“The meeting of the old and sacred instrument with electronic music: Mehdi Haddab and Smadj choose to play their instrument with a new point of view using electricity for it sometimes and a small computer to play real times beats.”
BBC – Radio 3 Awards World Music 2003
DuOud consists of two oud playing ; Tunisian born Jean-Pierre Smadja (already noted for many albums he issued as Smadj), and Algerian born master oud player Mehdi Haddab (known for his work with the acclaimed French based trio, Ekova, and more recently Speed Caravan). Blending their North African heritage with the latest Western technology, the pair builds a musical cycle that looks to their African roots while absorbing and morphing contemporary music styles – break beats, jazz grooves and metal guitar. DuOud is the first band to mix the North African lute with electronic technology, they do it with such an imaginative freedom that sets them apart from their contemporaries; their debut album “Wild Serenade” saw them winner for the Best Newcomer award in the BBC Music Awards. The first album is purely a triumph, supported by a nearly 3 years long world tour. In 2006, DuOud is recording “Sakat” in Yemen with Abdulatif Yagoub. A true meeting of culture, a true and rare jewel. On “Ping Kong”, DuOud hovers between tradition and futurism, with varying moods ranging from surf kitsch to contemporary groove, with featuring from Cyril Atef and Vincent Segal from Bumcello and Malouma.
Smadj and Mehdi Haddab are also children of the Parisian musical turmoil of the 90’s. They have chosen the oud, just like one chooses one’s favorite pastry: with an accepted greed, without fear nor complex. And they truly became a phenomenon. Respectfully insolent with the instrument tradition, alternating “classical” Arab tunes and personal compositions, warmth of the acoustic instrument and electronic saturation, Duoud burnt the stage during many years and manage to surprise every fans at each new composition. Life and projects teared them apart… But the “Enfants Terribles” of the oud are back !
Having produced their own past albums, they have now collaborated with producers to come along with them on this new era. the four-tracks release offers up two new tunes, Get Sexy Get Mad an instrumental track mixed by frequent collaborator David Husser along with a remix version reinterpreted by Doctor L one the most innovative producers of music in Africa. The second is a song La Vida empowered by Sofiane Saidi arabic vocals the Star of Rai Music in France, produced by Sofyane Ben Youssef the producer responsable for the electonics in Ammar 808. La Vida reworked by doctor L with a massive break beat and the soulful vocal of Sofiane Saidi.
“Duoud played with cheekiness and playfulness their new scores. Powerful and dancing, then invigorating … like love !” Patrick Labesse, Le Monde (about the new repertory première les Suds à Arles en Hiver) – February 2018
“In the Cargo de Nuit overheated room, the duo […] brings to incandescence the marriage of the oud (which means “piece of wood” in the Arabic translation) and Metal. Hence a storm of saturated riffs for the most rock’n’roll oudists ever.” Anselme Koba, Mediapart – February 2018
Majors shows 2020 : Kaba Festival (Tirana and Korçe – ALB), Alliance Française Nairobi (Kenya), Institut Français Bujumbura (Burundi), Alliance Française Addis Abeba (Ethiopia)
Major shows 2019 : World Sacred Music Festival (Nagaur & Jodhpur – IND), Womad Adelaide and Australia Tour (Melbourne, Sydney), World Music Festival Panama, Festival Islamico de Mertola (PT), Jimo Ancient Town Festival (Tsingdao – PRC), Shanghai World Music Festival (PRC), Palacio Cadaval Renovation Party (Mertola – PT), Cabaret Sauvage New Opening Party (Paris, FR), JMC Festival (Carthage – TUN), Kaz’Out Festival (Mauricius Island), Kabardock (Reunion Island), DimaJazz Festival (Constantine – ALG)
Major shows 2018 : Wonderfruit Festival (Pattaya, THA), Taipei World Music Festival (TW), De Centrale Ud Festival (Gand, BE), Les Orientales Festival – Lieu Unique (Nantes, FR), L’Alimentation Générale (Paris, FR), Caph’Arts’Naüm Festival (FR), Festival do Mundo (Sines, PT), PRC “Revival Tour” (Beijing, Shenyang, Harbin, Dalian, Hangzhou, Fuzhou, Xiamen, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Hong Kong), Couleurs du Monde Festival (Langonnet, FR), Les Suds à Arles Festival (FR)…
Jean-Pierre Smadja (Smadj)
Tunisian born, Parisian musician, Jean-Pierre Smadja (Smadj) grew up listening to Oriental, Brazilian, funk, soul, and folk music. Entering a jazz school at age 15 due to his intense interest in the guitar, Smadj’s musical development came to be characterized by transforming traditional jazz styles into eclectic sounds. This interest in the mechanics of making music led Smadj to pursue a degree in sound engineering, which led to a fruitful career as a recording & sound engineer for famous classical and folk musicians.
