MusicFest Concert Series

Komox Band Hall

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American cellist Eric Longsworth, who lived in Montreal for more than fifteen years and has been based in France since 2002, has formed a new group, crystallized around recent encounters with musicians from diverse cultures. With Jean-Luc Difraya from Marseille, on percussion and voice, and kora player Cherif Soumano, from Mali, Eric Longsworth is pleased to present the World Kora Trio.

The colors of African music embodied by the kora resonate with the original jazz and folk compositions of the electric cellist. The percussionist, with his celestial voice, impels the trio towards wide open spaces, world wide, as in music of the world.

Far from “conceptual”, their dialogue is playful, dynamic, and effervescent, illustrating beyond doubt that music is a universal language that defies borders.

A rare musical proposition…world music in the truest sense.

Genesis of the project

Eric Longsworth, electric cellist living in France, and Cherif Soumano, kora player from Bamako, met at the “Rochefort en Accords” Festival in 2010. Festival director Philippe Thieyre suggested that they open the 6th edition of the festival with a cello/kora duo. The two musicians immediately hit it off.

Cherif’s playing is strongly influenced by traditional music from Mali, in which the kora is historically a key instrument. At the same time, he has spent years playing rock, reggae and jazz. In jazz, Cherif has found an expression for his openness to other musical cultures, and a wonderful outlet for his abilities as an improviser.

Eric is one of those difficult-to-classify artists, who shapes unforgettable melodies with his electric cello. Influenced by his American roots, Eric plays music like a story-teller telling stories. Equally at home within and without the large family of jazz, Eric enjoys exploring the emotion inherent in the music.

« Rendez-vous »

Following the experience with Cherif, Eric called on Jean-Luc Difraya, with whom he had long wanted to play. Jean-Luc’s percussion accentuate the rhythmic dynamic of the kora and cello. Plus, Jean-Luc’s extraordinary voice counterbalances the percussive attack of the kora, and interlaces with the cello for melodic counterpoint. Especially appreciated for his versatility and intuitive originality, Jean-Luc expands the palette of sounds of this unusual trio.

It is easy to imagine that in the current social and political context, projects such as this one, open to and curious about other cultures, will reach out to touch peoples’ hearts.

A featured part of our Global Music Concert Series, this evening at the Komox Band Hall is a co-presentation with the I-Hos Gallery and the Comox Valley Multicultural and Immigrant Support Society.

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