At a Glance
Monsieur Nû, acoustic guitar, at the FCC Phnom Penh on Feb 5th and 12th, and at The FCC Angkor on Feb 26.
Growing up bouncing around the Middle East, French-born guitarist Emmanuel Groult found little time for music.
Life was far too adventurous.
“I have some really amazing memories of Egypt,” he says. “Once, my father, my uncle, some friends and I climbed one of the pyramids at Gizeh at 3 a.m. to watch the sun rise over Old Cairo. It’s one of the greatest experiences of my life.”
The only downside to his itinerant youth, Groult says, was that moving from country to country every few years made “it hard to have long friendships.”
When Groult was growing up, he discovered that although music seldom created lifelong relationships, it gave the shorter interludes he encountered far deeper meaning.
“Playing the guitar is a great way to share good moments with people,” he says. “Music is a very universal language. Everybody knows it.”
Groult, who performs under the stage name Monsieur Nû, picked up his first six-string as a 13-year-old student in Abu Dhabi. He studied classical guitar for six months but discovered little that captivated him.
“I wasn’t the kind of child who was very good at music, or who had a beautiful voice,” he says. “On the contrary, I was an awful singer.”
Still, he could never completely put the guitar down either, and he continued to study alone.
At about age 17, he wrote his first song, and for the first time in his life music touched him in an emotional way. “Since then, I’ve never stopped writing.”
Now 29, Groult is something of a musical gypsy, a merry traveler criss-crossing the globe with his music and his guitar.
“I never planned to be a musician,” he insists. “I think it is just a part of me. I love playing music and love sharing it with as many people as I can.”
The early years he spent in Europe and the Middle East, and the later years in Africa, still linger with him today.
“The best jamming experiences were in Africa,” he says.
He sings in three languages — English, French and Spanish — and plays music with roots that reach across more than a dozen countries.
His own song-writing style remains just as eclectic.
“For my own songs, I never could put a sticker on the style. The words are very important for me, and a good melody.”
In addition to his own music, Groult covers the classics of nearly every genre, including “Hotel California”, “The Sound of Silence”, “Redemption Song” and “La Bamba”.
It’s the sort of music that makes crowded rooms feel intimate. It’s also the type of music that is most likely to turn strangers into friends.
Monsieur Nû plays The FCC Phnom Penh on Feb. 5th and 12th. He plays The FCC Angkor on Feb. 26th.