Deep Forest

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Deep Forest
Deep Forest Founders.jpg
Eric Mouquet & Michel Sanchez
Background information
Origin France
Genres Electronic
New Age
Ambient
World music
Ethnic electronica
Years active 1992–present
Website Michel Sanchez
Eric Mouquet
Members Michel Sanchez & Eric Mouquet (1992 - )

Deep Forest is a musical group originally consisting of two French musicians, Michel Sanchez and Eric Mouquet.[1] They compose a style of world music, sometimes called ethnic electronica, mixing ethnic with electronic sounds and dance beats or chillout beats. Their sound has been described as an "ethno-introspective ambient world music."[2] They were nominated for a Grammy Award in 1994 for Best World Music Album,[3] and in 1995 they won the Award for the album Boheme.[4] The group also became World Music Awards Winner - French group with the highest 1995 world sales. Their albums have sold over 10 million copies.

History[edit]

Logo of Deep Forest

Michel Sanchez came up with the idea of mixing the native Baka pygmy spoken word with modern music after hearing on-site recordings of these tribes conversing. Along with Eric Mouquet they created the project Deep Forest. Their first self-titled album (nominated for a Grammy) was released in 1992, with "Sweet Lullaby" being the smash single which would put Deep Forest on the musical map (UK Top 10 hit). The song "Sweet Lullaby" is adapted from a traditional song from the Solomon Islands. The album Deep Forest was dance-driven and the samples were heavily digitised and edited. It was re-released as a limited edition in 1994 under the name World Mix.

For their second album Boheme, Eric and Michel left behind the sounds of the forest and ventured into Eastern Europe bringing tender, lonesome Hungarian and Gypsy chants with upbeat, yet sad, music. Due to this shift, Dan Lacksman (from Telex, producer and sound-engineer of the first album) decided to go his separate way and continued working on other projects like Pangea. The chants were no longer brief, instead extended phrases had been sampled from Hungarian, and Russian. Hungarian singer Márta Sebestyén and Kate Petrova performed on this album. The duo also performed and produced the remixes for the Youssou N'Dour single "Undecided" in 1994, with guest vocals by Neneh Cherry (who featured on n'Dour's break-through single "Seven Seconds"). That same year Deep Forest made remixes for Jon Anderson's "Deseo", Apollo 440's "Liquid Cool" and Cesária Évora's "My Fatigue is Endless". In 1996 Deep Forest collaborated with Peter Gabriel on the song "While the Earth Sleeps" which was written for the film Strange Days.

The follow-up third album, Comparsa, contained Spanish chants and sounds. The music is often upbeat and celebratory. The last song from the album Media Luna, which was also released as a single, features a duet of Syrian and Spanish singers Abed Azrei and Ana Torroja.The duo collaborated with Joe Zawinul on the song Deep Weather during the recording of the album. Also Jorge Reyes (late Mexican musician), collaborated in this album with percussion, vocals and the flute.

A recording of their live concert in Japan was also released on a CD called Made in Japan. Although all the songs featured in the show are from the previous three albums, they have new often-longer arrangements and all the chants are performed and reinterpreted by live performers.

In 1999 Deep Forest worked with Cheb Mami and Catherine Lara on the song "L'Enfant Fleur" which had been composed for Sol En Si (a French charity which helps HIV families).

In 2000, Deep Forest released their fourth album, Pacifique. This album was composed to support the movie "Le prince du Pacifique" It mixes pacific and island beats with electronic music.

Music Detected was the title of their fifth much-anticipated official Deep Forest album which saw the duo turn its attention to the Far East and the Orient for inspiration. It also signalled a change in musical style for Deep Forest, from dance to a more rock-influence.

In 2003 Deep Forest released a compilation album Essence of the Forest, with some remastered tracks. In 2004 Eric Mouquet collaborated with Josh Groban, he composed and produced 2 songs on the album Closer.

In 2008 Eric Mouquet released the album Deep Brasil, a collaboration with Brazilian artist Flavio Dell Isola. During 2009-2010 Eric Mouquet went with a new band formula on stage and Deep Forest performed in different countries and continents (China, Africa, USA, Japan, France....).

In 2013 Sony music India released Deep India an Eric Mouquet and Rahul Sharma collaboration.

Music for films[edit]

In 1994, Deep Forest appeared on the soundtrack for Robert Altman's Prêt-à-Porter with the song "Martha".

Deep Forest has two tracks on the soundtrack for the 1995 movie Strange Days: "Coral Lounge" and "While the Earth Sleeps" (featuring Peter Gabriel).

One of Deep Forest's songs, "Night Bird", was used in the 1996 film version of The Island of Dr. Moreau.

In December 2000, Deep Forest composed a soundtrack for the French film Le Prince du Pacifique. The album, entitled Pacifique, is a return to a more ambient and melancholy sound, with piano themes riding above moody synth textures, Pacific Island chants, scratchy synth-leads and electronic drumming.

In 2004 the duo composed a soundtrack for the Japanese film Kusa No Ran. A remix of "Sweet Lullaby" was also used for Matt Harding's viral hit "Where the Hell is Matt?"

Side projects[edit]

Both Sanchez and Mouquet have worked over a variety of side-projects and solo albums. Sanchez has two solo albums out and produced Wes successful debut album; while Mouquet created the group Dao Dezi, collaborated with Catherine Lara and arranged Thorgal, he composed and produced songs for Ana Torroja (Mecano), Jean Sebastien Lavoie, and composed and produced songs for Josh Groban.

