Tarik Banzi, Al-Andalus Ensemble | Vision

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Vision

by Tarik Banzi, Al-Andalus Ensemble

The oud, quintessential classical Arabic music instrument is explored in a series of solo improvisations, duets, quartets and innovative uses of the oud.
Genre: World: Andalusian
Release Date: 

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1. Intimacy Tarik Banzi, Al-Andalus
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2. Tangier Tarik Banzi, Al-Andalus
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3. Enigma Tarik Banzi, Al-Andalus
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4. Maristan Tarik Banzi, Al-Andalus
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5. Vision Tarik Banzi, Al-Andalus
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6. Hamama Tarik Banzi, Al-Andalus
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7. Samarkand Tarik Banzi, Al-Andalus
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8. Dawn Tarik Banzi, Al-Andalus
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9. Prayer Tarik Banzi, Al-Andalus
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10. Exodus Tarik Banzi, Al-Andalus
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
iTunes Digital Download: http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewAlbum?playListId=5007745

The oud (pronounced like "wooed" without the "w") is the quintessential classical Arabic musical instrument. It elicits a warm response even from Western musical ears unaccustomed to the intricacy and subtlety of this ten or eleven-stringed Middle Eastern forerunner of the European lute (the word "lute" is actually derived from the Arabic "al-'ud"). It is particularly appropriate for Tarik to showcase the oud because he, like the instrument before him, passed from North Africa to the West via Spain. Tarik is originally from Tetouan, Morocco, which is in the northernmost point of Africa, near Spain; he lived for many years in Spain, where he completed his studies in Fine Arts. He later moved to the USA where he formed the multicultural musical group, Al-Andalus. As Tarik says, "I grew up listening to and playing all sorts of music, both the popular and traditional music of Morocco, Spain and America."

Yet, his Moroccan roots remain very strong. What is interesting about Tarik is that he resists creating more fusion music. Instead, he composes music that is closer to the classical Arabic tradition-as opposed to the more flamboyantly mixed music popular in World Beat circles. Nonetheless, his music is a hybrid of East and West. It is also a hybrid of North and South, due to the many African influences running through Moroccan music and culture. Thanks to the richness of this musical heritage, Tarik easily crosses musical borders while retaining the best of his traditional musical training. As Tarik puts it, "Throughout my life I have resisted such boundaries. At the same time I appreciate and embrace my rich heritage as a stepping stone to creating new art, new music, new beauty."

Such an encounter between East and West might, on the surface, seem forbidding: Arabic classical music is based on intricate meters, a complicated maqam system (something like a modal structure), microtones, and other musical elements unfamiliar to Western audiences. Yet, there is also a strong Arab musical tradition of complex improvisation and ornamentation (taqasim) around the melody. This is something Westerners can appreciate. It is this aspect of the tradition that Tarik brings to the forefront in his music.

In fact, Tarik has taken the spirit of improvisation in some unique directions. Most startling to those familiar with Arab music will be Tarik's innovative use of an electric oud on several tracks. The sound is quite unique and illustrates perfectly his desire to push the boundaries of the traditional. Tarik's unique musical creations for the oud beautifully illustrate his contemporary approach to music, an approach which places greatest emphasis on innovation within tradition.

Most important of all, Tarik is passionate about the music and intent on creating soft, lovely, haunting melodies. "Music has always been a way of connecting to a spiritual center and creating beauty," is how Tarik explains his purpose. He has succeeded admirably. After listening to this CD, I think you will agree with me that Tarik uses the oud to create a beautiful, warm, subtle, and profoundly meditative music.

Dr. David McMurray
Professor of Anthropology, Oregon State University

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Hi friends! Our newest CD 'Alchemy' is now out! (3/16/06). Also, there is a PBS special showing across USA running 12/05 thoughout the year called "Three Faiths, One God" with music from our different cd's and we were filmed live for it (www.threefaithsonegod.com). Keep an eye out for us on television!


Tarik Banzi was born in Tetuan, Morocco and grew up immersed in the Andalusian tradition. He lived in Madrid, Spain throughout the 80's & moved in Flamenco, Jazz and Middle Eastern music circles. Tarik formed the group Al-Fatihah with Jewish musicologist Dr. Javier Sanchez, which has been recognized in Spain as the first group of Middle Eastern music.

At the same time Tarik was collaborating and recording with flamenco masters such as Paco de Lucia, Manolo Sanlucar, Enrique Morente, Jorge Pardo, Carles Benavent and Carlos Carli where Tarik introduced such mainstays into the flamenco sound as the darbuka (dumbek). In the late 80's Tarik & Julia formed the group Amal together with Maria Ahmed, Rasgui Boujemaa, together with Tarik & Rasgui's students Fain Duenas andVicente Molina. Fain & Vicente later went on to from the group Radio Tarifa.

