Who are we? A Musical Aromatic Blend!

Life Is Not A Picnic is the encounter of David Bursztein, the crooner, the tango dancer, the Frenchie waltzer, the whisky rocker and a small polyglot cosmopolitan big band with salty and brassy colors, consisting of eleven experienced musicians coming from the jazz, Neapolitan music, Afro‐Cuban music and even from musicals. From this encounter emerges a unique atmosphere, a tinted mixture of spleen and lightness, a desire for exploring other worlds. Each song has its own universe, is a planet to discover. The varied texts are interpreted in an unusual Esperanto composed of English, Yiddish, French, Italian, Russian…

An actor with a 30‐year career, David Bursztein brings his stage experience to his song interpretation, giving them depth and foundation and to each a unique character. In an unusual and warm universe, the orchestra gets the audience involved and depicts in every song a neo‐realist picture of the human being. Between Latino rhythms, American standards, mambo, chrome‐plated jazz and salsa, neither concert, nor cabaret, nor theater… the show is a brilliant cocktail of all these atmospheres. David is coordinating the writing, however the entire group participates in the musical composition creating a complex alchemy catering to a different universe each time. What brings the public together is the variety of the pieces punctuating the concert, giving each spectator something they can relate to either in original songs or international standards (La Vie en Rose, Autumn Leaves, Besame Mucho, Si Tu T’Appelles Melancolie, O Sole Mio…).

Life is not a picnic was an expression by David’s father, highlighting with mischief the tragico‐comic dimension of life and the necessity of confronting it with a smile. Because life is not a picnic, we feel the urge to celebrate and the taste for gathering in a festive atmosphere is common to all civilizations. Those who have experienced it call it an encounter, a festive voyage, a journey rather than a concert.


David BURSZTEIN (Vocals)

Emmanuel VALEUR (Piano) 

Born into ‘serious’ music, a contact with jazz quickly loosens him, then Latin music, then French chanson, and his academic training allows him to mix it all up. Meanwhile, he is introduced to the world of theatre by Jacques Coutureau (ex Magic Circus) with whom he will work for 20 years. He will progressively diversify his activities on the technical side (recording, mixing, video, artistic direction) as well as in his theatrical work, which he will purse more arduously, mixing musician and actor roles. He has been a member of La République Démocratique du Mambo, Mexiconaporicain, Corazon Loco, Alif, Fatal Mambo, Zazie Musette, and has played with Frédéric Fortès, Michel Arbatz, amongst others.

Xavier CORTAZAR (Bass)

Formed at the IMFP in Provence, Xavier quickly goes on tour as Barrio Chino’s bass player, performing numerous concerts across Europe and participating in festivals such as Francofolies in Montreal, La Rochelle, the festival Mundo Latino, and others. At the same time he joins the band Les Voies Mélées, under the direction of Louis Winsberg, with whom they performed in most of the main national jazz festivals. He takes a residency un Algeria for the elaboration of the Hommage au Music Hall Algérien project, which will be presented live and from which a DVD will be produced. He then joins Cuban pianist Lejandro del Valle’s quartet, touring in Switzerland and France. He plays the upright bass on jazz and latin music projects and joins Life Is Not a Picnic in 2009.

Stéphane BEUVELET (Drums)

A drummer, percussionist, composer, arranger and a teacher, Stéphane lead his musical studies at the Conservatory of Montpellier. He has toured around the world and recorded CDs as a member of the bands Gipsyland, Nefta, Jangada, Stromboli, Black & Blue. More recently he has been performing with Iracema, Elaine Corea, Apric Agullo, Organik (which he founded in 2006), at the Radio France Fetival, the Festival of Tanger (Algeria) and has recorded with Zoom (jazz and Slidewinders (nu funk).

Willy DUGARTE (Percussions, Vocals)

Born in Caracas, Venezuela, he begins music at a very young age and specializes in Afro‐Cuban rhythms. Has been a member of orchestras such as Chekere, Stromboli Salsa, the Cuban band Aguas, Comboloï, the sextet Cuida’o. He also created shows: De L’Afrique Aux Caraïbes with the Musical Youth of France (JMF), and Le Monde Merveilleux de la Selva. Besides working as a performer and musical director, Willy has also lent his knowledge and skills to a social mission, creating activities for people with autism, for children of rural schools, and working as a youth counsellor.

