By Angie Lemon.
Shining a light on a little-known instrument ...
RIBAB JAM is the new single from ethno-sampling adventurers Addictive TV, part of their ever-growing project Orchestra of Samples, creating new music by sampling musicians they've filmed improvising in over 30 countries so far. From the heart of the Moroccan desert, the artists bring the little-known instrument – the ribab – to a wider audience. The ribab is very important in Morocco’s Amazigh (or Berber) culture: it’s a traditional, often bejewelled single-stringed bowed instrument, with the bow usually made of horsehair. With 11 musicians sampled for RIBAB JAM, this track contains more instruments than any other in the whole Orchestra of Samples project. RIBAB JAM is a rich and rare sonic fusion: Moroccan ribab meets the African kalimba, Dominican percussion, a monk’s bell from Bhutan, Indian vocals and more.
The story of the making of RIBAB JAM is a musical microcosm of Addictive TV’s journey thus far. While performing at Agadir’s Timitar festival, the group journeyed south towards the Sahara and the old walled- town of Tiznit, to meet with musician and ribab player, Ahmed Bijdiguen. Ahmed’s improvised riff on the ribab would later become the focal point for RIBAB JAM.
As project producer Francoise Lamy says,
“We’d met and filmed Ahmed in the desert, just outside Tiznit, and similar to many recordings for the project, his session was very spontaneous, lasting only an hour or so, but just hearing his improvisations, we immediately knew we had something special!”
Addictive TV’s creative frontman, Graham Daniels explains the importance of the ribab for this project,
“We’d recorded a number of instruments in Morocco before and had always wanted to record the ribab, given its status among the Amazigh, the original indigenous people of North Africa, but hadn’t had the chance before. Its special importance is why we wanted to make it front and centre of the track.”
With the ribab at times almost sounding like a muted trumpet, the group found it blended wonderfully with calypso-influenced guitar of Luis Camacho they’d recorded some years earlier in Colombia's Caribbean port city of Cartagena, and the two samples worked perfectly with improvised vocals they had later recorded in Panjim, India with Deetshida Murali.
Graham Daniels is very definite about Addictive TV’s Orchestra of Samples project and how RIBAB JAM fits into this:
“Like doing a huge jigsaw puzzle in the dark, our vision for the project as a whole is to find samples that fit together perfectly, and with the other instruments in Ribab Jam we’ve taken the ribab to a musical space it wasn’t in before. That’s what excites us!”
Further field-recordings sampled that feature on RIBAB JAM include flute, drums, congas, west African kalimba and Dominican güira percussion scraper adding the swishy idiosyncratic vibes, before finally the whole track moves to a completely different mellow atmospheric ending with piano, celtic harp and glass pyramids percussion.
Drums in RIBAB JAM’s middle section are sampled from a session recorded with Lucas Fox, Motörhead’s original drummer, and congas in the same section are from renowned percussionist and Stomp’s Director of Rehearsals, Paul Gunter. The delicate high-pitched chimes of glass pyramids throughout the track is from an improvised session with world-famous percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie.
Orchestra of Samples is an audio/visual project where audiences can see the sampled musicians, and so far artists/producers Addictive TV have recorded nearly 300 musicians in the last ten years playing all manner of instruments. The group have been at the forefront of AV remixing for over two decades, performing their innovative live shows in over a staggering 50 countries, at events from the UK’s Glastonbury Festival and WOMAD to Italy’s RomaEuropa and SXSW in the United States. Addictive TV have created alternative trailers for a number of Hollywood studios and their work has been exhibited in New York’s Museum of Moving Image, Shanghai’s Museum of Contemporary Art and La Cité de la Musique in Paris.
Addictive TV have created a beautiful and stunning track, sampling recordings and making music that dares to be different. RIBAB JAM is being released on all major platforms on June 11, 2021.