Quiet. It is such a precious commodity, and more so today than ever before. In this music from accordionist Vincent Peirani and singer Serena Fisseau, you can actually hear it. It’s right there in the gaps between the notes, perhaps almost more important than the notes themselves. This music is irresistibly light and limpid, and often very cheerful too. It draws its intimate feel from the fact that Peirani and Fisseau are not just a couple artistically, but also in real life. They recorded the tracks of "So Quiet" for their children. And for all other children. And also for any adults out there who'd like to take themselves back in their dreams to a temporary state of childlike innocence – for the time it takes to listen to an album.
And what is it that makes this irresistibly light and delicate music quite so appealing? It has to be the astonishing expertise and judgment of both musicians. Serena Fisseau has always been spurred on by a particularly inquisitive spirit: she has sung classical as well as gospel, blues, latin, rock and jazz, and she has worked a lot with spoken word, poetry in particular. Furthermore she has become well-known in France and abroad for songs, albums and projects conceived for children: "D'une île à l'autre" (from one island to another), "Nouchka et la grande question" (Nushka and the big question) or "L'échappée belle" (the beautiful escapee/close call). For his part, Vincent Peirani is certainly the greatest innovator of the accordion of our day, voted "Artist of the Year 2018" by the leading French publication Jazz Magazine. And both of them are cosmopolitan and eclectic by nature: Fisseau is French with Indonesian heritage and has a fascination for languages; Peirani is from the South of France, with a musical career has taken him from classical to Mediterranean music to jazz.
But all of this virtuosity, wealth of experience and versatility are in the background of "So Quiet"; what matters is that the tracks of this album are so touching, clear and expressive. It’s simply about the beauty of the music. It might come from chanson genius Serge Gainsbourg ("La Javanaise"), from easy listening deity Burt Bacharach ("Close to You") or from the alchemists of pop, The Beatles ("And I Love Her"); whether the source is Indonesian folk music ("Bintang Kecil" - small star), Musica Populeira Brasileira in Caetano Veloso’s "Alguem Cantado", Antonio Carlos Jobim ("Luiza") or a standard from the Great American Songbook like "What a Wonderful World"; whether in French or Indonesian (Fisseau’s two native languages), English or Portuguese; whether with accordion, accordina, Wurlitzer e-piano, body percussion or a plastic bag(!), Fisseau and Peirani reveal the essence of these timeless masterpieces, and in the most natural way possible. All it takes is a voice, an instrument and a lot of quiet – listen out for the ending, a totally enchanting version of “Over The Rainbow" from "The Wizard of Oz".
This album has a prevailing spirit that everyone is going to want to hum or to dream along with, no matter their age, or what music they normally prefer. "So Quiet" is a feast for the senses, an irresistible invitation to take some time, to cuddle up in the living room maybe, and to let the singing and the accordion carry you off somewhere. So Quiet-ly.