Born in 1983 in the middle of the Indian Ocean, on Reunion Island, the culture and musical sensibilities of Johann Berby are a reflection of his origins: Indian, Malagasy and Mozambican.
Out of respect for these and other cultures he is constantly researching different traditions with a passion for music which holds within it all the richness of the civilisation from whence it came….
Johann Berby began electric bass at the age of 16.
In 2001, at 18, he became part of the C.M.A (Centre de Musiques Actuelles de Valenciennes) where he perfected his technique with Eric Plantain. He also entered the National School of Music in Valenciennes in the class of Charles Claisses who taught him classical upright bass and helped him with jazz studies.
It was then that he met Vincent Segal who became his mentor, someone who inspired him as a musician. Vincent Segal showed him an eclectic vision of music and showed him the magic of traditional music’s (African, Asian, European and American!) and of the importance of his roots.
Johann quit the Valenciennes Conservatory and moved to Paris. He entered the Conservatory of the 19th arrondissement to study the upright bass with Marie-Christine Dacquie.
He started hanging out at the jazz clubs in Paris and made some rich encounters :
on the electric bass Johann played concerts with Mokhtar Samba, Rido Bayonne, Jean-Jacques Elangue and Philippe Combelle (with whom he toured Africa replacing Linley Marthe), Jean-Louis Lognon (who he met during this tour on may 2005).
In 2005 Paco Sery invited him to record on three tunes of his second album.
Johann became a member of Florence’s group, FOULA, as bassist, chorist and arranger. This project brought him to India (Bombay) to record Foula’s first album.
Johann stayed 6 months, during which time he studied the Mridangam (traditional south Indian percussion) with Sir-Tsnandakumar, and also studied classical (North) Indian singing with Tulika Ghosh, and some Sarod lessons with Anupam Shobhakar. It was during this trip that he had the good fortune to play in concert with Trilok Gurtu at the NCPA in Bombay, with TSNandaKumar and Adrian Dsouza (one of the best jazz drummers of Bombay). He also met Zakir Hussein and Terry Bozzio at a Bombay concert.
Johann works for 5 years as a permanent member in the « Trilok Gurtu Band ». In 2012, he decides to leave the band to explore other musical experiences and to develop his personal projects. He continues to collaborate with Trilok in some other projects.
Johann Berby worked and played with :
Trilok Gurtu Band, Vincent Ségal, Jan Garbarek, Marcus Miller, Yaël Naïm & David Donatien , Oumou Sangaré Group, Vieux Farka Touré, Rosemary Standley , Juan Carmona, Cheikh Lo, Sonia Wieder Atherton, Fatoumata Diawara, Mayra Andrade , Mory Kanté, Victor Deme, Mamani Keita Les Tambours De Brazzaville (musique du congo), Shankar Mahadevan, Niladri Kumar, Sibiri Samaké, Aly Keita, Blick Bassy, Foula and so many others…
His musical’s influences :
Michaël Jackson, Alain Peters, Ali Farka Touré, Richard Bona, Danyel Waro, Firmin Viry, Gramoun Lélé, René Lacaille, Oumou Sangaré, Bassekou Kouyate, Alain Nyamé, Manou Gallo, Guy N’Sangué, Vincent Ségal, Glenn Gould, Philip Glas, J-S Bach, James Jamerson, Francis Rocco Prestia, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tower Of Power, Jerry Jemott, Oscar Stagnaro, Hamida Boussou, Muddy Waters, Amjad Ali Khan, Ravi Shankar, Hariprasad Chaurasia, Trilok Gurtu, Nana Vasconcelos, TS Nandakumar, Famoudou Konaté, Karaikudi Mani, and Many Band from Africa, Rock, Metal & Funk