Laura Perrudin’s career has been both unusual and eclectic. Brought up on a diet of jazz from childhood, her classical music studies led on to both electronic and traditional music, via soul and hip-hop, through her encounters with innumerable musicians, in her native Brittany, but also in Paris and New York. Her mission is to open up the possibilities of the harp to a richer harmonic language, and it was in 2008 that she finally found the key, when harp-maker Philippe Volant custom-built for her a chromatic pedal-less harp with a single row of strings. This innovative instrument has allowed her to give free rein to the sinuous harmonies of her unclassifiable compositions.
Born in Rennes (Brittany, France) in 1990, Laura Perrudin discovered the ‘Celtic harp’ when she was 4, and took up her studies three years later at the Rennes conservatory. Brought up on a diet of jazz, her choice of instrument was unexpected, but turned out to be an inevitability. She naturally turned towards jazz, and became conscious of the complexity of adapting the music to her instrument in certain contexts. This led to her implication in singing, which allowed her a more instinctive approach to this musical universe. Until she was eighteen, she continued her studies in Celtic harp and classical music, and began to forge for herself an experience as musician and self-taught singer in groups playing jazz, electro, soul and folk music, or playing in jam sessions.
She started composing very early on, which allowed her to bring together her instrument and the voice, freely experimenting with both, making the most of the possibilities offered by electronics. She has cultivated a veritable obsession for the textures and climates of her sound in her recorded productions. She has spent years seeking solutions to the problems of incompatibility between her chosen instrument and jazz, and finally found the answer in 2008, when harp-maker Philippe Volant built for her a single row chromatic harp. Constructing a new methodology for a new instrumental system is both an exacting and uncertain mission, but thanks to this new-born instrument many doors have since been opened to her.
Her quartet came into being in 2010. Thanks to her associated musicians,- Edouard Ravelomanantsoa on Fender Rhodes, Sylvain Hannoun on bass, and Paul Morvan on drums, her musical universe has developped in her compositions, opening increasingly towards improvisation. Continuing her studies as harpist and singer at the Rennes and St Brieuc conservatories, she pursued her work on improvisation and the jazz standards, and obtained the state DEM jazz diploma. The creation of a solo acoustic repertoire for chromatic harp and voice became increasingly important for her, and her writing has become increasingly prolific.
In 2011 she took part in Steve Coleman and Frédéric Briet’s Nimbus Orchestra project. The experience and knowledge gained from this ‘ephemeral and educational orchestra’, and the encounter with the saxophonist, as well as the vocalist Jen Shyu were an important turning point in her learning curve. She did not abandon the ‘Celtic harp’, but rendered tribute to the instrument in working on the music of seminal Breton harpist and composer Kristen Noguès, who remains for her a vital influence. She turned towards the musicians who surrounded the great harpist (Erik Marchand, Jean-Mathias Pétri etc) and finally encountered Noguès’ partner Jacques Pellen who assisted her in her research and transcriptions.
In 2012 a stay in New York was the occasion to encounter or to renew contact with many musicians who are also great sources of inspiration for her (Steve Coleman, Becca Stevens, Gretchen Parlato, Barry Harris, Shai Maestro…). Playing solo or with her quartet, she has performed in places and festivals such as the ‘New Morning’ (Paris), the ‘Pannonica’ (Nantes), ‘Jazz à l’Ouest’ (Rennes), ‘Jazz à Vannes’, ‘Jazz à Vienne’, ‘La Défense’ Jazz Festival (Paris), ‘Montreux Jazz Festival’, ‘La Passerelle’ (St Brieuc), The ‘Sunside’ (Paris), ‘Le Baiser Salé’ (Paris), ‘Le Vauban’ (Brest), The ‘1988’ (Rennes), ‘La Citrouille’ (St Brieuc), ‘l’Espace Glenmor’ (Carhaix), ‘Les Champs Libres’ (Rennes), ‘le Quai des Rêves’ (Lamballe), the Abbey church of the Mont St Michel, and she has played openers for such divers artists as Wayne Shorter, Gretchen Parlato, Ibrahim Maalouf, Kellylee Evans…
With the trio Sloth, she played a month’s tour in China and Taiwan in October/November 2014, in places and festivals such as Xinghai concert hall in canton, the Shanghai JZ Club, the Marsalis Club in Taipei, the Shenzen Jazz festival, the Changsha Jazz Festival, the Zhongshan Jazz Festival… This tour was the opportunity for harp-maker Philippe Volant to create for her an electric single row chromatic harp, a new instrument custom-made for her which allows her to explore an infinity of new sound textures.
The last two years have been marked by important musical and stage experiences : the quartet won the prestigious National Jazz competition at ‘Jazz à Vannes’ 2013, which allowed them to play an opener for the Wayne Shorter Quartet, one of their seminal influences ; Laura won the prize for composition in the National Competition at ‘La Défense Jazz Festival’ 2013 in Paris, the 2nd prize at the ‘Montreux Jazz Voice Competition’ 2014, the prize for assistance towards professionalization at the ‘St Germain-des-Près Jazz Festival’ 2014 in Paris, as well as the Radio Alpa Birdland Jazz competition 2013 ; The group was selected for the ‘Sélection Rézzo Jazz à Vienne’ 2013, for ‘Partis pour un Tour – Itinéraires bis 2013’, and ‘Bretagne en Scènes’ 2014.
Listeners may have heard Laura on the radio in the ‘Matin des musiciens’ programme on France Musique, which retraced the history of the harp in jazz, or in the ‘carte blanche’ of Ibrahim Maalouf for FIP Classic Bazaar, in Alex Dutilh’s Open Jazz, or have read Franck Bergerot’s articles in Jazz Magazine /Jazzman. Laura brought out her first album on 2nd March 2015. 2015 also marks the beginning of a new collaboration with Laurent Carrier and his ‘Colore’ production and diffusion company in Europe.