The Kennedy Center

Guilhem Desq


Born in a musician family, with his father instrument maker and traditional musician, Guilhem starts learning the hurdy gurdy at the age of 8. He enters the traditional music class of the conservatory of Tarn in Albi (CNMDT), with his father has a teacher. From 2002 he already work with traditional bands such “Aital Sem”. In 2006, he wins the international hurdy gurdy competition in the traditional music festival of St Chartier.
After 10 years of learning hurdy gurdy at the conservatory, he enters the music section of INSA in Toulouse in 2007 where he follows also computer engineering studies. He continues his musical formation meeting the masters of hurdy gurdy such as Valentin Clastrier, Gregory Jolivet, Romain Baudoin, who allow him to improve both his technical skills and musicality with of his instrument. On the other side, he also learns drums at the Dante Agostini famous drums school of Toulouse. He plays in a lot of different projects as a drummer, notably Lords Of Kahuzan, a heavy metal band with whom he records an album in 2008.

The real revolution in his music life comes in 2009 when he builds with his father his custom electric hurdy gurdy. This open a lot of unexpected doors for him, and he starts his own band performing the hurdy gurdy, “Arcane Alchemists” (trad/rock/fusion), recording their first album in 2012.
He graduates from his computer engineering school in 2015 and decides to start a professional musician career. He works with several projects, Liuç (trad), Ceguida (trad), Mighz (abstract Hip Hop), and makes his second album with Arcane Alchemists in 2016. He gives also a lot of solo shows with his original creations, and start a serie of web videos that grant him several millions of views on the internet. This help him to collaborate with several international artists, such as D Imman, Maati Baani, Martin Stimming, Bedouin, Steinregen Dub System, Rakkoon… He also produces score musics for short movies, and flirt with circus arts with “Le cirque with the world top performers” as their main musician for 3 tours with 50 shows in Italy.
After a year touring worldwide in 2017 (India, USA, New Zealand, Israël, Bulgaria, Italy, Spain, France…) with more than 50 shows Guilhem Desq releases his first solo album “Visions”. An album “100% hurdy gurdy” which feature original songs recorded from his instrument as the only source of sounds. Not only an album but a whole project which is going beyond music, from building his instrument to directing and animating his latest music video “Le château magique”. 2018 will be another year of touring with concerts already booked in countries Guilhem hasn’t visited yet.

Watch Past Performances

Video 11/6/2018: Guilhem Desq

Guilhem Desq breathes new life and innovation into the hurdy gurdy, an old-world instrument. He has an unmistakable sound, electrifying this originally acoustic instrument with traditional European folk, Middle-Eastern music, contemporary rock, Hip Hop, and electro.

Guilhem Desq