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 diverse world musicians of our time.
Born in Oran, French-Algeria, in 1957, when France was decolonizing its Empire, Pierre Bensusan's family moved to Paris when he was 4. He began formal studies on piano at the age of 7 and at 11 taught himself guitar. Influenced in those early days by the folk revival blooming in Britain, France and North America, Bensusan began first to explore his own diverse musical heritage and then moved to the horizons beyond.
At 17 he signed his first recording contract, and one year later his first album Pres de Paris won the Grand Prix du Disque upon his debut at the Montreux Festival in Switzerland.
Described by the L.A. Times as "one of the most unique and brilliant acoustic guitar veterans in the world music scene today", Pierre Bensusan was voted "Best World Music Guitar Player in 2008" by Guitar Player Magazine Readers Choice. His 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.
"An artist of superlative imagination and technical skill, who has produced just about the best testimonial yet for the remarkable range of the acoustic guitar." - Acoustic Music
Pierre Bensusan' s sound and style confounds classification. It is profoundly original. His fingerprint is on it whether it is found in his earlier folk and Celtic-based renderings, his free-form improvisational material, or in settings, solo or ensemble. Undoubtedly, a word association game among guitarists would yield the instantaneous response, "DADGAD," at the mention of Pierre's name. Although DADGAD is Pierre's "standard" tuning, he would rather his audiences forgot about that particular detail.
His music reaches far beyond the idiom of a guitar played in a non-standard tuning. "I don't look at music as being made for a specific instrument," says Pierre. "Music is more sounds than any particular instrument. The guitar just happens to be the mechanical transposition of the music. The important thing about making music - whether it's played on the piano, bass or saxophone - is what do you do with all the musical ingredients you use. It's how you paint with those colors. It's what you express. It's something that is beyond the notes, beyond the simple idea of one sound related to one place in one time. The notes are the same all around the world, but the way you put notes together must be something very personal -- your own story"
Titles include: Hekimoglu, Le Lendemain de la Fete, La Danse du Capricorne, The Return From Fingal, Voyage For Ireland, The Rakish Paddy, Heman Dubh, Maurice In Wonderland, Climats Doux et Temp'r's and Merrily Kissed The Quaker
90 minutes - Level 3/4 - Detailed tab/music PDF file on the DVD
Review: If you want to learn how to play the guitar, you might as well learn from the best. Pierre Bensusan, one of the key promoters of DADGAD tuning, takes you on a gentle instructional excursion through his unique sound and playing style in Volumes One and Two. You'll learn about Pierre's unique approach to playing the instrument (if he can hum it, he can play it) and how he manages to make his fingers fly over the fret-board (practice, practice). Of interest is his disclosure of how he spent years studying classical piano and how that has influenced his guitar playing.
The teaching instruction is top-quality with lots of close-ups of the necessary finger and chord positions. Bensusan is a fascinating storyteller who quickly charms and relaxes the viewer with stories of his early days as a struggling young guitarist. He spends time discussing his own philosophy of music appreciation, and shares insights on how he listens to other instruments and then tries to incorporate their "colors" into his own special sound. Bensusan is a lively performer and teacher, and these videos will certainly be of interest to any guitarist wishing to work in DADGAD tuning. Both volumes come with study booklets that contain all of the music in tablature format. Some of the songs taught in these volumes are "Suite Flamed," "Nice Feeling," "Flamorgan Aire," "La Femme Cambree," "Shi Bhig Shi Mhor," "Voyage for Ireland," "Merrily Kissed the Quaker," "Hekimoglu," "The Rakish Paddy," "Heman Dubh," and "Maurice in Wonderland."
Also of interest is Bensusan's performance at the Freight and Salvage Coffeehouse in 1995, videotaped by Vestapol (Pierre Bensusan in Concert). Seventy-five minutes of Bensusan's glorious and evocative music is presented in front of a hushed audience of fans. Tunes include "Wu Wei," "The Last Pint," "Four A.M.," "Montsegur and Around the Day in 80 Worlds," "La Femme Cambree," "Bamboule," "Agadiramadan," "Cordilliere," and "Slow Air." - Dirty Linen