Gstaad March 1998 – The occasion: Michel Legrand in Concert for the Cinemusic Festival with guest star Harpist Catherine Michel. Useless to say it was an evening filled with magic. Later that same night Caterina Valente and Catherine Michel met for the first time over dinner and while everybody was toasting to a successful concert, the Girls started talking and dreaming of working together.
The very next day, on the train back home, Caterina came up with the concept for a CD-project. First choice Arranger Gianni Ferrio accepted the challenge and a meeting at his home in Rome with Cathrine, Caterina, my co-producer Aki Chindamo and myself was set. In 2 days of intensive work the material was chosen, the arrangements discussed and after going through everybody’s extremely busy timetables the recording dates were set for the last two weeks of July 99. Then and there, everybody involved realized they were going to be part of something never heard before. Something unique.
Once in the recording studio, the Girls took over: From “Papa n’as pas voulu” a French children song (the first song Caterina has ever performed on stage….. at the age of 5 in Stuttgart 1936) to Billy Joel’s “And so it goes”, from the “Andantino (one of Catherine’s solo numbers, on which, she insisted Caterina recite a poem) to “with a song in my heart” (what you hear is actually the demo Caterina did with the harmony improvisation, slapping her hips to give the rhythm. Since we all loved the song and insisted on having it on the CD the way it was, she decided to accentuate the rhythm part by using a plastic bag as a percussion) to the extraordinary and challenging Bolero by Ravel masterfully arranged by Gianni for 3 voices and 6 harps.
Consummate musicianship is the common factor of these two artists. Catherine, one of the most respected and admired classical harpist in the world (Grand Prix du disque award, Grand Prix Sacem award, Victoires de la Musique award ) felt immediately at ease with such diverse styles as the bossa nova, the jazz waltz or tango ballad making them her own by giving them her very unique touch. Grammy Nominee Caterina, (with a recording career spanning over 45 years with more than 1350 albums in 12 languages to her credit), known to be the most versatile talent in the business reveals once again that her gifts are limitless.
But, make no mistake, this is not your “run of the mill” classic goes pop or viceversa album. What you hear is two of the greatest musicians of our time, doing what they do best., and doing it masterfully.
So, sit back, relax, have a drink and enjoy the magical music of Caterina and Catherine!