Ceux Qui Marchent Debout, celebrating two decades of touring and performing, is returning to Festival International de Louisiane for the fourth time when Festival gets up and running for the 26th year in downtown Lafayette April 25-29. By Dominick Cross

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

LivingIND1Also known as CQMD and considered the “best French funk band in the world” by discogs.com and many, many others, these all-night groovers and tireless globe-trotters (30 countries to date, along with eight albums and more than 1,000 concerts), play Festival on Thursday, April 26, 7:30 p.m., at Scène Malibu Fais Do Do, and Saturday, April 28, 8:15 p.m., at Scène Popeyes International.

The Paris-based band consists of Superclark, banjo; Fab, snare drum; Rico, bass drum, percussion; Bruno, trumpet; Bart, trombone; la Ouiche, saxophone, and Roufi, Sousaphone.

The Independent recently caught up with vocalist and Sousaphone player Roufi via email from Ile d’Arz in Golfe du Morbihan in France.

CQMD still with its original lineup?
No, we have changed our drummers; they both stopped for personal reasons two years ago. Our new team is just amazing. Often, when people who are fans of the band learn about the change, they are very disappointed. But when they see and hear the new lineup, they are blown away. We also took [on] a saxophone player to muscle up the brass section.

How is it CQMD has been around for 20 years?
The pleasure of playing and being on the road is still there. I would say it is even growing. We are completely independent; it’s a musician-owned business: We are not eager to make money, but we know how we want to work. We have just released our eighth album, and we are already working on new songs. We are ready for the next 20 years. Changing the lineup was a good lesson. We noticed that the band was greater than us, even when you think that somebody is impossible to replace.

Why/how’d you get into funk?
I personally went into funk though hip-hop music, discovering the incredible James Brown’s samples in Public Enemy’s records. In the band, everybody has many different music crushes, but funk is the common factor. It’s what we listen to in the van during our long European rides.

Who are your inspirations?
James Brown, Fela Kuti, Parliament, Duke Ellington, Lalo Shiffrin, The Skatalites.LivingIND2

By the way, did you know Festival was voted Best World Music Festival in about.com’s online poll?
Yes, I voted several times! It was breaking my heart though, because the second of the poll was “Festival au Désert,” where I wanted to go this year, recording for a journalist friend for French national radio. It is an amazing festival, but as a French citizen I didn’t have the right to go there for security reasons. This year Tinariwen was playing and the biggest bands of the whole area were gathering. Now that the country (Mali) is at war, I don’t know what is going to happen.

How many times has CQMD played Festival?
It will be the fourth time. We are sooooooo glad to come back. We love this festival. FIL focuses on what music is all about: bringing people together. The audience, the volunteers, the spirit is really sweet. The program is fantastic (not to mention us!). I really think Lisa Stafford is doing amazing work. I’m very interested in Saharian Blues Music, I wanted to go to Bamako’s Festival au Désert to see Bombino live... he will perform in Lafayette. I hope people in the audience realize how lucky they are. All this for free. Wow!

What is it that brings you back to Festival and Lafayette?
The quality of food at the artists’ catering of course! ;-) All that I mentioned above plus the fact that there is a still a strong feeling between Louisiana and France. I cannot explain why, but we feel like home here.

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