Pierre Bensusan

Press Release

Alfredo De Pietra:
It may seem strange (I know your music since your first LP), but even if you are known since years as one of the best acoustic guitarists around, this seems to me your first "solo guitar" album. How did you arrive to this point?...even more, after a large using of electronic devices?

Pierre Bensusan:
I've almost always used the vocal element in most of my recordings, as I do in concerts, also left opened the possibility to build tunes with several tracks of re-recording and invite guest to play with me. With Intuite, it was the right time to do a complete solo and instrumental album and all the music was constructed and thought out following this basic concept.

Why Intuite? What's the sense of the title?

PB: Intuite derives from a spin on the word "intuition" unique to South France. It describes the gift that allows a musician to instinctively direct and act on his creative impulse. I also like to use as often as possible short titles which will or will not make sense in different languages. Nobody knew what "Solila?" meant, it was still a very adequate title.

Your popularity, at least here in Italy, is mostly connected someway to "Celtic guitar", but in this CD we can hear lots of influences: Spain, Celtic, Latin-American...Could you tell us more about your musical "paths", I mean: where your music is actually going to?

PB: Wherever I go, I always try to look for the commun denominator between me and the place and people I visit. Whatever I listen and enjoy is also filtered and enriches my musical vocabulary and understanding of what is music about, and how it should be served and handled. Musicians and people I meet, their feedback are another source of inspiration. I aim to translate my emotions and perception of life into a music that I would play in my own way, not predictable but yet familiar and different in it's form and intensity. I am also imagining that, we, human beiings, are as beautiful and well meaning that what music vehicles at its best. I look at myself as a guitarist, composer and a singer, and at times a side man who loves collaborating and inter-acting with other musicians. I am vividely well aware of today's music trands and gendres but keep andgrow my own inspiration. And obviously there are lots of different ways to declinate all these into a multi-colour way.

Anything you like to say about your musical beginnings and influences.

PB: The first time I played in public was in May 68 while my 2 sisters were demonstrating in Paris and throwing stones onto the CRS (police). I was 11 and playing piano in front of a jury, at le concours Leopold Bellan, was a terrifying experience all together, much more than demonstrating in the streets. I played guitar on stage the first time in Nantes, at "le Bateau Lavoir" when I was 14. I remember that I played a song by David Crosby, called "Triad" which was a philosophic outlook at why can't we look at a "menage a trois" with a bit more grace and natural. At that time, I was hardly understanding the English lyrics of the songs I was singing, but it was an excellent way to get the language down, much more exciting that college which I quet as soon as I could when I was 16. I did my first album "Pr?s de Paris" one year later and won "Le Grand Prix du Disque" at the Montreux Festival in Switzerland with it. After that, lots has happened and I must have played at least 1500 concerts...

Your name is widely known as connected to the particular DADGAD tuning. What does it mean for you to play in this tuning instead of a standard tuning? In other words, in what measure are altrnate tunings important in your music?

PB: I use DADGAD Tuning since 1975 and I believe to be partly responsible for the spreading out of this tuning among the Irish guitar and celtic guitar communities in Ireland, in UK and in North America. This beeing said, I came to the conclusion that the tuning is not the most crucial element, the inspiration, the ideas, the organisation and architecture of the music, the feel, the grove, etc. are the keys. That tuning helped me to articulate, have maybe more fun and understand what I had inside that wanted to come out, but sincerely, I could have very well achieved different things in standard tuning and be as happy in the process. Maybe I am saying this because I don't even notice any more that I am playing in a different tuning. So, wether people use it more or not, what's relevant is what they do with it, and as long as you don't step deep into and study it, you will end up playing superficial stuff all sounding alike with no headroom to developp and become spontaneous with it. But every phase is a much enjoyable one, the trick is to not stay too long into a confort zone but always move on to the next.

Apart from this acoustic CD, are there any projects developing to different musical situations (groups, collaborations and so on...)?

PB: I just played 12 concerts in the USA with 3 other guitarists and composers: Paulo Bellinati (from Brazil), Andrew York (USA-who plays in the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet) and Brian Gore (USA) in the International Guitar Night concert serie. Every show was a sell out and we had lots of fun playing duets and quartets, we'll do it again and possibly record something. I have collaborated lately with hand drummer, Bobby Thomas (Weather Report), Keyboardist Jordan Ruddess (The Dream theater), wind instrumentalist and Gong founder member Didier Malherbe + many more and obviously, I am always going from solo works to duet, trios and more collaborations. I love guitar duets, trios and quartets and also accompanying.

Please tell us something about this collaboration with Steve Vai for Intuite.

PB: As most electric players, Steve is an acoustic guitar nuts. MY US administrator knew someone working for the label distributing Steve's label (Favored Nations) in the USA. Finally a cd was sent to steve who responded immediately, signed me and became one of my biggest fans. The future is wide open in terms of collaboration between the different people working for this label: Steve Vai, Eric Johnson, Frank Gambale, Larry Carlton and Steve Lukather, Dweezil Zappa, Stuart Hamm, Allan Holdsworth, Gregg Bissonette, Robin DiMaggio, Chad Wackerman, Andy Timmons, Bill Sheehan... and many doors have opened up since.

You choose The Welsh Arrow to present you CD to the Italian public. Any hope to have you here in Italy in concert?

PB: I have no idea when I will return to Italy to perform, hopefully in 2002-2003. It's a strange country to play but one of my favourits. It's hard to get a tour and a really serious and motivated agent.

Thanks a lot for your time and your answers, Pierre! Intuite is a great CD. I'll write all the best. A big CIAO! from Sicily

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