“I was born on May the 6th, 1975, in the sixteenth district of Paris, to a Peruvian mother, Rosario Luna, a dancer, and a French musician father, François de Roubaix. When I was born my father had already composed the music for numerous French films such as “Les Grandes Gueules”, “Les Aventuriers”, “Le Samouraï”, “La Scoumoune” and “Le Vieux Fusil”, which was the first ever César award winning film soundtrack in cinema history. He would’ve undoubtedly gone on to write others, but sadly the tragic diving accident in the Canaries put an end to this. François de Roubaix died on the sand on the 21st of November 1975, leaving behind numerous aborted projects, countless mourning friends, as well as two fatherless children, my half-sister Patricia and me.
I was with my mother on the diving boat that day. I was only six and a half months old, so I have no memory of it, but I sometimes imagine the Tenerife bay, the shimmering sea, the late afternoon sun and the captain saying to my mother: “There is no more air in the canisters, they should have come back up…” Help arrived that same evening, and they didn’t fish up the two bodies until the following morning.
One cannot live without air. My father was buried in the Arona’s cemetery, on a small Spanish island in the middle of the Atlantic.
But life goes on. After my second birthday, my mother and her new partner decided to go and live in the South, in Cannes at first, where they married, then in Mougins, in a house next door to Picasso’s, and finally in Nice.
It was in this South where I grew up. Nice was where I gave my first tentative blows on the trombone at the age of eleven. The trombone, I started on and still play to this day, which I inherited from François. A Bach, Stradivarius 16 model, ideal for jazz and improvisation.
My stepfather Pancho, himself a musician, encouraged me to play but I soon gave up, preferring soccer to this head-spinning instrument. However, I returned to music with the electric bass at the age of 14, and began playing with a Nice rap group.
Pancho Blumencweig, an Argentine teacher and multi-instrumentalist (trombone, double bass, piano), started in music in Buenos Aires with Lalo Schrifin and Gato Babieri. He was a real father figure to me and my first musical tutor, making me play blues and jazz standards with his students. In 1992 we left the Côte d’Azur for Madrid. I did my last two years of high school and started playing bass with a funk group. After the final exams, I moved to Paris to study psychology. I lived in the city of light with my grandparents, François’ parents, Mima and Paul de Roubaix. This year with them enabled me to become more familiar with my father’s family history.
But at 19, after a less than impressive year of studies, I reflected that I wanted to become a musician. I went to the South West of France this time, determined to learn the trombone. I would stay there four years and find a master in Jean-Pierre Albouy, professor at the National School of Music of the Tarn, and member of the famous classical band “Les Sacqueboutiers” of Toulouse. Playing on period instruments, deciphering old scores and accompanying baroque singers in freezing churches would be a real education for me.
Military Service called me, and I had no choice but to do my duty, especially when they proposed doing it in a brass band, and what’s more in Tahiti!
I spent an incredible year there in the military, and made significant progress on the trombone, obtaining a diploma of final studies from the conservatory of Papeete.
Returning to Paris was difficult, and the memory of a year in the islands made me decide to leave once more. This time I would stay six months in Cuba, thanks to my military pay, studying percussion, vocals, guitar and tres (Cuban guitar). In short, the popular native music of Cuba.
I returned to Paris with the firm intention of putting together a salsa band. Salsafran saw the light of day, with several concerts and a breakthrough single, which permitted me to enroll at the SACEM as a composer. “Quelle mouche?”, whose co-writer is none other than my half-brother Fabrice Toledano, was a Radio Latina favorite and broadcasted frequently.
The death of my grandparents Mima and Paul, brought its toll of sadness and acted as a new catalyst to travel and study. Being already registered at the American School of Modern Music in Paris, I decided to go and study at the famous Berklee College of Music in Boston, as both schools are closely connected. It was in this temple of musical education that I decided, quite naturally, to study the composition of film music.
After graduating from Boston, I went to work in Los Angeles, both as a teacher in sensitive neighbourhoods and as an assistant composer. My timely return to Paris resulted in rapidly becoming orchestrator for Armand Amar and musical assistant to Eric Serra.
I met Alexandre Saada in 2008 at a film-music masterclass given by Jean-Claude Vannier at the Auxerre festival. Alexandre and me quickly hit it off and we saw each other again, playing several times with Jean-Daniel Botta and Laurent Sériès. We notably played at the Café Central in Brussels during a festival, around the time of the release of a vinyl album of François de Roubaix, “L’Antarctique”, on Belgian label Weme Records. We also played at private parties and at galleries for opening nights for various painters. In this way the idea was born to record an album of François de Roubaix covers and of my own compositions.
This album is the result of the meeting between Alexandre, Jean-Daniel, Laurent and me, but also a cinema related musical adventure, and of course a tribute to my father François, a man who I knew so little, yet who is so much responsible for the musician and the person I am today.”