WAHID concert review
Wahid is a duo made up of Chris Wabich on frame drums and Dimitris Mahlis on oud. This innovative Middle Eastern/North African music reminds me of duelling guitars where one musician plays a few notes on his oud and the other answers back on his frame drums. The music is very relaxing and takes you to another dimension creating a sense of timeless ness and floating in mid air.
The piece entitled Inside Silence in particular is extremely enticing as it takes you away on a journey of discovery and dreams. The mixture of the Middle East and North Africa is entwined within these two instruments and incredibly, with the expertise and precision of the two musicians, there is no end to the depth of feeling they put into their music. I was quite bowled over by their musical cohesion and style when listening to them in the past and was enthused by this choice of pieces in the concert
Dimitris Mahlis was born in Greece and in his compositions as well as in his playing, he mingles different cultures together producing a fantastic end result of Greek, Persian, Carnatic and Western jazz. He expresses these traditions from different countries expertly through his oud. Apart from the oud, Dimitris plays many other string instruments as well as being a composer. He has been trained in both Eastern and Western musical systems. He has an original style which is popularly known as soulful. He is currently studying with another oudist, Ustad Necati Celi, from Istambul, Turkey. Some of his recent recordings include Huun Huur Tu, Lal Meri, Vino, O Samanos and Jostejoo. His music has also been used in a documentary and also on the soundtrack of the film Argo.
Chris Wabich is renowned for creating the first bass frame drum set for WAHID. Through his frame drum he conveys a sense of rhythm and harmonizes his music together with Dimitris Mahlis on oud. Known as a sensitive and original musician, Chris is very versatile. He played in stage productions as well as being a music director. He founded the group Sketchy Black Dogs in New York City and has recorded with many other famous singers and artists. His recording credits also include TV shows.
Together as a duo, Dimitris Mahlis and Chris Wabich play an unhurried meltdown of Turkish/Greek music which is very appealing to the senses. The rhythm is a slow tempo and the beat is daunting. The music is low pitch and the melody is very exciting and interesting. It harmonizes well with a profound sense of well-being. The design and structure play around one another where one musician plays a piece allowing the other musician to share this musical experience with him and ultimately with us; the captured audience. The expression is one of deep contented concentration with a slow tempo and therefore creates a calming effect. The articulation between the two musicians is perfect.
When I opted to attend this concert, I had no idea what sort of experience I was in for. Throughout the concert there was a deafening silence while we were totally engrossed in the music which only ended when it erupted into a thunderous applause at the end of every piece. I must say that from this experience I definitely came away (in the words of Eddie Vedder) A Better Man.