Tarik is a multi-instrumentalist who has toured Europe and North America extensively. He composes and performs music for cinema, theater and television. Tarik completed his Doctoral studies in Fine Arts at The Complutense University of Madrid, Spain (A.B.D.). He is the artistic director of Al-Andalus (www.andalus.com) as well as the co-founder, composer and performer of Al-Andalus.


Reviews


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zahiya khadiri

window to look back to our root,door to open to concerve our tradition
exelent and overwelming,it took me back to my childhood memories,to the first time i felt in love,to my grandmother house in the medina in morocco.hope and nostalgie,tears and smile,that's what your music does to me and my brother.i'm impressed. keep up the good work

Brenna Asami-Howell

Vision
Excellent album. Vivacious!

Marina Zona

Great Vision!
Great music - very inspiring and moving. Can we have more of the same please?

sally esparza

Complexity and expression of feeling in this work is very moving.
This music evokes in me a connection to a far away place that I've never been to except with eyes closed. The complexity and expression of feeling in this work is very moving. It is quite beautiful to listen to and it makes me feel like dancing.

MOHAMED ROUZALI


THE MUSIC TOOK ME BACK TO MY BOYHOOD YEARS IN JAMAA EL FNA.;VERY SOOTHING.THANK YOU AND KEEP UP.

Backroads Music

The Oud, at its most innovative in Banzi's talented hands
The Oud is the quintessential classical Arabic musical instrument. It elicits a warm response from Western musical ears unaccustomed to the its intricacy and subtlety of this ten or eleven-stringed Middle Eastern forerunner of the European lute. Moroccan-born Tarik Banzi has also lived for many years in Spain, and later moved to the USA where he formed the multicultural musical group, Al-Andalus. On "Vision," Tarik explores the possibilities of the Oud, both acoustic and electric, in a true East-West encounter employing the full spirit of improvisation. And there are some unique directions taken, pushing boundaries while retaining the best of his traditional musical training. What really comes through is Tarik's passion for this music and his art in creating soft, lovely, haunting melodies. Besides the occasional percussion or berimbau, all of the music is from the Oud, at its most innovative in Banzi's talented hands

World Discoveries

One of the best East-meets-West bands of all time, and a joy to listen to!
CDs by Moroccan oud players are hard to find, never mind one who does solo improvisational music as well as plays in a band (Al-Andalus). Tarik Banzi's VISION (his musical plan, not just this cd) reminds me a great del of the East-meets-West experiments of the mid- to late-1960s known then as 'psychedelic music': both the music on Tarik's solo VISION and his group Al-Andalus have the spirit, sound, and idealism of that era. The big difference is that this is better.

Instead of a Western guitarist trying to approximate the music of the East, we have someone who grew up in Morocco playing an Eastern instrument (oud), who then spent years in Spain studying Western music, particularly Moroccan-influenced music.

On VISION Tarik overdubs himself on ouds both acoustic and electric. On two tunes he also adds percussion, and on these same two songs he also employs feedback as if he was playing a solid body guitar. I found this a little difficult, but forty years ago I'd have loved it.

On the tenth cut, 'Exodus', he adds that wonderful African-derived instrument from Brazil the birimbao: this is a great touch, and hopefully a sign of things to come.
Review covers 2 cds
Al Andalus is a project of Moroccan-born oud player Banzi and his wife Julia Banzi, who plays guitar. Usually in a group like this a "pretty girl" sings or dances and yes, the group does have two ladies who fill that role, but Julia plays fine backup guitar that helps underline the oud playing of Tarik. She receives some great help from Joe Henieman on piano. Tarik also overdubs on bass, percussion, ney (a reed instrument), sentir and keyboards.

Ranjani Kirshnan does a great job of the mostly-haunting vocals, including one tune from Southern India sung in Tamil - this from a group that claims to be based on the music of Moorish-controlled Andalusia Spain (when Spain was controlled by Muslims, but Jews and Christians supposedly lived in peace and harmony with them. This idylic scene was destroyed by the rise to power of Ferdinand and Isabella, and the Spanish Inquisition).

I got the feeling GENETIC MEMORIES only offers a slice of what this band can really do, but even if VISION is much the same, that's nothing to be ashamed of: Al Andalus is one of the best East-meets-West bands of all time, and a joy to listen to.

Laura

One of the most fascinating CDs ever, the music brings ancient and modern worlds
This is one of the most fascinating CD's ever. It brings the ancient world with the new and modern world, into ONE harmonious series of melodies. This music Creates a new dimension within the fussion of these ancient instruments, closing the gap of history among the ancient and the new world.

Thanks!!

Laura.

Shari

Wonderful music!
Love this cd! When I first heard the clips of the music on the Al-Andalus website I was thrilled. I had to purchase it and was not disappointed!

Rene Christian


First of all, it is exciting and rare to have a CD
featuring just the oud. Vision's compositions are
refreshingly original and cohesive.
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