L IS FOR LEBANON, E IS FOR ESTONIA, S IS FOR SWITZERLAND and U IS FOR UNITED STATES
Pomegranate molasses for your ears and a truly international undertaking. Absolute Ensemble is a NYC-based band of musicians led by Estonian Kristjan Järvi with diverse and unrestrained interests. They’ve done Schönberg and Bach, they’ve done music of the Amazon, and on this record, they forayed into Arabic music, with a strong Lebanese incline. Absolute Ensemble invited a bunch of Lebanese musicians—Marcel and Bachar Khalife and Bassam Saba—to play traditional instruments like oud, nay and hand percussion. Marcel Khalife also sang. That’s in addition to the permanent 12 members and a Swiss saxophonist, Daniel Schnyder. I was not in NYC at the time of the recording but this is exactly why I love this city so much: people here come together to redefine their own cultures and become part of other ones.
Arabian Nights (live at the Town Hall) by Absolute Ensemble and Kristjan Järvi
Released by Enja Records in 2011