Novara Jazz is a special event. I've had the pleasure of performing here last year at the City Archives and Beldi Park, with Samuel Blaser and the crazy wonderful Italians Alessandro Fedrigo, Nicola Fazzini, and Luca Colussi of Hyper + trio.
This year Gordon Grdina's Haram takes Centre stage (Broletto) along with Grdina/Houle Loewen (sala DEL compasso), Add hoc sets by JP Carter, Jesse Zubot, Emad Armoush, Tim Gerwing, Liam MacDonald, and Chris Kelly round out the Canadian presence Here.
From the depths of Vancouver’s rich avant-garde improvisational music community, comes the phenomenal culture-mashing juggernaut that is Haram. This power-house ensemble, half studied in the Arabic tradition, and half who cut their teeth in Canada's improv/indie/rock/jazz scene, is led by Juno Award-winning GORDON GRDINA (Dan Mangan) who, for the Haram project, trades in his guitar for Iraqi oud.
Haram pays homage to traditional Arabic music while mixing elements of noise, electronic soundscape, and western free improv into their explosively self-expressive sound. The ensemble is formed of creative heavy-hitters:
— GORDON GRDINA: IRAQI OUD (Dan Mangan, Mats Gustafsson, Mark Helias, Gary Peacock, Paul Motian)
— JP CARTER: TRUMPET (The Inhabitants, Destroyer, Fond Of Tigers, Dan Mangan)
— JESSE ZUBOT: VIOLIN (Tanya Tagaq, Hawksley Workman, Fond Of Tigers)
— KENTON LOEWEN: DRUMS (Dan Mangan, The Crackling, Jerry Granelli)
— TOMMY BABIN: BASS (Paul Plimley, Now Orchestra, Sendero Luminoso)
— FRANÇOIS HOULE: CLARINET (Composer and trailblazing improviser & soloist)
— CHRIS KELLY: SAXOPHONE (Now Orchestra, Eye of Newt)
— TIM GERWING & LIAM MACDONALD: PERCUSSION
— and EMAD ARMOUSH: Syrian VOCALIST extraordinaire
Their music, developed over time, has reached that sublime state of effortless cohesion while retaining its sense of wild abandon.
The repertoire begins with Iraqi folk music and ends at the mid-century era of Egyptian radio music. Traditional pieces are blown wide open. The group takes classic Arabic music from great composers like Farid Al-Atrache, Abdul Whahab and Oum Khalsoum, and filters them through Vancouver's creative improvising community. It's invigorating to watch the group constantly shifting directions while building to euphoric crescendos.
Haram plays a repertoire that has been revered by millions over decades, conjuring an immense sense of respect and homage, while remaining explosively self-expressive. This unique ensemble is for anyone interested in exciting, cross-cultural, boundary-annihilating music.
“The musics backbone is traditional, but wild outbursts of free improvisation and subtle injections of noise make it quite unlike anything you'd hear in the shisha dens of Cairo or Baghdad…
...Gordon Grdina is both a skilled and slippery performer on the oud and a fiercely inventive noise guitarist” — THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT
Haram — das ist ein zehnköpfiges, kulturenverbindendes Musikspektakel aus Kanada geleitet von Juno Award-Gewinner Gordon Grdina (Dan Mangan). Haram bringt Vancouver’s Avantgard-Indie-Rock-Jazz-Artists und Connaisseure der östlichen Musik zusammen und damit die Musik grosser arabischer Komponisten wie Farid Al-Atrache, Abdul Whahab, and Oum Khalsoum auf neue Ebenen. Die traditionelle arabische Musik wird dabei mit Elementen wie Noise, elektronischen Klängen und der westlichen freien Improvisation angereichert, umfährt jeglichen Kitsch weitläufig und sorgt mit Leidenschaft und Innovation für absolute Gänsehautmomente.
Haram, Live at the Vogue Theater: