LAND OF KUSH SHARE NEW TRACK “TREMA (EDIT)” FEATURING NADAH EL SHAZLY
NEW ALBUM: SAND ENIGMA RELEASED VIA CONSTELLATION ON NOV 8TH
Land Of Kush, the large orchestra assembled and directed by one of Montreal’s most unique and prolific composers and musicians Sam Shalabi, shall release the fourth album, Sand Enigma on November 8th via Constellation. Today they share a new track,”Trema“, featuring lyrics and vocals by acclaimed Cairo artist Nadah El Shazly, who has garnered strong international praise over the past couple of years (including a Wire cover story in 2018). Nadah’s vocals, sung in Arabic, weave into a tapestry of dynamic rhythms and cascading melodies crafted by Land Of Kush bandleader Sam Shalabi and brought to life by the ensemble’s deft musicianship.
Sand Enigma is a culmination and consolidation of various musical themes, threads, relationships, and friendships between Montreal and Cairo. The current version of the ensemble now features two of Shalabi’s closest musical collaborators in Egypt: the aforementioned Nadah El Shazly (vocals) and Maurice Louca (keyboards/electronics), plus Adham (Eddie) Zidan, a producer and musician Shalabi works with regularly in Cairo. The ensemble also picked up new members from North America (including guitarist Vicky Mettler, saxophonist Adam Kinner, santur player Amir Amiri, cellist Mark Molnar, harpist Sarah Pagé, and vocalist Maya Kuroki) along with longtime Kush contributors Jason Sharp, Dave Gossage, Josh Zubot, Pat Conan, and Liz Lima. Together, the ensemble has opened up a new sonic palette and brought life to Sand Enigma: the most complex, nuanced, and ambitious composition to date for Land Of Kush.
Sam Shalabi performs constantly on electric guitar and oud, with regular appearances in numerous jazz and free improv ensembles, membership in a kaleidoscope of avant rock bands, and at the compositional helm of various musical assemblages large and small. Shalabi has released dozens of albums over the years under his own name, with Shalabi Effect (on Alien8 Recordings), and as a member of The Dwarfs Of East Agouza, Karkhana, Jane And The Magic Bananas, and Moose Terrific. He also has ongoing projects with Nadah El Shazly, Maurice Louca, Matana Roberts, Brahja Waldman, Radwan Moumneh, Oren Ambarchi, Tamara Filyavich, Eric Chenaux, and many others. As a collaborator, he has worked on albums with Jerusalem In My Heart and served as an arranger, producer, and musician on Nadah El Shazly’s debut album Ahwar. In addition to the genre-defying compositions for larger ensembles captured on his eponymous albums, Shalabi has also mounted several live performances and commissioned compositions for hybrid orchestras that have gone largely undocumented.
Land Of Kush is among the most ambitious and impressive of Shalabi’s projects: the group involves over 20 musicians and two dozen different instruments, including a cluster of strings, horns and woodwinds, joined by bass, guitar, piano, santur, darbouka, oud, electronics, and synths, as well as multiple vocalists and percussionists. They have performed a handful of mesmerizing shows in Montréal over the past ten years, premiering six different hour-long works over that period. Three of these were recorded in studio at the invitation of Constellation and subsequently released in 2009 (Against The Day), 2010 (Monogamy), and 2013 (The Big Mango).
The first performance of 2020 has recently been announced, as Land Of Kush have been invited to perform at Roskilde Festival in June/July next year.
Sand Enigma tracklisting: