Fawzi Chekili was interested in the harmonic work of Alain Pierre, who in turn was captivated by the melodic and rhythmic characteristics of Arabic music. Their two acoustic guitars almost naturally turned to two noted air-smiths: the Belgian sax and flute player Steve Houben and the Tunisian ney-player Hichem Badrani. And so – probably for the first time in the world – a flute and a ney (reed flute) would meet. Both the joint and solo compositions of Pierre and Chekili integrate the melodic and rhythmic particularities of Tunisian music with European harmonics.
The result is music that is unique, both in its genre and interpretation. As Anfass is intended as a project that is open to a wide audience, melodies were given the priority, while the rhythmic and harmonic framework provide a showcase for the fusion of two musical conceptions, two worlds. The musicians were particularly careful to respect the personal aspect of the creation and the identity of each musician while they were writing. The goal was to arrive at a careful blend of individual cultural realities and to avoid a clumsy, superficial patchwork. First presented at the Palais Ennejma Ezzahra in Sidi Bou Saïd as part of the CMAM’s music programme in November 99, the project has been travelling ever since.
From the International Video and Jazz festivals in Liege, dates in Brussels and Huy and summer shows at the Gaume Jazz festival (Rossignol), Hammamet and El Djem as well as autumn shows at the jazz festival of Oudayas de Rabat (Morocco) and Benelux in March and September 2001. Meanwhile, the project has matured and evolved, integrating the oud (short-necked lute) played by Chekili, Tunisian darbouka percussion and the vocals of Hichem Badrani. The release of this CD is the natural conclusion of this cultural and musical union between artists of Wallonia – Brussels and Tunisia. (Tunis, June 10th - 2000) In Arabic, «Anfass», means «breath».
In music, this directly implies wind instruments and – in this case – the flute and ney. Taken in a wider context, it also means a sigh, emotion… and the breath becomes one of inspiration, spirit. Soul, and a breath of life. Breaths blow through us and bring us together.
They connect our respective cultures and languages with the same emotion and energy. Breaths that guide us and become a breeze of musical aromas. Breaths that are compositions and improvisations and carry the very essence of our personalities and cultures. Breaths in which every breath becomes a melody within a harmony.
Harmony in the meeting and dialogue between men and their culture. Harmony in the soul. Harmony in life. «Anfass», is our desire to evoke and constantly share this spirit through our compositions and improvisations.
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