspiration, and songwriting, while the last day was dedicated to recording.

Part 1: Explorations

During the first 4 days the musicians got to discover some of the amazing variety of Yunnan culture, meeting with those who preserve the ancestral ways of playing, and exchanging musical ideas in a perfect environment to foster creativity and inspiration. Sam Debell, having worked on many albums with Yunnan musicians, helped facilitate exchanges, introduced instruments, and brought his nonchalant good humour and expertise to the process, making it a fun and chill experience for everyone.

Early in the morning of the first day, the musicians and our team arrived at the wonderful Grand Corner Art Hotel, on the coast of Fuxian Lake.  That day the venue's art curator Luo Fei took the team to several places in the area, including a recently abandoned village, and an old temple.

We have documented everything as well as we could, with bits and pieces on our Facebook ;)

Day 1: A derelict house by the lake, photo: Ear

Lao Ru & Lao Tan (Puman) standing by the lake, photo: Ear

Day 2 saw us spending time with wonderful musicians of the Yi's Sani sub-minority, in 老瓦村, photo: Ear

The World Heritage UNESCO site of the Stone Forest was a stop on the way back from 老瓦村, photo: Ear

Day 3: Briefing session before the serious stuff begins, photo: Luo Fei

A very serious affair throughout, photo: Ear

Day 4: Sam Debell during the listening session at Grand Corner Art Hotel, photo: Light Through Photo Works

Voyou gives an acoustic performance on Bokai's guitar, prior to the listening session of the demo, photo: Hong Xiaoyang

Lao Tan's acoustic performance before the listening session, photo: Hong Xiaoyang

We are very grateful to the venue which hosted us during four days, the forward-thinking hotel/arts center Grand Corner Art Hotel. For them this was the continuation of prior work with artists, their wonderful Fuxian Air (artists-in-residence). Find more about it by clicking here. We are looking forward to working with them on more exciting projects in the future!

The end of the creative part, L to R: Lao Ru, Elie Rosenberg, Lou, Voyou, Caroline Péron, Lao Tan, Sam Debell, Hua Pengfei, Gong Yunxian, Luo Fei. Photo: Hong Xiaoyang

Part 2: Recording and Farewell

The fifth day saw us leaving the comfort of the residency to spend a day at Bright Music studio in Anning. It was a very intense session for our musicians, leading to the recording of an amazing track we are looking forward to share with the world. 

You can find a sneak peek of the creation process here.

To celebrate our time together, and bring bittersweet closure to this unforgettable adventure, we had a farewell dinner at yet another unbelievable location: the 50th floor of Kunming' Sofitel! We are incredibly grateful to Sofitel for welcoming us with a feast worthy of princes.

This project was in itself an unforgettable experience for everyone involved, but it doesn't end here, as we will keep building ties and working with artists to bridge cultures, spark creativity, and produce beautiful music in the future.

Day 5: the end of the recording session, big thanks to engineer Wei Jingming (1st left). Photo: Ear

Farewell dinner at Sofitel Kunming, Photo: Wang Di

Under the ethnic minorities wall at Sofitel, L to R: Lao Ru, Voyou, Lao Tan,  Lou. Photo: Wang Di

Special thanks need be given to the partners who worked with us to make this project possible:

  • The French Embassy in China
  • Institut Français
  • 云南省文化馆(云南公共文化云)
  • Grand Corner Art Hotel
  • Sofitel Kunming

More thanks to:

  • The photographers who snapped photos during the various moments
  • Bokai from Instinkto Industrio who let us borrow his amazing guitar!
  • The friends who participated in various ways
  • Caroline Péron, the very talented illustrator who spent the days at Grand Corner Hotel with us. It was wonderful to have her, and everyone should check out her fantastic art: here's her website.


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