Pierre Barouh and The Saravah Sound: Jazz, Samba and Other Hallucinatory Grooves


Wewantsounds present the first retrospective on vinyl of Saravah Records, one of the most influential French labels founded in Paris by singer, songwriter, and producer Pierre Barouh in 1966. Featuring Brigitte Fontaine, Jacques Higelin, Alfred Panou, and many rare tracks reissued on vinyl for the first time, the set gives a glimpse of the free-form, groovy sound of the label between 1965 and 1976. Supervised by Pierre Barouh's son and Saravah historian, Benjamin Barouh. Pierre Barouh became an icon with the Claude Lelouch film Un Homme et Une Femme in 1966 that made him a star. Indeed, in 1965 while in Brazil, on the insistence of Vinicius de Moraes, he recorded French version of "Samba de Bênção" with Baden Powell on a revox, retitled "Samba Saravah" and played it to his friend Lelouch who fell in love with the song and decided to use it in the film. The film and the score became huge hits. Barouh then decided to develop Saravah Publishing into a label and a recording studio with his old friend and associate Fernand Boruso to develop projects in a truly independent and original way. Through their film connections, came Brigitte Fontaine and Jacques Higelin and recorded "Cet Enfant Que Je T'avais Fait" for the 1968 film Les Encerclés. Saravah signed them on the spot and the song, arranged by Jean Claude Vannier, which would become a cult classic and appeared on Fontaine's breakthrough debut LP Brigitte Fontaine Est... Folle (1968). Fontaine would go on to record several albums for Saravah -- often with her partner Areski Belkacem -- including Comme A La Radio in 1969 with Art Ensemble of Chicago. The latter are also featured on "Mystifying Mama" by Marva Broome and "Je Suis Un Sauvage" by Alfred Panou, an African actor and singer who'd worked with Jean-Luc Godard. Pierre Barouh pioneered music from Africa and Latin America as he'd spent time in Brazil (in 1969 he directed Saravah a documentary about the Rio music scene). He released two albums by Gabonese artist Pierre Akendengue, whose "Orema Ka-ka-ka" from the 1976 album Africa Obota is featured here. Through Boruso, Saravah also released a handful of jazz albums including the Pianos Puzzle series from which come Rene Urtreger's "Tchac Poum Poum", Georges Arvanitas's "Trane's Call", and Maurice Vander's "Sicilienne". The label also ventured in fascinating recordings mixing jazz, experimental music, and pop by Baroque Jazz Trio, Michel Roques, or Cohelmec Ensemble. The set also features rare singles by Beartrice Arnac (then Boruso's girlfriend) with the jazzy "Le Bruit et le Bruit" and Jacques Higelin's "Je Jouais le Piano", one of the first songs recorded for the label and which has never been reissued since. The set ends with a haunting duet between Pierre Barouh and Baden Powell, recorded in 1965 during the same Rio session as Samba Saravah. Also features E.D.F.. Includes liner notes (English/French) by Benjamin plus an exclusive interview of Barouh's partner Fernand Boruso by Jacques Denis.