My encounter with the oud, the beautiful instrument at the heart of this album, coincided with my encounter with the joys and also the suffering of numerous women, men and children in the Arab and Iranian worlds. I started learning to play it, and my composing voice was repeatedly disoriented and regenerated not just by the tuning systems and phrasing that are idiomatic of oud playing, but what I learned from the people I spent time with and the places I visited.

In this collection I develop my own ‘oud voice’ by extending my instrument with unusual additions (chopsticks, linguine, thimbles) and applying some electronic processing. I also mixed in some of my field recordings of water, birds, and frogs.

While composing I was asking myself where we can find hope today, living in such a tortured world. My answers are embodied in my tracks, in their rebuttal of the categorical, their childlike playfulness and their embrace of a future we cannot yet know. While they are modest miniatures, ‘moments’ of musical imagination, they may be seeds for far grander things.


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