Cagnon is a diatonic player based in Limoges in the center of France who seems to focus
most of the harp activity of that area in the 'Marine Band Club' that he runs there. His
main gig currently is playing harp with the R&B band 'Grand Canyon', but he does other
things besides. One of his most interesting experiments is the duo 'Ruine-Babines &
Manivelle' in which he plays alongside Dominique Robert, a street organ player.
Laurent is a fast player with strong vibrato who is very good both as part of a
rythmic background and as a soloist. His playing is fairly varied and not too constrained
by 'traditional' blues harp archetypes.
If you want to contact Laurent you can go to his website where you will find his
phone number. As far as I know, Laurent doesn't have any albums per se out yet. I've heard
the demo CD of 'Grand Canyon' (what little I've heard is reviewed below) and am very
curious to hear what 'Ruine-Babines & Manivelle' sounds like. This should happen soon
and I'll update this page as and when.
Laurent's band is strongly anchored in the soul and R&B tradition,
an aspect that's emphasized by the female singer and the texture of her voice. That being
said, beyond soul standards like 'Mustang Sally' the band does tread in blues territory
here and there and they certainly know their way around. I've had a chance to hear their
rendition of 'Trouble in Mind' and it's very powerful (and rocking, surprisingly enough).
The only (mild) criticism I have is a slightly excessive French accent in the vocals.
Apart from that Grand Canyon is a strong band, and I hope they cut an album with their
Ruine-Babines et Manivelle
This duo is an unusual experiment since it features a street organ
player and a harmonica player. I'll warn you now : this music is for the open-minded ! The
association sounds so much counter to nature that the ear needs time to get used to the
sound. That being said, the approach is amusing and musical, although I feel that the
studio setting doesn't do RB&M's repertoire justice. Played 'live' in the street, this
stuff must really rock ! The demo includes 5 short pieces :one bluesnumber, one jazz and
three French pop classics. Anyway, listening to this stuff is fun even though the
recording suffers from excessive organ bass that parasite the rest of the mix. The vocals
(Dominique's I presume) are not much to my taste either on the French pop stuff. That
being said if you're not musically faint-hearted, Ruine-Babines et Manivelle deserves a
try and if you see them in the street I might be there too !