a lovely voice
on the French scene
« This is swing in which delicacy and precision work together, the phrasing is relaxed and sure… »
Born in Massachusetts in the United States, Philomène Irawaddy came to singing early. She spent hours in the recorded company of Ella Fitzgerald (her all-time favourite), Doris Day, and the rest of the distinguished vocal cast of the American musical. These are her sources of inspiration, nothing less than the very roots of jazz.
After a Masters degree in international law, Philomène Irawaddy changed direction and studied music at the Sorbonne University in Paris, going on to qualify as a music teacher. About this time, she gave her first performances in a variety of Parisian jazz clubs.
Melody comes before everything for Philomène Irawaddy, whether she is singing timeless standard or adding her own vocal line to more recent compositions by Chick Corea, Charles Mingus, Wayne Shorter or Thelonious Monk.
She has worked with numerous musicians including jazz pianists Alain Jean-Marie, Pierre de Bethmann, Franck Avitabile, Ludovic de Preissac, Hiroshi Murayama and Manuel Rocheman, guitarists Christian Brun and Noé Reinhardt, accordionist Ludovic Beier, trumpettists Nicolas Folmer and Fabien Mary, bassists Gilles Naturel and Viktor Nyberg, drummers Philippe Soirat, Ichiro Onoe and Anne Pacéo and saxophonists Guillaume Naturel, Rick Margitza and Dmitry Baevsky…
Philomène Irawaddy has presented concerts of baroque music, as well as Spanish melodies, and is a composer for children. Her song collection “Une coccinelle sur mon violoncelle” (released in 2005, distributed by Enfance et Musique/Harmonia Mundi) was given top rating by the French culture magazine “Télérama”. « Luxembourg ! » (distributed by ADF-Bayard Musique) was released in 2012 (Disc 1 : Autumn-Winter) and 2013 (Disc 2 : Spring-Summer »). That was followed by « Je suis un chat bleu« , a musical sing-along based on the story of the same name by Anne Mirman (published by ADF-Bayard/Harmonia Mundi, 2014).
Recorded in quartet with Alain Jean-Marie (piano), Gilles Naturel (double bass) and Philippe Soirat (drums), her long-time fellow travelers “Sun Side Songs” was released in 2009. It offers a selection of well-loved standards, drawn from the Great American Songbook.
Almost entirely based on Philomène Irawaddy’s own compositions, her latest album « Cinderella’s notice« , was released in the autumn 2016 by Label Ouest/L’Autre Distribution. Broadly based on the story of Cinderella it was recorded in quintet with Alain Jean-Marie, Guillaume Naturel, Gilles Naturel, Philippe Soirat with a guest appearance by Nicolas Folmer. The accompanying booklet sets illustrations by artist Eska Kayser against the lyrics, gracefully underlining the album’s daring and dreamlike qualities.
October 2018 sees the release of the « Anthologie des comptines et chansons de France » (ADF-Bayard Musique/Harmonia Mundi) an exceptional collection of over 150 French songs and nursery rhymes, mirroring the diversity of the country’s regions and sources of inspiration. This 4 CD boxed set is interpreted by Philomene who has written the musical arrangements. It includes instrumental versions accompanied by more than 15 musicians, perfectly adapted to the vocal range of children.