Daily Tune On – Hani Naser Music Master for Peace

I thought I was going to be writing a piece on string virtuoso and one of my favorite players David Lindley, but I’ll save that for another day.  Instead I want to write today about an extraordinary Jordanian musician with whom David Lindley has collaborated, and who is both a master oud player and a master percussionist.  For those of you who don’t know what an oud is, it’s a fretless string instrument with a bowl like back and usually 11 strings, five sets of two strings paired in the same tuning and an eleventh string which is separate and tuned low.

Hani Naser’s music would best be described as organic.  It comes from feeling and intuition.  He plays in the moment.  He says his music doesn’t have a perspective or an opinion.   It is spontaneous and it is spiritual.  Known by many musicians Hani Naser has played with the likes of Jackson Brown, Bonnie Raitt, Ry Cooder, Jim Keltner, Steve Miller, Los Lobos, The Violent Femmes, Don Henley, Jennifer Warnes, Israeli singer/songwriter David Broza, Paco De Lucia, Santana, Quick Silver Messenger Service, John Hyatt, Warren Zevon, Ruben Blades, Lou Reed, Blind Boys of Alabama, David Lindley, and many other great performers.  Without a doubt in one of these recordings or performances you have heard him play, you just didn’t know who it was.

Growing up in the hills of Jordan he likes to tell a story about his grandfather who was the village poet.  Every morning his grandfather would grind his coffee and tell stories at the same time.  Naser says his music and sounds were first developed from listening to these stories as his grandfather made his coffee.  Hearing the words float over this sound and the rhythmic crunching of the coffee created the texture from which he built his career as a musician.  His collaboration with string master David Lindley for seven years produced what critic Paul Harrar called, “One of the best jam sessions in the music business,” and   their album “Live in Tokyo,” was chosen by Guitar Player Magazine as one of the top 100 albums of the last decade.  And if you’re a fan of “World Music,” he was featured on Hamza El Din’s album “A Wish,” which topped the World Music Charts.

Hani Naser’s music is about communication.  He is an active participant in using music to help bridge differences between people and countries, and as a force to help bring about peace.  He collaborated with Israeli singer/songwriter David Broza and together they toured the war torn Middle East.  They were also asked to perform by their home countries at the signing of the peace agreement between Israel and Jordan.  Another way that Naser uses his music is by giving workshops called “The Healing Powers of Rhythm and Music,” where he delves into the spiritual dimensions of music.  He continues to lead these workshops at Esalen in Big Sur, CA.  To Hani Naser, “every drum has its own voice.”  And through his years of playing with other musicians, and connecting to people through performance, he has come to believe that “we are vibrations,” and “sometime vibrations get out of sync.  Music I have found brings back that balance.”

To learn more about this extraordinary player, where he’s touring, giving workshops, his latest recordings, go to his personal website which is listed below.  Just cut and paste the link into your browser and explore.


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