Pierre Bensusan on Acoustic Only October 31, 2017
Written by The Real Bruce Wayne on October 30, 2017
His influences include Big Bill Broonzy, Larry Carlton, Martin Carthy, Ry Cooder, Reverend Gary Davis, Davey Graham, Jimi Hendrix, Mississippi John Hurt, Bert Jansch, Nic Jones, Paco de Lucía, John McLaughlin, Pat Metheny, Wes Montgomery, John Renbourn, Django Reinhardt, Ralph Towner, and Doc Watson.
Bensusan uses DADGAD tuning system and electronics, such as delays, distortion, and volume pedals. He has stated that he became interested in playing in DADGAD because of its “mystical” and “romantic” quality which made him feel like he had gone back to the 16th or 17th century.
He includes scat-singing in his compositions, both composed and improvised. He has collaborated extensively with saxophonist Didier Malherbe. He performed the song “ELM” for the Cowboy Bebop soundtrack Cowboy Bebop No Disc for Yoko Kanno.
“The way the guitar would want to sound if it played itself.”
“Bensusan is very much his own animal. It’s like listening to a butterfly, to dappled sunshine coming through quaking aspens. His music flits and darts around like fish in a pool. And his compositions manage to encompass both the calmness of the pool and the flashing of the fish. It’s an entrancing, almost hypnotic thing to watch and hear, as he seems eager to share his journey, his light. I was struck by how the aim of each song was to be beautiful. Not witty, not avant-garde, not new, necessarily, but beautiful. A great craftsman plying his trade. A shepherd with his flock. As I left I felt all of a sudden that I’d been to temple after all. My own sort of temple, and by the end of the service I felt purified, cleansed, and ready for the new year.”
Nyack News and Views (USA, Dan Cohen, Oct 4, 2015)
Winner of the Independent Music Award, in the Live Performance Album category for his latest triple live album “Encore” (2014), “Rose d’Or” of the Montreux Festival for his first album, “Près de Paris” (Switzerland, 1976), “Best World Music Guitar Player ” by the readers of Guitar Player Magazine (USA, 2008), Pierre Bensusan is recognized as one of the premier musicians of our time.
If “World Music” is music that pays tribute to the spirit of a collection of human beings through distinct rhythms, traditional instruments and harmonic colors, French-Algerian guitarist, singer and composer Pierre Bensusan can be recognized as one of the most eloquent and world musicians today.
Described by the L.A. Times as “one of the most unique and brilliant acoustic guitar veterans in the world music scene today”, Pierre’s name became synonymous with contemporary acoustic guitar genius, long before the terms New Age, New Acoustic Music or World Music were invented. He has the ability to make a single guitar sound like an entire band as he brings the audience on a mesmerizing musical journey. And yet, Bensusan is more than what any musician or music lover expects from a guitarist. He is a composer as well as a bilingual and a brave improvisational vocalist, melding whistles and resonant low notes with something like his own scat technique.
There is a sense of something both playful and serious in his work, an unparalleled sense of freedom in his compositions and his improvisations. His “manner” of playing defies classification – crossing world, classical, jazz, traditional, folk and more. None can be isolated as simply “Brazilian”, “Arabic” or “French”; rather, they represent our world in its current state, a world sharing itself, fusing cultures together in ways we have never experienced. A great embassador of peace. Not to be missed!