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Christine Herin, aka stage name Dolche, is a world-acclaimed Italian-French singer, songwriter, composer, record producer and staunch LGBTQ+ activist, whose musical career boasts five albums and more than five hundred concerts around Europe. She was born in a tiny secluded village of forty inhabitants among the heights of the Alps and is now based in the beautiful cosmopolitan city of Rome. Dolche is a prolific artist who takes aspects of her cultural heritage and weaves in some special magic of her own. Her work comprises of atypical and richly unique collections of sounds and images that transcend the constraints of ‘genre’ and include folk, chanson française, world music, classical music, funk, electronic and more. Her forthcoming album is the aptly titled ‘Exotic Diorama’, out now.
Multi-instrumental and multicultural, Dolche's music is a dreamy and powerful voyage inside her very personal and unique universe. Her music has often been compared to the work of Bjork, Feist, Peter Gabriel, and Joni Mitchell. Her image is just as unique: the horns and the flower crown she wears on stage, are an homage to an image from her childhood when cows, descending from mountain summer pastures, were adorned with flowers and celebrated until nightfall by all the inhabitants of the valley. Her stage name ‘Dolche’ is, in part, a tribute to the melancholic and nostalgic vision of old Europe depicted in the Federico Fellini masterpiece “La Dolce Vita”. But the name also cleverly nods to the Italian word “dolce”, meaning ‘sweet’, alluding to her eclectic musical style. But it is a style that is not deliberately contrived, as she says herself, “My creative process is very easy. Songs simply very naturally come to me. I am inspired by all the events that life brings to me, from what I eat, to the facts happening around the world. It makes no difference for me because they are all reflected in my music.”
From Capitol Record Studios to Lebanon and Sweden, Dolche worked on the richly-layered multilanguage album ‘Exotic Diorama’ over the last two years, collaborating with top names of the music industry (including the award-winning Al Schmitt and the Grammy Award winner Emily Lazar) and talented musicians from all over the world. A perfectionist, it was vital to Dolche that she worked with the ‘best of the best’ to fulfil her true musical vision. She says, “I spent two years on this album, meticulously choosing the right people to work with. This is the first time I fully wrote, composed, produced and decided every tiny aspect of my music. It's exhausting but I could never live without this sense of deep freedom and truthfulness anymore.” She also travelled over the world in those two years to research new and vibrantly diverse sounds to absorb into her work. This included Arabian violins and lutes; a trip to Sweden saw her take up instruments like the vibraphonette, hammond organ and guitars, and an Armenian friend introduced her to a deeper knowledge of the duduk and this led to working with professional duduk musicians.
The title of the album ‘Exotic Diorama’ was inspired by the many dioramas displayed in the National Museum of Natural History, in New York, which Dolche has often visited. And indeed, each track of the album is a self-contained world, featuring entirely different musical influences and atmospheres, based on the same idea as a diorama, the artificial and three-dimensional reconstruction of a faraway landscape that gives viewers the impression of actually being there. The singles from the album are such ‘dioramas’, each of which demonstrate the depth and breadth of her unique musical prowess, imagination, emotional resonance and often political insight too, questioning the current socio-political zeitgeist and appealing to our collective humanity. The themes are underscored by creative, visually ethereal, videos cleverly thought out to reflect the messages of each song: the emotional tale of liberation from an abusive relationship in ‘Sunday Mood’, the melancholic stillness of the city (especially poignant, with reference to Covid Lockdown) in ‘Roma’, the power and importance of diversity and common humanity in ‘Big Man’, the sentimental, romantic tenderness of ‘Criminal Love’ and the dreamy and surprising appeal to humanity to take in’ the moment’ with ‘Breathe In’. There is also the chilling and unique new take on the Talking Heads classic’ Psycho Killer’ , the dark craziness of love with ‘Supernova’, the simple charm of love ballad ‘Canzone d’Amore’, and so much more…
Dolche is playfully and purposefully sophisticated in her work and ‘Exotic Diorama’ is the beautiful, theatrical culmination of her observations and feelings. More than that, she sees the album has having a life entirely of its own, and one that will inspire and evoke new thoughts and feelings in others. She says. “I am very curious to know how people will perceive “Exotic Diorama”. I look at it as an animal, a free exotic creature living its own life…This album was a journey of discovery to find my true sound. I feel as if it is not mine anymore. It belongs to the ones who will want to listen to it, and I know it will bring emotion.”
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