Haunting and evocative, UMAN synthesize tinges of many cultures and feelings, as they do in the exquisite Arab modalities of Arabian Nights which Didier explains springs from "the deep bond France has with the former French Arab colonies." With 'You Are Here', a couple of Uman's other musical influences are more clearly felt. The groove hinted at in some of Uman's earlier songs, come to the fore in several tracks on the new CD (Free uman walking, The way to peace). And the occasional touches of jazzy piano and brass, echo one of Didier's earliest influences : "Jazz is my first love" he says, "Jazz is an attitude. It's more than an influence. It's a way to see life."

Sometimes UMAN's unearthly textures come from very terrestrial sources. Didier explains, "We've built up a library of sampled sounds, many of which I collected myself on a portable DAT. "Ears on the look out" he says, "I hunt sounds. On 'Bird's Eye View,' (the album's opener) I'd been trying to record some frogs but every time I got my mike near them, they'd stop singing! Finally, I managed to get a couple of sounds. I looped and sampled them and they set a perfect ambience for the album."

Ambience is everything for UMAN, who describe themselves as "architects of harmony,". Says Danielle, "For me, the ambience is the most important thing in making me feel good in a song," Didier jokes, "I have to make a beautiful ambience, to make Danielle want to sing!" Although they no longer share a house, they still record in their studio, where Didier sits up all night assembling loop montages ready for Danielle to arrive in the morning and lay down her improvised vocals when her voice is at its purest.

Didier explains, "On a track like 'A night in a holy place,' I keep things very simple because that gives Danielle more space to improvise, She makes beautiful melodies quite spontaneously, as she did on 'I'm only Human,' while I pay attention to the structure."

A self-confessed "bricoleur," someone who loves to tinker and experiment, Didier is also a sculptor. Before UMAN, he was a jazz bass player, touring and recording with bands like Occibel and Jacques aux Lanternes,
"I never studied music, I can't read parts, though I can improvise on keyboards, It was exciting when I began to master studio technology because it freed me to create this music."

UMAN are a family affair and as the family expands, UMAN evolves. Danielle and her boyfriend built their bilingual website, http://perso.magic.fr/uman. Didier has published twenty children's books with his girlfriend, the artist Zad, who translates their music into evocative visual imagery. Using pastels and gouache paints, she creates the carrefully coordinated packaging of the group's CDs.

Both brother and sister think of their sound as "movie music" and approach it impressionistically. Danielle describes "Somewhere on earth," the subtle open of "You Are Here" as, "the rosy dawn light creeping over the grass in the early morning," For her, "The White Spirit" evokes floating feather light in the sky on a gust of heat. For Didier, "For A better World," is "Like a film, it changes, it takes you on a journey and when you come out at the end, you're changed."
UMAN's cinematic quality has already inspired filmmakers. The "White Spirit" adorned Japanese cineast Kohei Ando's movie, "After Twilight". Their sweeping abstract textures have also been interpreted for dance by noted choreographers such as Nadine Birtchansky, Isabelle Arbona, and Claudio Gasparotto.
The allure of their music made it inevitable that UMAN would be released in America; it is appealing and healing. As Didier says, "We made this music because we need to get away from the daily grind of ordinary life. It makes you relax, detach from reality. Like a medicine, it makes you feel better."