One year ago today, I woke up in the Middle-East. It would mark the beginning of 7 months of performances at the World Expo. Today I am delighted to release a compilation album of those performances entitled: World Music. Six musicians from different parts of the world making music together. Listen on BandCamp, Spotify or Apple Music.
Nassib Bouchebel — Didgeridoo (Lebanon 🇱🇧)
Nassib is a soulful and progressive musician. Performing with him feels like telling a story. It's always cozy and yet forever interesting. Thousands of years and kilometers separate the Australian didgeridoo from the Swiss hang. And yet they belong together. Though we met a year ago, it feels we've known each other for 10 years! The first 4 tracks of the album feature Nassib Bouchebel.
Christina Polycarpou — Lyra (Cyprus 🇨🇾)
Christina went above and beyond. She made the deliberate choice to study under Ross Daly, the master of her art form. That kind of rigor combined with her lighthearted temperament made her an efficient and reliable partner as we built our own repertoire. Christina patiently taught me tunes never adapted to the handpan before, which produced some of the most sophisticated playing in the album (tracks #5-9).
Alaa Alabdallah — Qanun (Syria 🇸🇾)
When I first met Alaa, we joked at each other's oddly shaped instrument cases. Inside his was a Qanun. I did not know this instrument. The Qanun is an Arabic string instrument which allows to play microtones (notes in-between notes). This kind of intoxicating melodic nuance combined with Alaa's supreme musicianship was completely awe-inspiring. From a quiet whisper to a resounding roar, Alaa's dynamic playing intensified each track. I miss his sound which you can hear on four tracks in this album (tracks #10-13).
Earl Brooks Jr. — Steel Pan (Trinidad 🇹🇹)
If you think handpan sounds magical, wait till you hear Brooks on the steel pan — and the combination of both is simply divine. But, even more meaningful than the sound itself, is the unification of two estranged communities. There's too much to say here (Brooks & I will do a podcast episode about it). 7 months together were illuminating. The handpan is indeed part of PAN and owes everything to the original. The next four tracks (#14-17) feature whimsical jams with Earl Brooks Jr.
Qing Du — Guzheng (China 🇨🇳)
At over 2,000 years old, the Guzheng is 100x older than the handpan and is deeply embedded in Chinese music tradition. Qing's angelic playing is meticulous, lyrical and her stage presence theatrical. These two instruments have so much potential and we only scratched the surface. Of our repertoire, only one tune was recorded. It is the closing track of the album.