LIQUID SONGS is the latest album of Boi Akih. The core duo of vocalist Monica Akihary and guitarist-composer Niels Brouwer is joined byTobias Klein (contrabass clarinet, bass clarinet) and the Japanese classical percussionist Ryoko Imai to form a new unit.
LIQUID SONGS is inspired by the rediscovery and re-invention of ancient sacred stories from the Moluccan archipelago in the Pacific Ocean, on keeping them flowing and extending them into the present. This process forms a guide for the musical as well as the narrative elements that converge in LIQUID SONGS. Four musicians unfold the music In a totally original line-up, bringing a rich diversity of temperaments, colourings and personal experiences to bear.
The musical stories in Liquid Songs spin around, gathering strength as they spiral forward. It’s never completed because……….? Each repetition is actually different and always contains the seed of something new. It’s important to keep the story open and interesting and to strengthen it. In the end you can’t have one without the other. It’s the philosophy and cornerstone of a personal aesthetic.
In each new performance, knowledge, recognition and knowhow form the basis for the creative process, for playfully bringing together deeper sources and the imagination of the moment. Tobias Klein, Monica Akihary and Niels Brouwer were all in Bangalore at the same time, studying the age-old South Indian musical tradition with teacher Jahnavi Jayaprakash. They have a lot of experience with it in long-running projects such as Klein’s Spinifex groups and various Boi Akih incarnations. So they quickly recognize connections with this musical tradition and can lightly bring it in. Thanks to her classical and Asian background, Ryoko Imai can be fragmentary, create and add colour and expand the music. Above all she has the wonderful talent for feeling her authentic moment, for waiting for the right moments. In this she dovetails nicely with guitarist Niels Brouwer, who employs his instrument melodically, texturally and percussively. Monica Akiharay’s characteristic alto voice, with its amazing range and depth, enters into a rich exchange of colours with the deep woody sounds of bass clarinettist Tobias Klein, whose contrabass clarinet dives even deeper into the darkness of sound.
Niels Brouwer composed ‘liquid’ core melodies, Akihary wrote nine very personal texts, which serve as anchor points for the compositions and allow her voice to trace the full circle formed by the Pacific Ocean’s Melanesian region and the delta of the Dutch lowlands.
LIQUID SONGS is an artistic example of the constant whittling of identities in order to mine their deeper energy and to employ it to enrich the music, something also present in the Afro-American jazz tradition.
Niels and Monica has been working intensively since 1997. In the intervening period their music has undergone an extraordinary development.They have evolved their own musical language whereby sound and elements from various traditions take on a new meaning.
Their duo concerts are memorable events on their own. The blistering blend of Brouwer’s guitar adventures with Akihary’s charismatic personality creates “An unique sound that is intensely moving and spiced with virtuoso improvisations” (Songlines).