PIERRE BENSUSAN CELEBRATES HIS 40TH ANNIVERSARY WITH THE RELEASE OF A TRIPLE LIVE CD TITLED
AWARD WINNING DADGAD FINGERSTYLE GUITARIST PIERRE BENSUSAN CELEBRATES HIS 40TH ANNIVERSARY WITH THE RELEASE OF A TRIPLE LIVE CD TITLED "ENCORE"
Award winning French-Algerian musician Pierre Bensusan (www.pierrebensusan.com) is embarking on an uncompromising journey across the globe. Performing upwards of 3,000 concerts over a 40 year career, Pierre is recognized universally as the foremost exponent of the DADGAD guitar tuning, the successor to the pioneering work of the late Davey Graham, and the catalyst to a whole new world of acoustic guitar styles through the likes of the great Michael Hedges who dedicated and named his track 'Bensusan' to Pierre on the ground breaking album Arial Boundaries.
"Encore" - his new triple CD release, contains 35 tracks taken from concert recordings between 1974 and 2013, including two fascinating duets with world renowned keyboard wizard Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater), and several 'early years' bluegrass recordings with banjo great Bill Keith.
Engineered in Los Angeles by Grammy winner Rich Breen, Encore features 11 tracks never previously released commercially in any form and delivers the definitive live recording fans have been waiting for, showcasing Pierre's unique sound and improvisational in-the moment style.
Background to Encore
Back in 1974, a young Pierre Bensusan was cutting his teeth as a performer on the folk scene in Paris when one of his idols, banjo great Bill Keith, offered him his first official paying gig playing mandolin and touring Western Europe with his bluegrass band. When Keith heard Pierre's groundbreaking approach to the acoustic guitar, he decided to showcase his young protégés talent with dedicated solo spots at each concert. Thus a 40 year career was launched which would inspire a whole new generation of guitarists.
Decades later, when Bensusan was planning Encore, he discovered a reel to reel tape with a Swiss National Radio recording of a concert in Lausanne from that very same Bill Keith tour. While Pierre's original plan for Encore only included concerts captured between 1998 and 2013, the discovery of this recording soon changed the direction of the album to look back much further across his career.
These mid-‘70s songs not only give fans a chance to hear Bensusan perform in a style that is unique from all his other solo work, but also an opportunity to hear the multiple open tunings approach he took earlier in his career. “Disc 2” begins with a set of five titles from this show including two bluegrass songs. Even die-hard fans will be amazed to hear what these tunes reveal about the direction of Pierre's playing style and career.
In 1978 Pierre began using his trademark DADGAD tuning (also known as D-modal or Celtic tuning). Over the past 35 years, he has been widely recognized as the world master of this type of tuning.
“Pierre’s work transcends the guitar itself. What he communicates are pure musical ideas—storytelling in melody, rhythm, and harmony, always creative and always inspiring.” - Tony McManus
The 2014 release of Encore by Bensusan’s own label Dadgad Music, fills a unique gap in the multi-talented performer’s discography, which dates back to his 1975 debut album Pres de Paris and in recent years includes Intuite (the American Association of Independent Music’s “Best Acoustic Album of 2002”) and his most recent studio recording Vividly (2010).
Despite headlining over 3000 shows throughout North America, Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa since the mid-‘70s, his only live performance releases have been a DVD of a live concert in San Francisco in 1996 and a duet CD of a concert in Paris with French woodwind player, and GONG founder member Didier Malherbe, Live in Paris (1997).
“Over the years I had collected dozens of recordings I had mostly never listened to,” he says. “What you have on Encore is a selection of these particular moments from various shows and different time periods. Our choices were far from haphazard. We had to let the album flow and make sense in terms of music, times and sounds. I was lucky to work with the extraordinary Rich Breen in L.A., whose work recording and engineering music for Herbie Hancock, Yellowjackets and Oregon I greatly admire. Rich brought a necessary and beautiful musical attitude to the project. We were dealing with different recording mediums and acoustic spaces and we didn’t want to touch the basic musical elements that made those performances a unique snapshot of their time. At the end of the day, as you listen to the three CDs straight through, everything comes together wonderfully and makes perfect sense.”
The final track listing, Bensusan says, was not designed in a specific chronological sequence, but in such a way as to make listeners feel they are on an emotional journey with him. “I want people to feel not as though they are at any one of the concerts these tracks are from but basically in an intimate living room setting, allowing me to take them to different musical places,” he explains.
“It starts in a quieter place and then evolves pretty quickly into a high energy affair. I would say that Encore is probably my most truthful recording ever, because the studio is not always a very dangerous place. You can stop and start again and the intimacy there is just between the artist and the music. Onstage, however, there is an urgency and a context I adapt to and I get to take people along as I take chances and have the opportunity to bring the music to a place it’s never been before. These are moments in time reflecting ways of approaching these songs that I never did before and never did again.”
Bensusan's lifelong friend and collaborator, master luthier George Lowden (www.georgelowden.com), has also begun work on a special 40th Anniversary Bensusan signature model guitar which is due for release in January 2014. The signature guitar celebrates both Pierre and George's 40th career anniversaries, a span of time over which Pierre has taken his trusty Lowden guitar (loving referred to as his 'old lady') to all the corners of the globe. His 'old lady' was put into retirement in early 2000 when Pierre's new signature model was built, a model which went on to become Lowden's best-selling signature guitar.
Lowden guitars will be teaming up to support Pierre's 40th Anniversary World tour, covering Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Paris, London, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, North America and Europe (Germany, England and Ireland) before an autumn 2014 jaunt that takes him to numerous Asian markets, including China, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and Japan.
The UK and Ireland leg of this tour kicks off in June 2014. For tour dates please visit www.pierrebensusan.com/tour
“This is really a wonderful way to go through life, traveling different places and connecting with and bringing joy to fans in various cultures,” he says. “I have always been so grateful for the support of my fans, and Encore is really for them, to share special moments from my past even as I am out there creating new ones and hopefully gaining new fans along the way. To me, Encore shows that I have spent many years maturing and evolving as a composer and guitarist, but it’s clear to me, now more than ever before, that my best work is still ahead of me.”
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