Monday, December 14, 2009

Anouar Brahem, The Gryphon Trio, and Lou Harrison: Playlist for The Open Window for December 14 and 17, 2009

The Open Window airs at 6:30 am Mondays and 10 am Thursdays at (Kootenay Cooperative Radio in Nelson, B.C.), sponsored by Sidewinders Coffee.

Listen to a podcast of this show

Lou Harrison: Bell Bowls from La Koro Sutro (New Albion)
Lou Harrison was a 20th century American composer with a passion for the gamelan music of Java and Bali, and he incorporated many of those sounds and textures into his music. I opened the show with this percussion piece played by William Wynant.

Anouar Brahem:
The Lover of Beirut, Dance with Waves, Stopover at Djibouti, and The Astounding Eyes of Rita, from The Astounding Eyes of Rita (ECM )

Anouar Brahem is a celebrated player of Arabic classical music in his home country of Tunisia, and a tireless experimenter and collaborator to the point where it is often hard to say where North Africa leaves off and Europe begins in this spare, dignified, detailed music. For the past few decades he has divided his time between Tunisia and France and played, composed, taught... and worked with all manner of musicians as well as poets and dancers.

Think about the instruments in this quartet: oud, bass clarinet, bass, bendir and darbouka (those are North African hand drums). The result is elegant, exotic, low-toned, and full of feeling for deserts and cities.

The album is titled after a poem by Mahmoud Darwish, a revered poet of Palestine who died last year (photo to the right, just below
). Here is the poem:
Between Rita and my eyes
There is a rifle

And whoever knows Rita
Kneels and plays

To the divinity in those honey-colored eyes

And I kissed Rita
When she was young
And I remember how she approached
And how my arm covered the loveliest of braids
And I remember Rita
The way a sparrow remembers its stream
Ah, Rita

Between us there are a million sparrows and images
And many rendevous
Fired at by a rifle

Rita's name was a feast in my mouth
Rita's body was a wedding in my blood
And I was lost in Rita for two years
And for two years she slept on my arm
And we made
Over the most beautiful of cups

And we burned in the wine of our lips
And we were born again

Ah, Rita!
What befor
e this rifle could have turned my eyes from yours
Except a nap or two or honey-colored clouds?
Once upon a time
Oh, the silence of dusk
In the morning my moon migrated to a far place
Towards tho
se honey-colored eyes
And the city swept away all the singers
And Rita

Between Rita and my eyes
A rifle

Mozart: Trio in G movements 1 and 2 (performed by the Gryphon
Trio) from Mozart Trios (Analekta)

Toronto's Gryphon Trio is Annalee Patipatanakoon (violin), Roman Borys (cello), and Jamie Parker (piano).


  1. Dear Bill, I am really glad I found your blog. There are so many music sites to promote one's music, but those sites are for pop and pop culture-related musics only, and I feel completely out of place there. Please pardon me dropping this note like this, but
    You really ought to check out and review the album "Songs From The Breastbone Drum"
    It is only available as a digital download at

    Artists like this need to be known. Don't you think so too?

  2. Yes I do. By the time you had written this I had already abandoned this show and this blog and now it is even a couple of years later than that. This morning I visited this blog for the first time since then. I had almost forgotten about it. I hope you are well.