Styles: French Folk, Western European Traditions, French
Valentin Clastrier is one of the most innovative musicians in France. Although he launched his career as a guitarist, accompanying such French poets as Jacques Brel and Ricet Barrier, Clastrier has become increasingly experimental. Introduced to the hurdy-gurdy in 1970, designed and built, with violin-maker Denis Siorat, an electro-acoustic hurdy-gurdy viola with twenty-seven strings rather than the standard six. The instrument's flexibility has enabled Clastrier to explore new musical realms. He collaborated with jazz musicians, Michel Portal and Louis Sclavis on his 1992 album, Heresy. In addition to leading his own group, Clastrier performs with the Michael Riessler Trio, led by the French saxophonist and featuring Carlo Rizzo on tambourine.
-Craig Harris (All Music Guide)
French musician Valentin Clastrier (b. 1947) is one of the few performers in the world specializing in contemporary music for the hurdy-gurdy; before Clastrier, the instrument was used primarily in the performance of European Medieval and folk musics.
He began his career as a guitarist, and was introduced to the hurdy-gurdy in 1970. His instrument has 27 strings rather than the conventional six.
Clastrier's strikingly original compositions for the instrument (in both acoustic and electroacoustic versions) have been recorded, in collaboration with other creative European musicians including tubist and serpent player Michel Godard, accordionist Jean-Louis Matinier, saxophonist/clarinetists Michael Riessler and Louis Sclavis, and percussionists Gerard Siracusa and Carlo Rizzo.