About No Blues
No Blues is a unique project which explores the connections between two musical worlds, namely: Americana and Arabic music. For this latest project by Production House Oost- Nederland (ON), Ad van Meurs (guitar), Haytham Safia (U`d, Arabic lute) and Anne-Maarten van Heuvelen (double bass) were invited; their assignment was to investigate a possible combination of folkblues and traditional Arabic music in a three- day session. Both folk-blues and the Arabic taqsim (the improvised interplay without a fixed rhythm) are exceptionally suited for storytelling; the former in a somewhat rawer way, the latter mostly lyrical and melodic. In the same way as Leadbelly and Woody Guthrie documented their era in the early 20th century with their songs, the instrumentalist is the torchbearer of a centuries-old tradition in the virtually unwritten Arabic music culture. Traditional Arabic music differs from other music cultures in the way in which the music scale is subdivided. Thus the music can adopt forms that are nearly impossible in the western octave system. In the NO Blues sessions the musicians soon succeeded in establishing a singular integration of folk-blues and Arabic music. An instantly recognizable sound, which sounds very different at the same time; it sounds familiar, but then again it doesn`t. It`s a cross-breeding of Americana and Arabic music, which can best be described as Arabicana. It`s an album full of sincere and touching music that finds its way straight to your heart. Songs about ordinary folks, love and sadness, played and sung in the tradition that is characteristic for folk-blues as well as Arabic traditional music. The sessions were concluded in 2004 with a successful performance opening for The Holmes Brothers (USA). In 2005 the HT studios in Gemert, Holland were visited in order to make recordings under the supervision of Ankie Keultjes, who contributes vocals both on the CD and live on the upcoming tour.
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