Famous African-French showman, pop-rock musician, composer and jazz player Manu Katche began his career as Peter Gabriel’s drummer, continued with Tracy Chapman, Joni Mitchell, Sting, Dire Straits, while in this region he first played in cooperation with Gibonni in 2001.
On April 14 you will have the opportunity to hear him in a completely different edition, alongside one of the most important Croatian jazz pianist Matija Dedic in cult Belgrade club BitefArtCafe and a day before in Student center in Zagreb. We asked Manu about his previous concerts in Serbia, about collaboration with other famous musicians and about his expectations from the future concert with Matija in Belgrade and Zagreb, the day before.
You performed in Bitefartcafe club in December 2005, 14 years ago. Do you remember this experience and is there any interesting anecdote about it?
I had some back problems and wasn’t really crazy about doing that tour in the first place. I think first we played in Novi Sad, then a concert hall in Belgrade at the end, Bitefartcafe club in Belgrade. We were greeted by club owner Misa Relic and his team. They have sent me to a spa place where I had a massage and went to the sauna, and after that I felt like a new man, ready for everything. The team was so dedicated to making this happen and making it as cozy as possible for us while in Serbia, that we simply clicked and everything went in this positive direction. Since then I am always happy to see and work with Misa because I know I have nothing to worry about.
You are performing in Belgrade with famous Croatian pianist Matija Dedic for the first time. How did this collaboration happen and how do you and Matija get along?
Our mutual friend Misa Relic contacted me with some material Matija send to him and asked if I would be interested to play on this project. I really liked the music and decided that I would do this project with joy. Matija came to Paris, we had a wonderful couple of days recording and I think it turned out well. Our concerts at Musicology Barcaffe Sessions, both in Belgrade and Zagreb will prove me right, I hope.
What are you working on right now, when it comes to your solo projects?
It is not a solo project, it is a duo album, but I am really proud of it. I released an album called “Colors” with pianist Yelena Eckemoff. It is fourteen songs, near-eighty minute set of a musical examination of life.
You are known as one of the most famous drummers in the world, having in mind your solo albums but also your collaborations. What changed during the years and nowadays?
Probably my mindset mostly. I always did projects I believed in, but as I get older, I appreciate the time more and more, so I get really picky. And I think I have a different view on how to create and play music. I think as we grow older, we understand the beauty of simplicity.
You also performed in Belgrade with Peter Gabriel in 2013. Could you tell us what Peter Gabriel is like to work with and what do you remember about this visit to Belgrade?
This was such a special and unique experience. You could really see that people have been waiting for Peter to come for a long time. I know that concerts in Serbia can be really emotional, but that was another level. I remember looking at the audience from my drum seat and thinking, this is what it is all about.
Could you tell us more about your other collaborations, like with Gibonni or Sting and how do you adapt to different music styles, and different characters of fellow musicians?
It is always a challenge to adapt to different styles, but at the same time, to stay recognizable and true to yourself. I think that is why those great colleagues of mine choose to call me to do their projects. Gibonni is a great musician and a warm person whose music comes naturally to him and is a part of him. He was really open to my advice and let me do my thing on the drums. Sting, on the other hand, is a perfectionist and knows exactly what he wants from every song. But, what he realizes is that musicians are not robots, so every musician brings a part of him to the song, and at the end, it doesn’t sound exactly like he imagined. Still, he does admit that often it turns out even better.
Do you have any advice to share with young drummers and musicians from Serbia? What is the key to success?
Practice and repetition is the key, but also to listen to a lot of music and get inspiration from it, and learn from it. It is vital to be surrounded by music at all times because, in this hectic world, we can easily become distracted. If you want to live by playing music, you have to live music.
The Belgrade audience will also have the opportunity to hear for the first time the band Snarky Puppy whose concert on Kalemegdan ends with the spring season of the concert series Musicology Barcaffe Sessions.
Tickets for all concerts can be purchased online and at sales points of DDtickets or Tickets.rs.