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A Dualo Night at the Baroc Open Mic in Paris

April 22, 2015

Jules with his Dualo

Jules with his Dualo

PARIS – Arrived back in Paris on Monday night from Bahrain, totally wasted tired. But it just took one night’s sleep to lift myself out of my torpor and go on over to the Baroc open mic, to get right back into the groove. Groove would be a word that the night would reveal in a way I could never have imagined in advance.

There was this guy there who had this strange looking Star Trek-like luminous accordion-like device hanging off his chest, and I immediately queried him on what the hell it was!

A dualo,” he said.

He then began to demonstrate. The dualo may look like a quaint accordion of the past – one of those quintessential French instruments that we define as being the backbone of so many songs by French singers, or even Belgian ones, like Jacques Brel – but it is capable of sounding like an orchestra. Or even, I was brought back in mind to the late sixties, early seventies, the days of Moog synthesizers and mellotrons and other keyed electric instruments.

The guy who held the thing is Jules Hotrique, a street-musician-cum-mathematician who is also the creator of the instrument, this dualo, and who is in the thick of developing this instrument of the future in dynamic with his engineers at his new French start-up.

So what is it really? Well, let’s say, a dual is 116 letup pads and captors that acts like a midi, keyboards, synthesizer, drum machine, with 8 hours of autonomy and the ability to be played through speakers, headphones, a computer, has looping sequencing and 116 editable instrument sounds that can be programmed, shared and even help you write music.

Welcome to the electronic-instrument musical world. And the device only cost €1000. That’s only a third of the price of my Gibson J-200, which is just a bit of wood and plastic and you have to play it all by yourself. Oh yes, you do have to do some learning for how to play the dualo; but you can get your first lessons by watching some of the videos I took last night….

And the open mic at the Baroc was not that bad either…

I’ve talked enough about the dualo, the videos do the best talking. The open mic itself was pretty good, and I got to play some songs, and I got to forget some chords on “Just Like a Woman,” which I play all the time, so it must have been the lack of sleep from recent days….!

Present also were many of the regular regulars, as well as one or two new faces and sounds I did not know, like a guy from Holland who did several pretty mean interpretations of well-known covers…. Again, check out the videos…!

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