I thought I was going to be writing a piece on string virtuoso and one of my favorite players David Lindley, but Iâ€™ll save that for another day.Â 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.Â For those of you who donâ€™t know what an oud is, itâ€™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 Naserâ€™s music would best be described as organic.Â It comes from feeling and intuition.Â He plays in the moment.Â He says his music doesnâ€™t have a perspective or an opinion.Â Â It is spontaneous and it is spiritual.Â 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.Â Without a doubt in one of these recordings or performances you have heard him play, you just didnâ€™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.Â Every morning his grandfather would grind his coffee and tell stories at the same time.Â Naser says his music and sounds were first developed from listening to these stories as his grandfather made his coffee.Â 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.Â His collaboration with string master David Lindley for seven years produced what critic Paul Harrar called, â€œOne of the best jam sessions in the music business,â€ andÂ Â their album â€œLive in Tokyo,â€ was chosen by Guitar Player Magazine as one of the top 100 albums of the last decade.Â And if youâ€™re a fan of â€œWorld Music,â€ he was featured on Hamza El Dinâ€™s album â€œA Wish,â€ which topped the World Music Charts.
Hani Naserâ€™s music is about communication.Â 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.Â He collaborated with Israeli singer/songwriter David Broza and together they toured the war torn Middle East.Â They were also asked to perform by their home countries at the signing of the peace agreement between Israel and Jordan.Â Another way that Naser uses his music is by giving workshops called â€œThe Healing Powers of Rhythm and Music,â€ where he delves into the spiritual dimensions of music.Â He continues to lead these workshops at Esalen in Big Sur, CA.Â To Hani Naser, â€œevery drum has its own voice.â€Â And through his years of playing with other musicians, and connecting to people through performance, he has come to believe that â€œwe are vibrations,” and “sometime vibrations get out of sync.Â Music I have found brings back that balance.â€
To learn more about this extraordinary player, where heâ€™s touring, giving workshops, his latest recordings, go to his personal website which is listed below.Â Just cut and paste the link into your browser and explore.