Releasing his first album in 1994, Smadj became quickly recognized on an international scale for his signature blending of acoustic and electronic sounds on “Equilibriste”, which would ascend on the European World Music Charts to the number 4 position. In 2002, Smadj joined fellow oud magician, Mehdi Haddab to create DuOuD, a duo transporting thevoud to the 21st century.
In 2003, Smadj joined master percussionist Burhan Öçal for Burhan Öçal & The Trakya All Stars and in 2005 he stepped behind the scenes to serve as artistic director for Burhan Öçals “New Dream”, re-arranging Gypsies music. Meanwhile, Smadj was recording his own projects with other Turkish virtuosos Savas Zurnaci and Orhan Osman and DuOud. (“Sakat” with the yemeni player Abdulatif Yagoub recorded and “Ping Pong”).
More? A solo project “Selin” with Erik Truffaz and Talvin Singh as special guests ; a soundtrack with Cem Yildiz for the film “Muro”, some tremendous work with a “Hü” band, focusing on Alevi traditional music, and a huge project “the oud after Smadj” with Natacha Atlas, Ibrahim Maalouf, Mehdi Haddab, Cem Yildiz…..command for Saint Denis Festival (France). Some knows better Smadj for his album “Fuck the DJ”, relased in 2012, a musical journey where music is having an orgy with disco, dubsteps and oriental flavor. But there is the “Spleen” side of him (released in 2015). Smadj is East meets West, often severely borderline. And it’s a real pleasure.
Mehdi Haddab is famous for the creation of the band EKOVA with Dierdre Dubois & Arash Khalatbari (first album signed by Sony Music : “Heaven’s Dust” 1998 + Remix album (featuring DJ Cam, Doctor L, Da Lata , Smadj … ). First album… first world tour through Europe, the USA, Canada… EKOVA will open all the shows in France for The CURE, before to release a second album : “Space lullabies and other Fantasmagore” (2001), ranked 11 in the Top World Music Albums. The band is starting a second World Tour in the USA, Canada, Europe, Russia, Turkey…
In the 2000’s, Mehdi Haddab start collaborating with SMADJ with the DuOud project. First album signed on Label Bleu , a famous Jazz label “Wild serenade ” (2002) – album BBC awards nominated. Second album on World Village / Harmonia Mundi. And…. As always a long world tour : the USA , Canada, Europe , Russia , Turkey , Yemen , Oman , Tunisia, Morocco , Japan, Singapore, Morocco, Yemen, Algeria , Malaysia , Australia … They open shows in the US for the diva Natacha Atlas.
In 2009, Mehddi Haddab creates the band SPEED CARAVAN as a leader. First album “Kalashnik love ” (Real World Records ) – Song lines music awards nominated, and again a World Tour : Europe , Canada , Australia , New Zealand , Morocco , Algeria , Tunisia , Lebanon , Jordan , Egypt , Mexico , AEU, Dubai , Abu Dhabi , The Azores…
Second Album : “Big Blue Desert” 2016 (World Village/PIAS Records)
Mehdi Haddab is a real crossover artist, multiplicating movies collaboration : Imuhar / music Philippe Eidel ; Mortel Transfert / music Reinhart Wagner directed by JJ BENEIX, ; with Ekova : track (Temoine) in Wayne WANG’s movie “the center of the world ” 2001 ; with Duoud : Track (Johnny Guitar) in Rachida BRAKNI’s movie « De Sas En Sas » ; with Speed Caravan : Track (Diamond Belly Button) in Oliver STONE’s movie “Wall street 2” 2010). He is also creating for television : main theme with Al Jazeera music show (AL JAZEERA english/Moonbeam Films ) Track : Kalashnik love ; main theme TV talk show prime time Ness Nesma (NESMA TV ) Track : Galvanize ; original Score in Salem Brahimi’s documentary « Emir Abd El Kader ».
Mehdi was seen on theater in Othello, with Denis Lavant & Disiz la Peste. He also create the original music score with Sapho. Plus, he appeared as stage performer with Rachid TAHA , Brian ENO , Steve HILLAGE (Russian Tour 2005) and on the project Damon ALBARN’s AFRICA EXPRESS.
He played with : Rachid TAHA, HARD-FI, Mick JONES (the Clash), John Paul JONES (Led Zeppelin), Amadou & Mariam, Damon ALBARN (BLUR),GORILLAZ ,Chek TIDIANE ,Baba MAAL, Tinariwen, Natacha ATLAS, Talvin SINGH, Rodolphe BURGER, Nedim NALBANTOGLU, Erik MARCHAND, Viorel TAJKUNA, Angelika NIESCER, Lotfi ATTAR, Julien LOURAU, Cyril ATEF, Mino CINELU, Mathieu CHEDID, Eric TRUFFAZ, Ibrahim MAALOUF,Tony ALLEN…