Music is above all a language, a universal language that allows talking to musicians from other cultures whereas we often do not speak the same language, and our exchanges would be very limited if only words would allow us to communicate. But with notes, it is different. Except for some quarter tones and some microtonal inflections here and there, the 12 notes of the chromatic scale are the basis of musical thought and form a universal material acting as shared knowledge. Based on this, fromone culture to another, one style to another, one composer or improviser to another, the only thing that changes is the way to organize the notes, the way to melodically, harmonically and rhythmicaly arrange them.

I started music when I was a child with classical music, quickly stepping in to jazz which I studied at the conservatory, and it is only later, in my adult life, that I started to travel and that I successively discovered a passion for the music of Brazil, Cuba, India, China, the Arab world, West Africa, Rwanda, Turkey, etc... And each time I discover new music, I realize how it is all a matter of codes and organizational rules between the notes. Each culture has defined one or several languages,each of themhaving codes.

Also, there are today musicians all over the world who are going deeper into the music of their own culture, making an effort to open up to music from other cultures and to adopt their languages. And whenever these musicians meet, they have the opportunity to communicate in this common language.

Obviously, one of the risks we must avoid is the simplification of cultural languages by lowering standards, and this is a trap we should always make sure we do not fall into when we make stylistic fusions. But I keep this in mind and I am confident that, since we gather musicians who master their own language, are open to the spirit of the encounter and are also able to improvise freely, they adopt a real logic of dialogue and a musical and human encounter all together becomes possible.

I have long chosen to dedicate an essential part of my life to these travels, to these types ofmusic and encounters, because I am aware that all this brings me both happiness and meaning. A meaning that is intrinsically linked to the incredible era we are living in. At this time of unfettered globalization, I think that it is indeed important to be able to draw the most positive aspect of these closer ties among peoples and cultures because if people are actually closer to one another than ever before, most of them do not really feel linked, and even less close. On the contrary, the difficulties of life on the XXIst century create a sense of insecurity that increases identitarian, national, religious and community isolationisms so much so that many people consider themselves as being even more different from others – and therefore indifferent to others – than before.

In this sense, creating spaces where a real encounter can take place between persons from different cultures, represents a true commitment and allows reaping the fruit of globalization in the most positive aspect, reminding us the richness of our differences and of our cultural diversity as well the essence of the human condition we all share.