What happens when two Buddhists and a Muslim meet to make music?
Country and Eastern.
Jazz. World. Jam.
Music to help you Pray For Brain.
This is not your auntie's world music band, nor your uncle's country twang, nor your grandad's jazz vinyl.
Think 70s era Miles Davis, Chet Atkins and late Coltrane playing with the White Stripes and Isaac Hayes on a Calcutta rooftop with a bird's eye view to Morocco.
Johnny Cash and Bengali icon Rabrindranath Tagore may sit in, too.
As Sama Duo, Mustafa Stefan Dill (guitars, oud) and Jefferson Voorhees (drums) brought a telepathic level of interplay to their groove-oriented energetic improvisations, delivered with a gutsy south Asian and Middle Eastern twist.
One fan wrote, "I love Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Indian classical music and Zeppelin and improv jazz, and your music was hitting all of those buttons in my brain at once."
With the addition of upright bassist Christine Nelson and retooled as Pray For Brain,the trio expands the range of groove, nuance and improvising conversations. The music is simultaneously lighter but deeper, easier to hear and harder to shake off.
Pray For Brain binds their diverse musical influences into a unified, coherent soundscape: skillful writing frames artful, telepathic dialogues that draw on a deep core of both cutting-edge and ancient improvising methods from India, Africa and the Middle East. The trio offers their voice with an energetic finesse wrapped in a rhythmically-driven, wide-ranging rock/funk/country/jazz ethos.
The group is planning Asian and European dates for 2015.
In December 2014, the group expanded and evolved yet again with the addition of special guest Brahim Fribgane, on second oud and percussion, subject to his availability.
He adds a remarkable chemistry and level of interplay to an already highly interactive group, and the band is very excited to have him on board.
Who is Pray For Brain?
Mustafa Stefan Dill (guitars, oud)
was born in New Mexico to a Mexican mother and German-Irish father. His mutli-national and cross-cultural childhood experiences include strong memories with Lebanese relatives in Mexico and formative years in the culturally diverse city of Montpellier, France.
His initial music - an intense and unique convergence of traditional flamenco and Middle Eastern elements and modern free improvisation - won critical praise with recordings such as Warning Clothed in Bright Robes of Dawn, Sangre Del Rio and Six Peaces (his debut on the oud), paving the way for his hallmark approach of combining modern and traditional improvising techniques within a deep immersion of various cultural musical traditions.
A guitarist for over 30 years, he earned a Masters degree in composition from the New England Conservatory in Boston, studying with Joe Maneri.
He has performed in solo concerts throughout Europe since 1992 in both improvised music and guitar circles at such venues and festivals as FMP's Total Music Meeting, Wirral Guitar Festival, Paderborn Guitar Festival, Zuid Nederlands Jazz Festival, Festival HispanoAmericano de la Guitarra, Erlbach, Nickelsdorf, and others.
Christine Nelson (bass) recently returned to her native Albuquerque after time in the Idaho and Washington state music scenes.
After years on classical and gypsy jazz guitar, Christine adopted bass as her main instrument in 2007 and has played for many groups in the Northwest and Southwest USA, such as United Roots, Quality Retreads, Pray For Brain, and others.
Jefferson Voorhees (drums) is a life-long drummer whose career has included touring and playing across North America, Europe and South Asia with artists such as the Tom Guralnick Trio, Out of Context, Mary Gauthier and others.
His time spent in India studying music and percussion (as well as his work with Iraqi oudist Rahim Alhaj) adds some particularly unique qualifications for the project, making Pray For Brain a perfect vehicle for Jefferson's unerring, distinct musicality and intense focus.
After long residences in New York and San Francisco, he now resides in New Mexico and is one of the region's most versatile and sought after percussionists.
He and Mustafa have been playing together in one band or another for nearly two decades.
Recurring guest: Brahim Fribgane (oud, percussion)
Born and raised in Morocco, Brahim Fribgane brings to his music the rich and varied musical styles he grew up with - North African, Gnawa, Berber, Arabic and Andalusian music.
He has performed with Peter Gabriel, Paula Cole, Adam Rudolph, Hindi Zahra, Dr. L. Subramaniam, Hassan Hakmoun, Club d'Elf, Sami Yusuf, Will Calhoun, , Zakir Hussein, Giovanni Hidalgo, Hamid Drake, Selva Ganesh, Steve Gorn, Larry Coryell, Reggie Workman, Hubert Laws, Corey Segal, Adam Deitch, Pete Seeger , Peter Yarrow, Amit Chattergee, Medeski Martin & Wood, to name a few.