His parents were Opera singers. His father, Robert McFerrin Senior, was actually the first African American opera singer to perform at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. It is from this same family atavism that Robert “Bobby” McFerrin draws his taste for vocal performance. Nominated for 10 Grammy Awards, he knocked down barriers between art music, pop and jazz, never hesitating to perform barefoot in the most prestigious of concert venues, fascinating audiences with unbridled gestures, exploring vocal territories yet untouched and inspiring an entire generation of a cappella singers preceding the beatbox movement.
In 1985, Bobby McFerrin won his first Grammy for the track “A Night in Tunisia”. In 1988, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” became a worldwide hit, making him into an irreplaceable pop artist. Concurrently, he collaborated with the greatest of musicians, such as the pianist Chick Corea and the classical cellist Yo-Yo Ma. On stage, his principle is the reproduction of an orchestration – from bass to main voice – using only his voice, imitating the timbre of all kinds of instruments and inviting the audience to participate in his performances. His most recent album Spirityouall is a bluesy recording and a step into the unknown for the music industry rebel. We are curious to see how he will be on stage at the Monte-Carlo Jazz Festival, knowing that no two of his concerts are ever alike.
Opening act: Youn Sun Nah
Just over two years after her last European tour, Youn Sun Nah is returning to recording and stage performance, to kick off the release of her album “She Moves On” on May 19th. For the first time in her career, the album was recorded in the United States with pianist Jamie Saft and guitarist Marc Ribot.
She pays homage to great American songwriters in original compositions and covers of songs by Paul Simon (“She Moves On”, the title song), Joni Mitchell and Lou Reed. First scouted at the Juan-les-Pins Festival in the 2000s, the Korean singer is pursuing a career which led her to perform in the most prestigious venues and at the most celebrated festivals.
Returning to her home country after twenty years in France, she performed at the Winter Olympics closing ceremony and accepted the position of artistic director for the traditional Korean music festival Yeowoorak at the National Theatre of Korea. For her Monte-Carlo Jazz Festival Concert, Youn Sun Nah will be accompanied by Frank Woeste (Fender Rhodes Piano, Hammond Organ), Brad Christopher Jones (double bass), Tomek Miernowski (guitar) and Dan Rieser (drums) while presenting a repertoire centred on songs from her new album.