Live performances[edit]

Deep Forest had their first live concert in 1996 at the G7 Summit in Lyon, France. They continued from there on to the Deep Forest '96 world tour. During the 1996 tour, Deep Forest performed a number of shows in France, Hungary, Greece, Australia, Japan, Poland and US. After the completion of Comparsa there was a '98 world tour. Since '98 there have been numerous live performances, including the Image Concerts, which took place in Japan. The concerts were based around the 'Image' album (similar to Pure Moods) and featured a number of famous Japanese artists, also including Deep Forest.

Donations[edit]

A percentage of proceeds from Deep Forest's debut album sales went to the Pygmy Fund, set up to aid Zaire's pygmies in the transition from nomadic to agrarian subsistence, and to provide appropriate health care. A portion of the proceeds from 'Boheme' go to the György Martin Foundation, which aids in protecting the Roma (Gypsy) culture of Hungary. Deep Forest also actively supports the Sana Madagascar Association starting with 'Comparsa'. "The aim of the Sana Madagascar Association is to contribute protecting the environment, to collect instruments and precious recordings in order to allow the Malagasy man to save his culture, his nature and his traditional music."[5]

Controversy[edit]

According to a publication by the National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA):

The album fused digital samples of Indigenous music from Ghana, the Solomon Islands and African Pygmies with techno-dance rhythms. The band got access to the digital samples from the recordists — ethno-musicologists who had worked with these groups and deposited the recordings in a cultural archive.[6]

However:

Permission was not sought from the groups whose songs were recorded. Some of the Indigenous musicians were not credited for their contribution. The US album cover states that part of the proceeds were donated to the Pygmy Fund, a charity that provides support to the Efe people. But according to one observer, the music sampled was not from the Efe people. There is no other evidence of Indigenous musicians being paid for use of their work on the album. Large profits were made with no returns to Indigenous musicians. The music was appropriated without consent or attribution, and potential claims to copyright were ignored. All rights to self-determination were denied by these practices.[6]

Influences[edit]

Mouquet was influenced by his interests in house and techno music.[2]

Awards[edit]

Nominations in France and the US[edit]

  • 1993: Grammy Awards Best Album - World Music
  • 1993: MTV Awards Best Video - "Sweet Lullaby"
  • 1993: Victoires de la Musique Best Album - World Music
  • 1993: Victoires de la Musique Best Group of the Year
  • 1995: World Music Awards Winner - French group with the highest 1995 world sales
  • 1995: Grammy Awards Winner - Best Album - World Music
  • 1996: Victoires de la Musique - Best Group of the Year
  • 1996: Victoires de la Musique - Best Album - World Music

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

Year Title Sales Notes
1992 Deep Forest over 3,000,000
1994 World Mix re-release of 1992 album
1995 Boheme over 4,000,000
1998 Comparsa over 1,000,000
1999 Made in Japan 150,000 live album
2000 Pacifique soundtrack album
2002 Music Detected
2003 Essence of Deep Forest best of; released only in Japan
2004 Essence of the Forest best of; three different editions
2004 Kusa no Ran soundtrack album; released only in Japan
Michel Sanchez solo 'Deep' albums
Year Title Notes
1994 Windows Producer – Dan Lacksman, Michel Sanchez
2000 Hiéroglyphes Producer: Michel Sanchez Label: Naïve
2008 The Day Of A Paper Bird Producer Michel Sanchez
2008 The Touch Producer Michel Sanchez
2014 Eliott Producer Michel Sanchez
Eric Mouquet's solo 'Deep' albums
Year Title Notes
2008 Deep Brasil released under the name Deep Projects
2013 Deep India released under the name Deep Forest & Rahul Sharma
2013 Deep Africa released under the name Deep Forest Eric Mouquet

Singles[edit]

  • 1992 – "Deep Forest" (UK #20) [7]
  • 1992 – "Sweet Lullaby" (UK #10, U.S. #78 - over 1 million copies sold)
  • 1992 – "White Whisper"
  • 1993 – "Forest Hymn"
  • 1994 – "Savana Dance" (UK #28)
  • 1994 – "Undecided" (collaboration with Youssou N'dour)
  • 1995 – "Boheme"
  • 1995 – "Boheme" (the remixes)
  • 1995 – "Marta's Song" (UK #26 (collaboration with Márta Sebestyén))
  • 1995 – "Marta's Song" (the remixes)
  • 1996 – "While the Earth Sleeps" (collaboration with Peter Gabriel)
  • 1996 – "Bohemian Ballet" (promo)
  • 1997 – "Freedom Cry"
  • 1997 – "Madazulu"
  • 1998 – "Media Luna"
  • 1998 – "Noonday Sun"
  • 1999 – "Hunting" (Live)
  • 1999 – "Sweet Lullaby" (live)
  • 2000 – "Pacifique"
  • 2002 – "Endangered Species"
  • 2002 – "Will You Be Ready" (promo)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Candid conversation with Eric Mouquet - frontman of Grammy Award winning Deep Forest, EF News International
  2. ^ a b Deep Forest Biography: Contemporary Musicians
  3. ^ Grammy Bids Nominations Predictably Conservative
  4. ^ Psychedelic evening with Deep Forest at Deep India concert, Efi-news.com
  5. ^ www.deepforest.co
  6. ^ a b D Mellor; T Janke, eds. (2001), Valuing art, respecting culture: protocols for working with the Australian Indigenous visual arts and craft sector, Sydney: National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA), p. 44 
  7. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 147. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 

External links[edit]