TARAB CUTS / John Butcher

"In Arab culture, the merger between music and emotional transformation is epitomized by the concept of tarab, which may not have an exact equivalent in Western languages"
The Culture and Artistry of Tarab, Dr. A. J. Racy.

Tarab Cuts is an hour long piece commissioned by Out of the Machine (2014).
It's roots lie in Between the Skies (Peforma, 2011), a 10-minute commission for Visiting Tarab, conceived by Tarek Atoui as a modern day response to the classical Arabic music in the private collection of Kamal Kassar in Beirut. It was written for saxophone plus sound files (created through edits re-composing music from these 78s).

Tarab Cuts expands this earlier work into a concert presentation - utilising re-imaginings of many other recorded sources, and adding percussionist Mark Sanders.

Photo: Performing Between the Skies in the UAE.

Tarab Cuts has been performed at:
  Bristol New Music
  Holland Festival
  l'Auditori (Barcelona)
  London Jazz Festival
  Novas Frequencias (Rio de Janeiro)
  hcmf// in Philadelphia
and was shortlisted for the 2014 British Composer Awards.

Whilst it takes inspiration from early classical Arabic music and Sufi music it is not an attempt to copy these musics.
It is an interaction across decades and cultures that throws an intriguing light on the contemporary musical practice of Butcher and Sanders. A meeting of distant voices with their own, in pursuit of both common and unfamiliar ground.

WIRE | Counterflows interview | Point of Departure | 5:4

John Butcher: composition, saxophones, sound-files
Mark Sanders: percussion

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1st extract (2:49)

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2nd extract (1:42)

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3rd extract (3:10)

Photo: Tarab Cuts, Bristol New Music, Arnolfini.