Edward Powell... considered today one of the world's leading fretless guitarists, Edward is perhaps the only the playing an authentic Indian style on a fretless guitar thanks to his double decade pilgrimage with the sitar. On top of this Edward is also an accomplished oud player and has brought the makam language also to the fretless guitar captured in sounds coming from the instrument he designed and built himself which is a combination of a sarod and an oud. Recording artist, performer, teacher, instrument builder, traveler...
"Bluesand" (2001-4) represents a major leap in Edward's recording career. His intension, with this 4 year composing/recording project, was to gracefully combine all the element of his musical development thus far: Bluesy "Afro" roots, with Indian (and Arabic) music. The album flows smoothly and deeply, but without a dull moment. Sitar, oud, fretless guitar, and Edward's Indian and bluesy vocals are featured throughout. The eight original compositions were painstakingly composed, recorded and produced to create an album which will surely stand the test of time as a masterpiece of modern day acoustic ethno-fusion.
Edward took a great deal of time and care with this album: composing, recording, and producing painstakingly over more than four years. However the music still sounds fresh and alive despite the perfectionist approach with which this Cd was made. Edward wanted every note and each sound to be just right, and to a large extent achieved this. The 'tweeking/remixing' came to an end and now the finished produce is proudly available.
On Bluesand Edward wanted to give equal voice to sitar, fretless guitar, and oud, as well as stylistically equal space for Indian, North African, and Bluesy influences. The result is definitely rhythmic and catchy. There are no ballads on this record but each tune is gentle in its grooviness. Friedsitar's Scott White contributes with some unbelievable bass playing and strong compositional ideas.
Multi-talented world percussionist Patrick Feldner, Edward's longtime intimate collaborator definitely provides Bluesand's solid backbone, in fact the entire Cd was composed using Pat's drum grooves as a foundation. Pat also contributed many conceptual ideas, and a melodic theme on 'kalimba' (in "Megh"). In many ways Bluesand is the first of it's kind, more than likely to be remembered as somewhat of a 'blueprint' for many Edward Powell CDs to follow... at least that is the author's sincere intent. Please, listen on...
Patrick Feldner - drums, percussion, kalimba, sound effects
A versatile and talented percussionist native to Vienna, Pat began as many others as a progressive rock drummer. Before long Pat began traveling to India for long periods and while there acquired a profound attraction to Buddhism. Since then Pat dedicated his efforts entirely in the direction of Oriental percussion. This inspiration began first with an intensive period of tabla study and later Persian and Arabic drumming. Pat now performs in a wide variety of venues and with several top Austrian World music, Celtic, and Early music groups.
Scott White - contrabass
A dynamic and highly creative bassist from Canada, Scott began playing and singing rock but turned to jazz and classical music by his late teens. After years of study at various institutions including Banff School of Fine Arts, McGill University and with celebrated teachers such as Dave Holland and Joel Quarrington, he toured much of the world with various ensembles. Scott and Edward have a long history and friendship behind them which comes across on Bluesand as a great musical connection.
Friedemann Zintel - tabla
One of the great Indian tabla legends claimed that Friedemann is the best European tabla player. From the age of 12 he studied with Pandit Shanka Chatterjee (the renouned tablist who accompanied Vilayat and Imrat Khan on all of their first European tours of the early 50's) as Shanka has been a music professor in Berlin for decades. On 'Yammat', Bluesand's final track, Friedemann renders an astonishing, full power solo and fully inspired accompaniment recorded live with Scott - not to be missed!
Karin Gelnarova - voice
Edward and Karin met in 2002 when Edward chanced to see her perform with one of Czech finest pianists in the duo "Lecba Neklidem" (translated meaning: "cure through disturbance"). Edward was greatly impressed by her voice and the two became friends. Balancing maternal duties with music Karin is one of Czech's most respected jazz singers.
Mario Reithofer - fender rhodes
Mario is a talented and versatile keyboard player and a technical enthusiast. Bluesand (on which Mario play bluesy rhodes on three tracks) was largely created in his TSAMM Recording Studio. The recording project GURUGROOVE which began in 2003, with Edward, Pat Feldner, and Mario, was completed in 2004 by Pat and Mario with the aid of and Austrian music/arts grant.
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Edward Powell was born in Vancouver, Canada in 1963, into a musical and literary family. His musical training began with the cello at the age of six. Five years later he discovered the guitar which became the passion of his life for the next thirteen years, in which time he studied rock, jazz, folk, and classical music under several renowned Canadian musicians.
After several years as a composer and improviser for his first band, a progressive-rock original music trio, at the age of nineteen he began playing in Canada's nightclubs as an electric lead guitarist.
Two years later Ed teamed up with Gord Martin and 'Dermittlegang', and together moved to London for a musical experiment lasting about 12 months. Thereafter Ed moved back to Canada and to earning his living as a singer/guitarist/entertainer.
In 1988, after a lengthy musical "pilgrimage" to India in which he discovered Indian classical music and the sitar, Edward (encouraged by his father) decided to change the direction of his musical development. He began to study the sitar with Batuk Nath Mishra of Varanasi, and continued this period of intense study under Pandit Budhaditya Mukherjee (considered the most brilliant sitarist of India's younger generation) from between 1991 - 1994, in which time he received intimate personal and musical guidance from Budhaditya and his father Bimalendu.
Edward began giving public recitals with the sitar in 1992 and has since performed regularly in North America, Europe, and in India. He has performed with many talented musicians; Celso Machado, Ali Kouskhani, Matteo Scaioli, Fabio Lazzarin, Niel Golden, Adel Awad, Sarabjit Matharu, Neelamjit Dhillon, Andre Thibeau, Scott White, Ivo Sedlacek, Stefan Cihelka, Federico Laterza, Roger Baird, Deepak Prabhu, Stefan Montangero, Tomas Reindl, Patrick Feldner, Friedemann Zintel, Emil Heyrovsky, Vastislav Matousek, Vladimir Merta, Bilal Karaman, Ulf Gjerdingen and many others.
Edward began to study the oud in 1994, and in 1995 journeyed to Morocco in search of instruments and training, where he studied briefly with Nouaman Lahlou. Continuing his in depth study of the oud and the Turkish and Arab makam system Edward traveled, in 2003 and 2005, to Crete to stay and study at Ross Daly's musical Labyrinth. In 2006 Edward was awarded a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts to study with the renowned Necati Celik in Istanbul.
In 1997, while in India, he created a fretless guitar by putting a sheet-metal fingerboard (inspired by the Indian instrument, the sarod) onto a steel-string acoustic guitar. Edward continued to experiment and to refine his instrument building skills through the following years, resulting in the creation of eleven unique original instruments which he now uses on CD recordings and in live concerts.
Since 1999 Edward has released five acclaimed CDs and performed an uncountable number of prestigious concerts in many countries. Today he is considered one of the world's foremost fretless guitarists particularly for his unprecedented work stylistically fusing Indian, Turkish, and Western musics. Additionally Edward is known for his dynamic and educational lecture/concerts (workshops), and was the history's first musician to be granted permission to teach Indian music in an Italian conservatory.