Didier Malherbe

Didier Malherbe






 1 - Le Matin du faune

 2 - Tidzi

 3 - Dame de coeur

 4 - Le jardin d'Hadouk

 5 - So Gong

 6 - Tchoun

 7 - Les fées d’Iris

 8 - Lila et Lampion

 9 - Valse au pays de Tendre

10 - Le cinquième fruit







So Gong is dedicated to the Gong Planet vibrant hommage to the ever green memory
of Daevid Allen, Gilli Smyth and all the dear friends of the Gong family.


The opening track, Matin du Faune begins with lovely, delicate interplay between the guitar and flute, joined a minute or so later by the rhythm section.  One of my friends who is a drummer heard this track and thought they were playing in 17/4!  Its layers of sound converge to create something compelling, alluring, always fluid and forward-moving.  It evokes a feeling similar to Didier’s Fluvius – which told the life-cycle of a river.

The second track feels like a soundtrack to a movie in your mind. Tidzi starts you out thinking it’s a scene in the desert, and it quickly and effortlessly morphs into a smooth urban setting, all black tie and cocktails.  Both guitar and sax have impressive solos within this one, when it seems to be moving fully into jazz mode.  

At some point during most any Hadouk album, you’ll find yourself being so pleasantly carried away that you’ll lose track of who you’re hearing.  Here it happens by the third track – The Lady Heart.  Is it their rhythms or unusual melodies that cause it?

In The Garden of Hadouk, we glimpse their workshop, where they let new ideas germinate and start to develop. There are all sorts of things growing there – riffs and rivulets.  But The Garden otherwise serves as an introduction to . . .

So Gong, which Loy and Didier wrote to capture some of the GONG spirit.  Since Didier was on more GONG albums than anyone . . . he probably has the most-distilled essence of GONG.

On the sixth track, Tchoun (Arabic for be), Didier plays a Chinese gourd-flute called a Houlousi (Hulusi.  Where does he find all these “windstruments?”).  Aside from that one, Didier plays Doudouk on three tracks, alto flute on three and soprano sax on three. Tchoun is a duet with Loy, and the whole band returns in the Iris Fairies, another lovely piece from Eric.  

Like many Hadouk albums, you can enjoy it quiet or loud.  As background or foreground.  Pleasant and lilting at low levels, downright powerful when loud.  Hadouk are four really diverse and talented players who continue to exude – and derive – sheer joy from the interplay of their tools, and this exuberance just about bubbles over in Lila et Lampion.

Then another long flute solo in Waltz in the Land of Tenderness, which was composed by Didier and arranged by Eric, so there’s also room for a tasteful guitar solo and then the flute line is doubled by Jean-luc.

All four are credited with the final, title track, Le Cinquieme Fruit.  They’ve always been proponents – and masters – of a wide variety of instruments regardless of the geographic origins.  And if you still crave more, look for a bonus track at download sites.

As a duo, trio, or quartet, Hadouk is a world Music Collective all its own.  This might be the best of the lot.  Le Cinquieme Fruit comes in a beautiful digipak with a full booklet that includes one of Didier’s sonnets on the back.   


The arrival of a new Hadouk album is always an exciting time.  Since 1996, they’ve been releasing albums full of exotic instruments and sounds.  The band was named from syllables of two of their early favorite instruments – The HAjouj and the DouDOUK = Hadouk.  Most of their albums have at least one instrument I’d never heard.  Over the years, their instruments have included both Bawu and Bansouri flutes, and instruments such as Awicha, N’Goni, Tanbur, Sintir, Ribab, Cavaquinho, Hang, and a couple of my favorites – the Khene, and a Spinning Top, both of which Didier played at the only Hadouk concert I’ve attended, that was for the Gong reunion in Amsterdam 2006. Rick Chafen


According to the latin poet Horace in one of his Odes,
the fifth fruit is the Quintessence of Venus
the fifth step of establishing love:
the first one being sight, the second one, speech,
the third one, touch, the fourth one, the kiss...

-And how does that relate to music?

-Oh! Music, with its love affairs of notes,
chords' copulations, caressing frequencies,
and in this recording, all those five beats of rhythm!