Gilles Apap

In the music world certain genres have developed rivalries. For whatever reason artists and fans of a particular genre like to jibe those of another, rap vs country is a good example. Both are successful forms of music with thriving communities. They both have their share of quality acts and crappy acts. Perhaps it’s because neither needs each other, there aren’t many crossover acts within the two worlds to keep them connected. Whatever the reason, a rivalry definitely is present. Another area of contention exists between the classical and folk communities. American folk music in particular. I have old recordings in which old time guys are talking in jest about how grand their instruments are, in a way of poking fun at their classical counterparts. The two worlds are very opposite. The classical world is very competitive, the venues are grand, the instruments cost in the millions, every fine detail of a performance is eked over for months, years. In the folk world, not so much. A valid venue could simply be a friend’s home, a barn, a VFW, sure there examples of folk artists playing Carnegie hall and the venues of yore but those examples are definitely in the minority. Most folk musicians play in unofficial gatherings for the bulk of their playing lives. I could go on and on about the differences and similarities between rival genres but they all share one major thing in common, artists that love creating music and a listener ship that loves listening to said music. It’s this love of music that enables Gilles Apap to bridge music genres like few others can.

Gilles Apap was born in Bougie, Algeria in 1963. While at a very young age he moved to Nice, France where he took up music soon after. After living out the remainder of his childhood in Nice he began traveling abroad performing and attending various music schools. Now Gilles lives in California where he continues to participate in the music community. He has played with almost countless orchestras through the years and if you’ve seen any of his performances you’ll know why. Simply put, he’s a wild man. He can mix genres like no one I’ve ever seen. He has a technical prowess to play a classical piece at a virtuoso level then he can switch out of that mode and play a 12 bar blues tune with just as much conviction. I’m most particular to his playing of gypsy music which sounds magnificent and is initially what drew me to his music.

Re-imagining existing music seems to be Gilles shtick. His first band, The Transylvanian Mountain Boys had many songs that crossed styles, mostly between Romanian folk music and classical. The Transylvanian Mountain Boys also played bluegrass and showed up at many bluegrass festivals around the American country side. In addition to solo work Gilles latest band is called Colors of Invention. I think it goes to show much about his character that he didn’t put his name in the band’s name. Colors of Invention could easily be simply the name for his backup band but not in this case, he has made himself part of the band like anyone else. I will say that his albums are tricky to get a hold of. I got a couple of them off of Amazon but they are few and far between. Perhaps the easiest way to get Gilles records is from his official site although I have yet to buy anything from his site so I can’t speak as to it’s ability to process orders.

1) Gilles Apap and the Transylvanian Mountain Boys – Who? [1994]
2) Gilles Apap and the Transylvanian Mountain Boys – S/T [1996]
3) Gilles Apap and the Transylvanian Mountain Boys – d’Ici & d’Ailleurs [1997]
4) Enescu, Debussy and Ravel: Sonatas for violin and piano [1999]
5) No Piano On That One [2001]
6) Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and Fiddle Tunes [2002]
7) Gilles Apap and The Sinfonia Varsovia [2003]
8) Music for Solo Violin [2006]
9) Friends [2007]
10) Colors of Invention – Sans Orchestre [2008]

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