Eliyahu Sills and “Qadim” return to Ashland on Sunday, July 11 at 7:30 PM in concert at the Havurah. "Qadim" means "ancient" in Hebrew and Arabic. It also means "that which will come" in both languages. It's a powerfully appropriate name for the group of musicians who work with multi-instrumentalist, Eliyahu Sills.
The group's latest album, "Eastern Wind," is an achingly beautiful blend of 12 folk songs from throughout the Middle East, with songs sung in Arabic, Hebrew, Armenian and Turkish featuring exquisite instrumental pieces, as well as others enhanced by the haunting bell-like clarity of Rachel Valfer's vocals.
The music of the respective tracts of land known as North Africa, the Middle East, and the share a great deal of common ground. Eliyahu & The Qadim Ensemble has dedicated itself to this commonality, the modes and rhythms.
Leader Eliyahu Sills has studied jazz, Indian classical, Arabic, and Turkish music, all of which embrace improvisation. Though he plays the upright (acoustic) bass and saz (a Turkish variant of the lute), Sills' main axe is the ney, a deep-toned wooden flute indigenous to a good-size chunk of the aforementioned lands. Oud (a large lute) player Rachel Valfer sings songs in Arabic, Hebrew, Armenian, and Turkish (plus a few Sills originals). The amber tone of the oud, the plaintive cry of the ney, and the cyclic percussion intertwine in sublime fashion throughout. On the up- tempo selections, the results of commingling the oud's and ney's lower ranges and the complex yet mesmerizing rhythms range from soothing to ecstatic. Some West African influence slips in via what resembles a mbira (African thumb piano). Eastern Wind is truly world music, some of the most open, human music you'll hear.
Eliyahu Sills has been studying and performing music for over 20 years. In the early 1990s, he studied the upright bass in at The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York City. In the years that followed, Eliyahu fell in love with the flute and applied the musical theory that he learned through his jazz studies to teach himself this most ancient of instruments. After falling under the spell of the music of Turkey, he became a student of both the nay, the reed flute of the Middle East, and the bansuri, the bamboo flute of India.
Eliyahu's mastery of musical styles spans the globe. He has performed and recorded vibrant music of the Middle East with Za'atar, West African folk music with the Palm Wine Boys, soul roots reggae with the Original Intentions, Latin-tinged jazz with Sparlha Swa, bluegrass- inspired beats with Ilene Adar, and revolutionary Hip-hop with Rebels Advocate.
Tickets, $12 in advance, $15 door, $10 students and free for children under 12 available at the Music Coop, 181 “A” St. in Ashland or online at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/116082