Antoine BOST (Saxophone)

Antoine obtained the Medal for Jazz at the Conservatory of Lyon. His band collaborations include winning the International Jazz Festival in Bilbao, Spain and performing at the Jazz festivals of Ibiza and Brussels with Free Sons, recordings and concerts with the Stéphane Morilla Quintet, performing with Brazilian band Jiripoca, jazz band Ourzoo, opening for FFF and Maceo Parker and playing at the Montreux Festival with Tombad. He also regularly performs at the national jazz and new music festivals such as Jazz a Vienne, Suivez Le Jazz, Opera de Lyon, Grenoble Jazz Festival, Antibes, La Rochelle etc.

Sylvain THOMAS (Trombon)

Formed at the CNR of Lyon and at the National Conservatory with an emphasis on jazz harmony, Sylvain has taken part in jazz, funk, soul, even reggae and rock bands, and has regularly performed in symphonic orchestras. He is currently a member of various bands, including the Lyon Jazz Orchestra (big band), La Nueva Salsa (salsa), Matanga (salsa), Docteur Lester (jazz) and 7th Art Orchestra.

Hervé SALAMONE (Trumpet)

Hervé is a composer, an arranger and a trumpet player. After studying at Lyon’s CNR, he obtains the First Prize in Jazz and a Classic Trumpet Prize. He formed his own bands, the Hervé Salamone Trio and the Cuban Jazz Quartet. Throughout he has had the opportunity to play with jazz artists such as Bob Mintzer, Dee Dee Bridgwater, Martial Solal, Laurent Cugny, Liz Mc Comb, Charles ‘Lolo’ Bellonzi, Enrico Rava, Lavelle, Denis Badault , Pierre Drevet, Mario Stanchev, Gil Lachenal, Thierry Amiot, Alfio Oiriglio, Andy Barron, Claude Tchamitchian, John Tchicaï, Ivan Lins, Raul Paz… His encounter with Cuban percussionist Isel Rasua gave him the opportunity to live in La Habana, deepen his knowledge and join his band Tempo Fuerte. He has played in the salsa bands Orchestra Tentacion (Switzerland), La Matanga and La Nueva Banda. He has performed all cross Europe and in particular in the jazz opera Shape at the 2005 Lyon Biennal.

Christophe METRA (Trumpet)

After several years of classic trumpet studies in Villefranche sur Saone, he enters the jazz division of Lyon’s CNR, graduating in 1997. He also works the jazz trumpet, harmonies and arrangements with Pierre Drevet and graduates from the Chambéry CNR in 1999. He has been appearing with the French‐German Orchestra under the direction of Albert Mangelsdorf and Jean‐Rémy Guedon (Nancy Jazz Pulsations 1999 festival, Grande Halle de la Villette, Paris). Some of his accomplishments includes founding the big band O.E.U.F, performing with the Shape jazz opera, being a member of George Robert’s big band (Switzerland) where he played with Sandy Patton, David Linx, Francis Coletta, and being a teacher at the Jazz Conversatory of Villefranche‐sur‐Saone.

François PROVENZANO (Guitar, Tres, Mandolina, Vocals)

Born in Grenoble, France of Sicilian origins, François initially self‐trains on the guitar with southern Italian foklore, then explores flamenco, classic and brazilian guitar. He studies at the Conservatory of Grenoble, and obtains the SACEM prize for one of his compositions. He joins the band El Gato and moves to Veracruz, Mexico where he focuses on Carribean harmonies and rhythms. Back in France, he becomes a member of Afro‐Cuban band Chocolate, Venezuelan band Marimba et Chocolate, chanson band Nada, Life Is Not A Picnic, composes and performs music for the theater, dance and video. One of his most important musical encounters is with Paco de Lucia.

Vincent PAGLIARIN (Violin/Part time)

After leading classical studies (chamber music), this talented violinist turned to jazz. Vincent played with Pierre Boulez, and Ornette Coleman. He recorded the record “Marvellous” with Michel Petrucciani.