Pierre Bensusan


"Each of us can recall a special voice that moves us to emotion, inspires our imagination and enriches our soul. For acoustic music aficionados across the world, that voice is Pierre Bensusan’s singular guitar sound. Passionate, graceful and lyrical, Bensusan’s approach tells tales as beautifully, and descriptively, as any master storyteller."
Anil Prasad (USA)

2002 AFIM Award for Best Acoustic Instrumental Album (USA)
Guitar Album of the Year fROOTS (UK)
Album of the Week JOURNAL DE MONTREAL (Canada)
Ein wahres Juwel OWL AM SONNTAG (Germany
Bravo!!! TRAD MAG (France)

"Intuite stands as the finest, most artistic and passionate example of anything composed and recorded on the instrument. I am amazed at every phrase, every turn, every nuance. But then again, consider the source! I couldn't mean that more... you can quote me."
John Schroeter, Fingerstyle Guitar Magazine (USA)

"Lord in Heaven, what beauty. It’s been some years since I heard a record by this consummate French-Algerian artist, and I was instantly reminded of his unique place in the pantheon of fingerstyle guitar. Breathtaking. Bensusan opens up a chasm between himself and the rest of the great acoustic guitarists that is even deeper than it is wide."
Puremusic.com (USA)

"Pierre Bensusan manages to be both lyrical, quiet, dynamic, and virtuosic all at the same time. No serious lover of solo acoustic guitar music can consider their collection complete without a copy of Intuite."
Vintage Guitar (USA)

"Bensusan has long been one of the MVP’s that hasn’t been on the front line but has maintained a with-it cult that keeps growing. This is the ace guitarist’s first solo date and it wasn’t done because he couldn’t get anyone to play with him. This is a picker that Leo Kottke says gives him the chills. Wildly amazing solo guitar that is not to be missed."
Midwest Record Recap (USA)

"Listen to one of his albums or experience him live, and you’ll be left amazed. While strictly solo and acoustic in nature, Bensusan’s new album Intuite still showcases the depth and breadth of this man’s artistry. The playing here is so fluid and rich that you forget he is playing a mere six string guitar."

The philadelphia Daily News (USA)

"This French-Algerian guitarist revered as the godfather of sophisticated six-string music, has garnered the kind of reputation for excellence that most musicians merely dream of. Intuite sees him fusing with the essence of the music yet again, characterised as much by the silence as the sound, with an acrobatic agility, and with the knowing comfort of the polymath who can capture the most complex of chords in his sleep. Intuite is a must, an all-too rare opportunity to breathe deep in this gentlest of musician’s magic."
Siobhan Long, The Irish Times (Ireland)

"Spellbinding ... Bensusan the composer challenges Bensusan the guitarist with a dozen compositions displaying a reach never before attempted by a solo guitarist...and succeeds in creating a masterpiece. Destined to be at the top of any shortlist of the great solo guitar albums of this or any millennium! Far beyond technical brilliance, this is the work of a mature artist expressing a range of emotions through his hands and an acoustic guitar, that run the gambit from heartbreakingly romantic to edgy and dangerously exciting."
James Jensen, AcousticMusic Resources.com (USA)

"Resonating with humble, quiet brillance, Bensusan's intricate fingerwork and cross-genre inspiration presaged what is now widely known as world music. It's the perfect sound to accompany sun light as it streams through your window."
Encore/Wilmington (USA)

"A dazzling solo odyssey."
 The Irish Examiner (Ireland)

"French guitarist Pierre Bensusan effortlessly summons up wave after wave of emotion on his 9th album. Like many master craftsmen, it’s not so much what Bensusan does on these instrumentals - the all-over-the-place joy of Kadourimdou, the ragged ambling of Bourrée Voltige, - but what he doesn’t do: the spaces left between passages of the title track and La Hora Española, that elevate him to a higher level. Throughout the eleven tracks of Intuite, Bensusan creates a world of calm reflection that ultimately leads to one of greater action."
Eyes (USA)

