Being the descendant of Italian, Irish, Ashkenazi and Gypsy immigrants, I don’t have a big claim to represent British or Irish Folk traditions any more than I do those of West Africa but what I do feel I can stake a claim to is the right to blend styles just as my blood has been blended with the trace of so many different languages. Piers Faccini

Born in London but living in France since the age of five, painter and singer songwriter Piers Faccini is a nomad at heart and a relentless song collector. Launching his solo career with Leave No Trace in 2004, Piers Faccini has since collaborated with a wide range of artists including Rokia Traoré, Ibrahim Maalouf or Dom la Nena and released four solo LPs.

In an effort to showcase his work as a visual artist and to fulfil a “growing desire for total creative autonomy”, Piers Faccini also started his own record label (Beating Drum Records) in 2013 to release new music, promote like-minded artists and publish beautifully produced packaging, artwork and books.

“I started out as a painter writing music on the side and then I ended up writing songs and painting on the sly” says Faccini who was still a fine art student when he first met Vincent Ségal – a classically trained cellist and co-founder of electronica duo Bumcello – in Paris in the late 1980s. Both artists have remained close friends ever since, collaborating on or producing each other’s projects over the years. Released on the NØ FØRMAT! record label (Europe) / Six Degrees Records (US) in August 2014 last, Songs of Time Lost sees both musicians work together on a superb and minimalist voice, guitar and cello project.

Piers Faccini & Vincent Ségal: Songs of Time Lost (2014)
Piers Faccini & Vincent Ségal: Songs of Time Lost (2014)

One of Piers Faccini’s ongoing projects is the remarkable Songs I Love collection with the musician recording songs that have inspired him over the years – songs from the Irish, English, French, Italian and American folk & blues canon or selected from the repertoire of Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Bruce Springsteen, Joni Mitchell or Lead Belly.

Songs of Time Lost stems from the same desire to record and perform a miscellaneous repertoire both musicians have shared over the last twenty five years.

The voice of Piers Faccini leads, the guitar harmonises and the cello provides rhythmic guidance when plucked or strummed. When bowed, the instrument becomes a second voice and an enchanting dialogue ensues. The unadorned and intimate approach encourages the musicians to distil the core essence of every song, thus underlining their stark and inherent beauty.

All songs were recorded live either in a farmhouse, a wine cellar or a Romanesque chapel all situated in the Cévennes, a hilly and sparsely populated rural area in South Central France where Piers Faccini settled years ago.

Piers Faccini & Vincent Ségal performing “Jesce Sole” / “Mangé Pou le Coeur” for La Blogothèque’s Take Away Show:

Singing in Italian or in the Neapolitan dialect, Piers Faccini explores his own family heritage and connections by performing five songs including modern compositions such as Pino Daniele’s “Cammina Cammina” or traditional Neapolitan favourites such as “Jesce Sole”.

If the album title refers to the time it took for both musicians to step into a recording studio for the first time, Songs of Time Lost could also be understood as “songs from another time” or “long-lost songs”. “Jesce Sole” dates back to the 13th century and Vincent Ségal adds a wonderful baroque touch on his cello on songs like “Cincerenella” or “Villanella di Cenerentola”, a 16th century Neapolitan poem.

Another arresting song on the record is a cover of “Mangé Pou le Coeur”, a 1980s composition by Alain Péters sung in Creole. Alain Péters (1952 – 1995) was a poet and musician from the Reunion island who helped revive and popularise the native Maloya, the instrumental and singing style inherited from the music of East-African and Malagasy slaves who were brought to the Indian Ocean island in the late 17th century.

I’d been searching for years in my own music and songwriting to marry African rhythms with a European folk craft of songwriting so when Vincent played me Alain Peters’ music for the first time, I was spellbound from the very first note. With his songs sung in Creole, Alain Péters unlocked many doors for me, helping me to assimilate and find a way to combine the many different influences I had in my own songwriting. Piers Faccini

Completed by four new compositions co-written by the duo and covers from Friedrich Holländer, Townes Van Zandt or Mississipi John Hurt, Songs of Time Lost is a timeless treasury of delicate folk songs and contemporary ballads.