through her story
showing him the bridges of sound
Telling him tales
A mixture of genes and Round Midnights
Explaining the constellations and how they sound like
How to travel between them the heart on the hand
By her hand he took her
On a camel ride between the deserts of loneliness
and the one of freedom
Over the quarter tones and the broken beats
Drinking from the Milky Way
Eating from the one and thousand nights”
Today, many musicians around the world are exploring the fusion of musical cultures, yet Myriade charts new territory.
“Two pianos are plenty rare in an acoustic rhythm-and-roots group, world music band, avant-garde jazz combo, or “new music” improvisational ensemble. In an Arabic improvisational outfit this arrangement is heretofore unheard of. Yet Myriade, led by dual grand pianists Ramzi Moufarej and Frédérique Trunk, as well as oud, saz, nay player and classical flautist Bassam Saba…doesn’t leave its Levantine roots behind.” (Mitch Ritter, Dirty Linen, Folk & World Music, October/November, 2001, p. 59)
In searching for a way to combine traditional Middle Eastern instruments with the piano, pianist Ramzi Moufarej had previously worked with Bassam Saba in a first attempt to capture the sound that became the main concept of Myriade.
In a different musical spectrum, a four-hand piano jam between Moufarej and Frédérique quickly transformed itself into a two piano project. The special timbre of two pianos and the combination of their very different musical personalities opened up a vast new horizon of discoveries. To their own amazement, they found themselves intuitively complementing one another, using their classical backgrounds and their keen interest in American Jazz improvisation while finding inspiration in the musical traditions of their respective countries, Lebanon and France.
Myriade was born when Bassam, Frédérique and Ramzi combined their previous sonic explorations to form a trio. The new sound created by the soulful nay floating above the lush fluidity of the two pianos inspired them to expand the experiment and Myriade’s musical adventure began.
Myriade made their first recording in summer 1997 accompanied by Japanese, multi-talented, drummer/percussionist, Satoshi Takeishi. In October 1998, internationally acclaimed percussionist, Jamey Haddad joined them in several memorable concerts in Morocco as part of the “Travels in Sound” music festival. Subsequent to their tour, they decided to enhance Myriade’s texture with the addition of the cello. The virtuoso cellist, Jonas Tauber, whose varied musical career includes many styles of music (written and improvised), embraced the project and provided the exquisite tone they were searching for. In 1999, drummer/percussionist Todd Isler added his unique palette of colors to the sound of Myriade.
This completed Myriade’s evolution as a quintet and their CD “Soukoun” is a testimony of their journey.
Marcel Khalife’s liner notes (translated from Arabic):
“One cannot ignore the element of love in Myriade’s music, when it approaches the depth of life and the energy of freedom. It emerges sincere to its nature, when the eastern warmth of the nay, the oud and the saz and the western technique of the two pianos, the cello and the percussion all embrace in a beautiful and courageous dynamic. The delicate playing of the melodies and rhythms is like playing with taboo senses. There are no more boundaries between memory and imagination.”