2019 album. Lebanese oud master.
‘The Flood and the Fate of the Fish’ is probably Lebanese oud master Rabih Abou-Khalil’s, most intimate work to date and for his new album Rabih fulfilled a wish he had for a long time. He gathered around him musicians who, after decades of intense musical cooperation had become close friends. The recording took place for the first time in his house and his own studio in the South of France.
With the musicians of this project gathered in small groups consisting mainly of trios, Rabih Abou-Khalil introduced for the first time the bass oud, specially built for him by German luthier Robert Eibl. It is an enormously large instrument tuned one octave lower than the regular oud and has a very distinctive warm and powerful sound.
At the centre of the rhythm section is American drummer and percussionist Jarrod Cagwin who, after having worked closely with Rabih Abou-Khalil for over 20 years, has mastered his complex rhythms like no one else. Also featured on the recording is accordionist Luciano Biondini, a permanent member of Abou-Khalil’s working group and arguably one of the greatest virtuosos on his instrument.
Gavino Murgia from Sardinia is deeply rooted in the centuries old guttural vocal tradition of the “tenores”, he adapts his art to Abou-Khalil’s music in the most innovative form. At times sounding like an Australian “didgeridoo”, at others like a scat singer he enthralls with the use of his voice as a swinging bass instrument.
Another guesting in the ensemble is the Turkish grandmaster of the iconic bamboo flute, the ney, Kudsi Ergüner, who is deeply rooted in Turkish classical music.
Like Abou-Khalil’s other recordings, this CD is testament to the heights that can be reached, both artistically and humanely, when people from different cultures and backgrounds unite in creative curiosity and mutual respect.