PARIS (XX March 2020): After spending the last few years off the concert trail in order to meticulously craft a new album, “Azwan,” preceded by an accompanying book, “Pierre Bensusan Guitar Collection,” all of which will be supported by an extensive UK and Irish concert tour running in November. Earlier on, world music fingerstyle guitar colossus Pierre Bensusan was to support these new releases with a 110 concert tour in the US & Canada, to suddenly find himself back home on French soil after having to pull the plug one week into the concert trek due to the Coronavirus outbreak. While the entire tour is being rebooked for 2021. listeners have discovered the magic and masterful musicianship showcased on the 12-track digital and CD release composed and coproduced by Bensusan & French Jazz guitar legend Jean-Marie Ecay for his 3DADGAD Vision label, which is distributed by MVD Entertainment Group.
‘Azwan’ is probably just what is needed now, beautiful music resonating joyously, providing some respite from the tension of these times. Like good wine, the arist focus, distilled, and as always with such a big, huge heart. Happiness, melancholy, size and intimacy. ‘Azwan’ feels very dense, with melodic themes and ideas that develop in his own inimitable style. The mark of a great album when you know you have to listen to it over and over. A very beautiful and successful triumph, an amazing work of art, emotional, delicate, playful and moving. In short, music that touches people in a profound way.
The COVID-19 global pandemic that has ensnared humanity underscores the oneness of our world and our interlocked connectivity. That’s Bensusan’s message and the meaning behind “Azwan,” the award-winning artist’s 15th album that dropped March 13. The French-Algerian guitarist-vocalist said, “Along my life’s journey, I have experienced unity off and on, being more or less aware of the impact and influence of every action upon the entire universe. As time goes on, the more I feel connected to all people, animals and universally to the whole of nature. Being that we are all connected, my intention is that every action and behavior contributes, supports and adds value to our interconnectivity, especially through my music. It feels like a nurturing or even a healing process for me and those with whom I share the music.”
Voted by Guitar Player magazine readers as Best World Music Guitarist, Bensusan’s music is contemplative, wistful, sublime and prodigiously performed with inspiration rooted in nature. “The concept of ‘Azwan’ came from observing bees, those solar insects working in the darkness together as one, and by observing flocks of birds flying and dancing together as one. It has been an inspiring symbolic representation of the continuum of music. When seeing ‘Azwan’ written, it can evoke a place, a city or a mood, but when hearing it said out loud, it sounds like ‘as one.’ I’ve been contemplating all the music from ‘Azwan’ for years before actually recording it, taking time to allow all the notes to come together as one.”
Bensusan is a storyteller, using expressive and lyrical acoustic guitar parlance and ethereal vocalization to allure, transfix and transport. “‘Azwan’ is primarily a solo instrumental album on which the guitar is conceived as an orchestra, delivering melody, bass, chords and counterpoint in the same space. To it, we add some vocal elements and several collaborations with guest musicians,” said Bensusan who has lived in Paris since age four.
Teaching himself to play guitar at age eleven after four years of piano training, Bensusan inked his first record deal when he was 17, winning the Rose d’Or at the Montreux Festival for his 1975 debut album, “Près de Paris.” More recently, he won an Independent Music Award in 2014 for “Encore: Live,” a triple live record. He’s regarded as one of the greatest acoustic guitar players of the 21st century, known for his immense sound vocabulary utilizing hues of world music, new age, jazz, classical, traditional, folk and pop with French, Arabic, Latin and Celtic cultural references. None can be isolated, they represent Pierre’s genuine vocabulary and the best part of our world in its current state, a world sharing itself.