Pierre Bensusan doesn't play songs on guitar. He twists, turns, pulls, and pushes songs. He stretches melodies to their limits and comes back for more. He finds his own inner voice in a song, defines it, and makes it uniquely his own. Anyone hearing Pierre play knows right away to whom he is listening. For his latest release, "Intuite", Bensusan has stripped away some of the overdubbing of previous recordings to give us just him and his guitar - but oh, what guitar! He takes us on a 6-string journey through his mind's eye to the lands of Ireland, France, the Middle East, and back again. The title cut, "Intuite", is dedicated to the great Arab Oud player Munir Bachir, and I had to stop to make sure at times he wasn't plucking that ancient gut-stringed precursor to our guitar. "Bourree Voltige" is an electric exercise exhibiting both his right and left hand technique, but not losing the melody for the sake of showmanship. "L'Alchimiste" is perhaps the most straight-forward piece of the CD, with a flowing, gentle melody. The opening track, "Kadourimdou", finds Bensusan showing his varied influences within one landscape, but highlights his remarkable command of the instrument and improvisational skills like a jazz master. He weaves a subtle but beautiful melody in "So Long Michael", a nod to the late Michael Hedges which reminds us of his genius as well. The CD closes with the lovely "Silent Passenger", a refreshing dessert to this fine 11-course meal of musical feasting. Having loved his music for years, I think "Intuite" is some of his best work yet.
Kirk Albrecht, Minor7th website

There is no doubt that Pierre Bensusan is one of the most talented guitarists alive today. In an age where kids worship a six-string axeman who can play ten thousand notes a second, Bensusan takes a more melodic approach to his playing. Can he play fast? Sure... but he makes each note count for something.

Yet there is something slightly unsatisfying about Intuite, his latest disc (and first entirely solo acoustic release). Maybe it's because I first became familiar with Bensusan's guitar work as part of a collective of Celtic fingerstyle guitarists, and I expect almost anything he does to be in that vein. Yet even when he deviates into more modern styles of composition, he still shows he's one of the best out there in his genre.

It was hard for me to get past the muted tones on the strings in the opening of "Kadourimdou," the first track on Intuite. While Bensusan does move into fancy fingerwork, this particular effort almost feels like he's trying a little too hard to break out of a traditional sound and into one occupied by artists like David Pritchard, Doug Smith, Leo Kottke and, to an extent, Earl Klugh. (There are moments on Intuite that remind me of Klugh's Solo Guitar effort.) Still others, such as the title track, I'm still not positive just what Bensusan was trying to accomplish with the music, but it doesn't quite click for me like many of his other works have. "Intuite" almost sounds Oriental at times, as if Bensusan was trying to capture the power of Japanese music in his own unique style.

But Bensusan does not abandon a more traditional tone completely; tracks like "The Welsh Arrow" and the absolutely beautiful track "L'alchimiste" are so overpowering that the listener may feel like they're being transferred to another time in some far away land. And there are other tracks, such as "So Long Michael," which one can only imagine the emotion behind. (The track is dedicated to Michael Hedges, who was tragically killed in a car accident in 1997.)

Despite some of my misgivings, Intuite has some brilliant moments on it. "Bourrée Voltige" is lovely beyond words, showing the listener just how powerful the acoustic guitar can be. Likewise, "En Route From Scarborough" (which works in some moments from the traditional song) puts a new twist on a familiar piece of music and presents it in a way that no one could have ever dreamed of beforehand.

Sure, there are moments on Intuite when one has to wonder just what Bensusan is trying to accomplish, and whether he met his unspoken goals. But for each of these moments, there are several others which offer much more insight into the musical mind of the six-string genius. Intiute is a challenging listen at times, but it's a challenge well worth taking.
Christopher Thelen, Dalyvault.com website

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