Daphna Sadeh and the Voyagers - Out of Border
Daphna Sadeh should be familiar to many through recording and performing credits with one of Israel's leading world music/"world fusion" ensembles, The East West Ensemble, of whom she was a member from 1990-97, as well as as the co-founder/leader of the all female Eve's Women from 1997 onward. Originally released in 2002, Out of Border is an album that arose out of her latest project, The Voyagers, recorded in Israel with a temporary line-up, although Daphna Sadeh is now based in the UK and the Voyagers are now being properly formed here.
A classically trained double bass player, Daphna Sadeh has a wide range of performing experience in both classical and world music and combines these with her passion for Middle Eastern music as well as Jazz influences. On Out of Border, she proves herself a formidable composer, with all four tracks her own. The album was recorded "live" in the studio and conveys the spontaneity of a live performance very well indeed. There is an abundance of energy and a great atmosphere of exploration. There is also an obvious great empathy among the players, all of whom acquit themselves with impeccable musicianship and technical excellence.
The music of Out of Border is a fusion of jazz, traditional Jewish and other Middle Eastern music/Mediterranean music, with classical influences. It is one of those rare beasts, a truly successful and organic fusion - something that Israel seems to produce more than its fair share of for some considerable time now. Indeed, I'll venture to say that a significant majority of the best and most exciting world fusion music of the last decade or two, if not more, has come out of Israel or from Israeli musicians based elsewhere, regardless of whether the foundation of this fusion is jazz, classical, world music or rock.This should not really be surprising given the multi-cultural nature of Israel and the extremely diverse cultural influences present there.
If you labour under the impression that contemporary classical music has to be either almost totally a-melodious and jarringly dissonant (and preferably with unspeakable things being done to instruments), or bland, naive, new-agey tatt that may well be "soothing" to some but shows about as much imagination and musical inventiveness as a bovine breaking wind, you're not listening to enough new music, the good stuff's definitely out there if you persist looking for it. Daphna Sadeh's Out of Border is an outstanding example of contemporary music and among the many other genres you might want to pigeonhole it into, contemporary classical would fit as well as any. The melody is given free reign, flowing freely and dominating. Ideas flow and are explored. The music always remains wonderfully accessible and is warm and intimate. Like all the best music, it speaks directly to the heart and makes your spine tingle. Middle Eastern melodies and rhythms are at the heart of this album, while the soloing is distinctly jazzy. Western and Middle Eastern instruments blend supremely well here and are clearly equals, no using something for purely exotic "effect" here.
The opener, Ancient Memories, is a very reflective, introspective piece, opening with a gentle violin introduction that leads into the main section of the composition, an exciting blend of an incredibly Middle Eastern sounding piano and strings, oud and percussion alternating with more somber bass, piano and percussion. A subtle yet highly memorable tune, it is at times reminiscent of Andalusian music as well as of Ottoman art music, yet all in a distinctly modern and individual idiom. Inner Sound continues in a similarly reflective vein. The title track, Out of Border, is a more extrovert, lively composition, almost like a Middle Eastern Piazzolla tango, exciting and vibrant. The closer, Awakening, starts off introspectively, then picks up and turns increasingly lively, and again in parts is almost Piazzollaesque. Out of Border is at once hauntingly beautiful and tremendously exciting music that leaves you wanting to hear more.
If you're in the UK, watch out for live performances by Daphna Sadeh and the Voyagers. This week, they'll be at Leo Baeck College in Finchley on Thursday 3rd July at 8pm - more details on the main Jewish Music page.
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