French guitarist Antoine Boyer will perform at Adelaide Guitar Festival

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Antoine Boyer is a French guitarist who grew up playing gypsy jazz. At the age of 20, he was named Révélation Guitare Classique by the French magazine Guitar Classique. He is coming to Australia for a single concert at the Adelaide Guitar Festival, performing with wife Yeore Kim on harmonica and him on guitar.

Antoine BoyerPhoto: Antje Kroeger
Photo: Antje Kroeger


Antoine Boyer, you’ve come to Australia for a single concert with Yeore Kim. Is she your wife too?

Yes, she’s my wife too.


And you’re coming together to Adelaide for the Adelaide Guitar Festival. And you only play this one concert in Australia? And then you leave again.



It’s quite a distance to come for just one concert. So we’re lucky!

We’re staying for the duration of the festival. We’re staying for a week.


What can audiences expect from this concert?

It’s something very intimate, I’d say. Very intimate, sensitive. It’s music that’s pretty much down to basics. Then there’s also the fact that we’re married, so there’s a sensitivity that’s unique to the fact that we’re also a couple. So I’d say it’s something that goes beyond just two musicians. It’s a bit of a love story.


The music in the concert is a bit of everything, because you play gypsy jazz and a bit of classical, so it’s a concert with a bit of everything?

To sum up, yes, it’s very much based on jazz, with standards and also covers of songs and compositions. There are jazz and classical influences.


And I’d seen that you’ve done a project together called Tangram. What is that about?

Well, it’s the name of a Chinese jigsaw puzzle. This piece is a creative jigsaw puzzle with geometric shapes and it’s a pretty good representation of the way we worked on this project. So we called it Tangram and it was a project with a lot of other musicians.


But that’s not the tour you’re doing now.

No. What we’re doing now is really our duo.

Image: Henrik Meng
Antoine Boyer & Yeore Kim
Image: Henrik Meng

And you met through music?

Yes, through music, we met in Taiwan at the Jazz Festival.


That’s great. You started playing guitar with your father when you were six. How and why did you take up the guitar?

We listened to jazz at home, we listened to Django Reinhardt and he said to me, “Hey, do you want to start playing guitar?” When he said that, he was talking about Gypsy guitar because that’s what we listened to. And so, in fact, we started together with the same teacher. He started with me. We ended up playing and touring together.


You’ve even recorded a few albums together too, I think.

Yes, three albums.


Were you good at it straight away?

It’s difficult to say. What I can say is that I learned in the gypsy way. In other words, you learn as a community. In fact, it’s very different from classical music, where you’re faced with a score and you have to work alone.


This is the complete opposite. It’s something you learn in a community. There’s no score at all, it’s an oral tradition. And as a result, it’s a way of learning that makes everything go very quickly. In fact, everything is done by ear, by sight, and copying.


And I think it’s thanks to that that I was able to play very early on. I started doing concerts when I was 11 or 12 because it’s a way of doing things very quickly. But for the gypsies, it’s a completely natural way of learning. And [for them] it’s normal for little children of ten or eleven to already be playing to their heart’s content.


But you don’t come from a gypsy family?

No, not really, it’s just that we listened to that kind of music.


And apart from the fact that you started lessons with your father, before that, your father wasn’t musical either?

Yes, he played a lot of classical piano. He was a musician.


In fact, the reason we did Gypsy jazz and learnt the Gypsy way was that he’d already had the experience of classical piano where you’re all alone in front of a score and it’s not always very fun. And I don’t think he wanted me to learn to play music in that way.

Antoine Boyer & Yeore Kim by Kévin Seddiki - 2
Photo: Kévin Seddiki


What about your mother? And if you have brothers and sisters, do they play too?

Yes, my mother also played the piano, as did my brothers and sisters. They did music, painting… Well, we did quite a lot of art. Professionally, my parents were statisticians.


That’s a bit of a change from statistics; music is a bit more fun than statistics! We’re not going to tell them that, but all the same! I’ve read that you prefer three types of guitar: gypsy jazz, classical and archtop, for those who like me don’t know anything about guitars, what are the differences between them?

