Mino Cinelu


Music often has to be new to excite me and awake my curiosity. I want to explore when I play, and when I listen. New is hard to achieve. It is an objective to find me some more. I get a lot of pleasure from music that has already been done too, in a piece of baroque music for example perhaps, in a classical string quartet. It’s nothing new but it may be incredible. However I want to try to find a new way. When people call me for projects they don’t know what I will bring.


Mino Cinelu World Jazz Ensemble at The Blue Note 2014


Of course music also always has roots, even when it is expressed in the most modern way. It is subjective. I hear the roots the way I hear them. There are influences all the way up to that moment. All the music that I ever heard had roots. My music is a reflection of my upbringing, from the rural Martinique, my parents’ background and history, and my own life. I am very passionate about my roots. With my World Jazz Ensemble I ask the musicians to tell their story. The story is in their voices as musicians and artists.


How you find your voice as a performer is both obvious and awkward. I chose between my two passions in life, between music and nature, at a very early age. I was about seven or eight years old when I chose music. I also paint. And it is simple. What you express is you, if you are yourself. But you must be courageous enough to bare yourself, and that is the awkward part. It takes strength and humility to be yourself in music.


Mino Cinelu


I live in New York, but I don’t know the new New York-scene very well. I travel a lot. I have just now been on tour with Kate Bush for eight or nine months. The clubs in New York probably don’t pay what they used to, but there are always young players here who play many kinds of music very well.


I still often think of what Miles Davis told us, if we were lucky enough to be close to him. He told us things through his horn and through his words. It is only now that I find out about the full impact of those words. Every time I meet Herbie Hancock we talk about what Miles Davis said. ‘’Oh, did he tell you that?’’. Miles used to call me Frenchy. He called me many things. I recall being in Italy once when I heard his voice on the phone. I told him that I was there playing with Weather Report, and he replied ‘’Those are my children!’’.


Mino Cinelu ''Confians''



Mino Cinelu is a French multi-instrumentalist based in New York. He has done work with Miles Davis, Weather Report and Sting among many others, and has an extensive solo career. Find out more HERE.