Dominic Ntoumos (DN) is a trumpeter of Greek and Belgian descent. From the house of his grandparents in Greece, he accepted to answer Lucas (LB)’s questions for ISKC Radio Group.
1/ LB: Hi Dominic, I discovered you through a promo my good friend Xavier Chezleprêtre sent me, namely a collaboration with Afrobeat great, Dele Sosimi (Fela Kuti, Positive Force with Femi Kuti). How did you come to collaborate with him?
DN: I collaborated with Dele Sosimi because 10 years ago I was introduced by a friend of mine to play with Dele. So, we became friends. I asked him to be on the song I wrote years ago. And that’s how we collaborated together.
2/ LB: I read it was the right moment to release the song you recorded with Dele. It’s linked to current world context: could you tell us more about the message behind this song and why early 2022 was the right time to release it?
DN: We recorded this song “Get Up Again”, like 9 years ago. And we didn’t find the way how to release it. So, this song stayed in the studio’s computer for so many years. And during the pandemic, “Get Up Again” for me was a message like « people need to be aware about what’s going on in Europe », and I think it was the right moment to put this song, and to give some love to people, and also some power about what’s happening now in Europe.
3/ LB: Fusing world music with jazz is not new. I read you used to give a jazz-rock approach to traditional greek music. I am a huge fan of these mixes. Could you tell us how this meeting of cultures was received, both locally in Greece, and internationally.
DN: This music, it’s part of my heart, because my family is greek, my father is greek, my mom is half-belgian, half-italian, and when ‘Back To The Roots’ was out, just before the pandemic, like 2021, we didn’t play a lot of concerts. But after, we played concerts in Greece, and I was a little worried how they’re gonna receive this project, because we keep some traditional songs and we mix. I was not born in Greece, but my ears listen to this from baby, and we mix this music, and it’s actually well received in Europe. So, I’m very happy for that.
4/ LB: Your musical career spans already 20 years. Could you point out the highlights of your career and tell us about some outstanding collaborations?
DN: I have a lot of collaborations.I also played with people like Roots Manuva, Dele Sosimi, Martina Topley Bird. And every time I make an album, I like to invite people I really love. And on the last album (‘Back To The Roots’), I invited this famous great singer from Greece, Sotiris Papatragiannis, Mehdi Haddab, an algerian artist (from Speed Caravan) playing the oud, and also my teacher, my master in Romania, gypsy guy, the best on violin, Marcel Râmba.
5/ LB: I must confess I never heard of your music before your collaboration of Dele Sosimi. How do you account for the fact that such wonderful music you produce is so little talked about: should we put the blame on ultra specialized labels, or the difficulty to reach to a greater number of venues for promotion of your music?
DN: I don’t know. A great actor in France, Jean-Paul Belmondo said something very interesting one day in an interview: « to do what you love in your life is something very, very important and good ». So many people don’t have this opportunity to do the job they love. And of course, I am not a famous trumpet player, but at least I do what I love for 20 years. I never stop, I never give up. And you never know, one day people will know more my music. That’s why I continue my way on this, this question.
6/ LB: Jazz artists like to colour their musical language with music from various corners of the world. What are some artists that amazed you in this realm?
DN: I like some artists like Nação Zumbi from Brazil. They mix maracatu and rock music. And yeah, of course, there are many artists doing that. But I’m doing that because I love to meet people in this world, and traveling gives me more inspiration. I’ll always do that, I think it’s my character to mix stuff. Even when i cook, I like to mix many things together.
7/ LB: What are your plans for the future? Any new unexpected collaboration?
DN: My plan for the future is to release two new albums. One will be an album with songs, with people singing in french, english and also in greek. I will be singing some of the songs. Besides, I am collaborating with someone doing movies, Bouchra Moutaharik: we are in the process of releasing a documentary about two cultures, the greek culture and the gypsy culture in Romania, because I studied for 6-7 years with this great master, Marcel Râmba, whom I invited on my album. I really want to show people what’s going on in Romania, and in my small village here in Greece, like this is my roots, this is the house of my grandparents, where I’m here at the moment. And also, we’re gonna release some instrumental music recorded months ago (buzuki, guitar and trumpet), and this is gonna be for the documentary. Καλή καρδιά !
8/ LB: Where can we buy your albums?
DN: The new album ‘Back To The Roots’ is produced by this great musician, my friend (I really love him), Eric Legnini. And this album is available everywhere in the internet (itunes, spotify, everywhere).
9/ LB: Please let us know if you have anything else you would like to share with us.
See the video Dominic shares with us:
Youtube video for the collaboration between Dominic Ntoumos and Dele Sosimi
(this song is also in regular play on ISKC RadioActive channel)