Well, the classical guitar, is the guitar you see most often. An acoustic guitar with nylon strings. So that’s basically what defines it. The gypsy guitar is also an acoustic guitar but with steel strings. So the sound is very different. More metallic.


And the archtop guitar. This is the guitar we generally use in jazz. So it’s an electric guitar. It has more of an acoustic sound. But there are so many different kinds of guitar.


I know you’re comfortable playing a bit of everything, but do you have a favourite style of music to play with the guitar?

Not really, no. I wouldn’t say a style. I like to play a bit of all music as long as you manage to be intense.


There’s one technique I’m particularly fond of and that’s counterpoint. I don’t know if you can tell, it’s the art of playing several voices at once, like the music of Johann Sebastian Bach.


And you write your own music with Yeore Kim? What is the process of writing it? To create it?

Yes, it usually depends. For example, I’ll have an idea and I’ll say to her, “here, let’s try it out” and then we’ll see how it sounds and then it’ll happen naturally. So there’s not much of a predefined technique.


And where does your inspiration come from?

It’s hard to say, but I’d say one thing that inspires me a lot is the sound of the guitar.


And in 2016, you were named a classic guitar revelation. What is the process for this guitar revelation, is it a competition? How do you become one?

Yes, that was a competition.


And it was very intense, I imagine.

Yes, classical guitar competitions are very demanding. And that’s all you get to do.


Which audience is your concert at the Adelaide Guitar Festival aimed at?

I don’t really know the audience for the Adelaide Guitar Festival, but I think it’s for everyone. I don’t think there are any particular categories.


Maybe you just have to love music and especially the guitar. Do you have a dream venue you’d like to play at?

Not really, no. Generally speaking, I’m just happy to be where I am. As for the rest, we’ll see.


You’re used to playing festivals, so is it normally in the open air, outside or is it more indoors that you play?

It depends on the festival. It depends.


So you do a bit of both.



And in Adelaide, it’s going to be indoors.

Yes. For the duet with Yeore, it’s much better to have an indoor venue because it’s more intimate. What we do isn’t necessarily best done outside.


Why should people come and see you live at the Adelaide Guitar Festival? Why choose your gig over another?

It’s hard to say. In fact, it’s not for me to say. I’m coming, I’m playing, I’m giving my best and that’s all I can say. If people are touched by this style of music, they’ll come and that’s that. After that, it’s up to them to have a really good, intimate time and to give it their all.


Why this concert rather than any other? What I wanted to say is that we’re trying to do – it’s not necessarily entertainment – but it’s really that we’re trying to give people a deeper experience than just “We’re here, we play and that’s that.” And that’s nice.


We’re trying to make the things we share a deeper experience than just having a nice time together, which is fine. But we’re trying to share a deeper experience that goes a bit beyond words.


How do you make it more of an intimate experience?

It’s the way you’re on stage, the way you play and the way you’re intense and in the moment. I think that’s what really makes it possible to create an atmosphere that goes beyond entertainment. It’s hard to put into words, but that’s what I want to say.


So you just have to come and experience it and know what it’s all about.

That’s exactly what I mean. It’s precisely because it goes beyond words that it’s interesting.


Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?

For me, music is really the art of creating an intense moment for several people, the musicians and the listeners. In fact, playing music for an audience is something very special and almost sacred for me. I think that’s all I can say to people to get them to come. And for me, I try to make them unique moments.

We’d like to thank Antoine Boyer for this interview and we look forward to seeing him in concert.


©Henrik Meng Antoine Boyer
Photo: Henrik Meng


WHAT: Guitar and harmonica concert by Antoine Boyer and Yeore Kim at the Adelaide Guitar Festival 2023, with a performance by Kathleen Halloran, singer and guitarist.

WHEN: 5pm, Sunday 16 July

WHERE : Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide Festival Centre, ADELAIDE

HOW : Buy your tickets via this link

HOW MUCH: Tickets cost $59 excluding booking fees

For other events with links to France and the French-speaking world, check out our What’s on in July article.



Enter your email to subscribe to new article notifications about all things French and francophone in Australia

Related Posts

Matilda Marseillaise

Discover more from Matilda Marseillaise

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading