Niches are about borders, frontiers... I like to explore a variety of genres, instruments, with organic percussion and trance-like loopy beats as a common thread. I believe that what connects us all musically lies in the urge most of our ancestors have had to stretch the skin of an animal on a carved piece of wood at one point or another. As primal as it may sound, drumming together was key survival practice. As a species, it helped us build communities and keep predators at bay. It is as old as fire itself, and it shares with it that everlasting transcultural vibe of belonging/rebuking, or comfort/fear. In today's unsettling times, when our tribal impulses can take a much darker countenance, I am very much interested in exploring that early sonic crux so as to address the many societal issues that haunt us. Whatever the song approach may be, I will try and reach out to our common DNA.
My name is Cedric Briand. I am a French/Breton expat currently living in the Minneapolis South Metro, and Greenvale Manitou is my main music project, which I created and lead. I come with eclectic tastes and loves to fuse World music with popular "Western" genres. My lyrics show hints of poetry and sociopolitical comments, something I acquired from the French chanson. As a teenager, I was trained by several professional North and Central African percussionists. My favorite signature is to play djembe or dun dun, but I also like to incorporate Celtic, Nordic, Latin, Asian or Native American vibes and beats to my game. As a matter of fact, I very often play my guitars and write my lyrics as if they were a percussion ensemble. To me, poetry often blooms best when rhythmic patterns come first.
Jeenti Dutta is an Indian/Assamese expat, and my producer. As a tech-savvy studio and stage engineer, he likes to focus on modern production techniques, following years of intense training and touring around Bollywood. He is a treasure trove of killer guitar licks and solos, while favoring storytelling and emotion first. Jeenti also served as lead guitarist on Greenvale Manitou's first EP, "Born of the Same", released June 8, 2023, while I mainly concentrated on writing singing melodies, lyrics and percussion. I like to record, edit, comp from my home studio - Manitou Studios, based in Northfield, MN - and supervise the groove of each track before and after production. With this EP, I wished to escape monolithic labeling, and so I liked to fuse many genres such as dream pop, psychedelic rock, heavy metal, hip hop, electro, lo-fi trip hop, or soul, together. Since then, Jeenti has created Summit Stream Studio, based in Dundas, MN. I reached out to him for the release of my second EP, "Santa Closet", released December 25, 2023. Both songs have been fully recorded and edited by myself and mixed/mastered by Jeenti.
You can find more details about each song and stories or anecdotes on people's backgrounds under the "music", "videos" and "gallery" sections on this website, or follow us on social media.
On stage, I like to produce myself either as a solo act, or with the help of my team of musician friends, which is always expending. This insures that I have access to a variety of venues, from the most intimate to the most expansive of stages, and that I can present a variety of shows, whether acoustic, electric, and/or electronic, often using samples or looping pedals to bind everything together. Given he serves as producer and lead guitarist for many acts, Jeenti's availability for gigs has been occasional. The addition of St Olaf College alumni Nolan Perry Arnold at the guitar, keys and accordion, and Berit Johanne Bringsjord at the violin by my side during the 2023 gigging season has allowed me to expend my horizons and bring additional flavors and spices to my songs, including previously unreleased originals and personalized covers.
My goals for 2024 are the recording of a full album in my home studio, with the help of Jeenti for mixing/mastering, and Nolan and Berit for occasional takes, more gigs, more press, more outreach, and the creation of my own LLC, Manitou Studios, which will provide a savory mélange of recording, editing, voice, percussion, artistic self-management, cooking, wine tasting, language learning and myth studying classes and services. It will also serve as an intimate, private venue, both indoors and outdoors.