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Pierre Bensusan

Pierre Bensusan


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Pierre Bensusan

Master Fingerstyle Guitarist

Saturday, June 9, 7:30 pm
$20 advance $22 door, $25 priority

French-Algerian master fingerstyle guitarist, Pierre Bensusan returns to northern Arizona for the USA portion of his current world tour this month at Old Town Center for the Arts in Cottonwood. Offering some of the finest fingerstyle guitar music on the planet, Bensusan will perform Saturday, June 9 at 7:30 p.m. in this most intimate setting.

With techniques and tunings that have influenced two generations of fingerstyle guitarists and singer / songwriters over the 35 year span of his career, Bensusan continues to fuse the geographical and historical roots of music with various styles and elements to produce a uniquely fresh and sensitively textured sound.

Described by the L.A. Times as “one of the most unique and brilliant acoustic guitar veterans in the world music scene today”, Bensusan was voted Best World Music Guitar Player in 2008 by Guitar Player Magazine Readers Choice. His name became synonymous with contemporary acoustic guitar genius long before the terms New Age, New Acoustic Music or World Music were invented. With his ability to make a single guitar sound like an entire band as he brings the audience on a mesmerizing musical journey, Bensusan is more than what any musician or music lover expects from a guitarist. He is a composer as well as a bilingual and brave improvisational vocalist, melding whistles and resonant low notes with something like his own scat technique.

Bensusan is best known by guitarists for his use of the “open” guitar tuning, DADGAD, whereby three of the six guitar strings are tuned down a full step allowing the “amazing color” of the notes to be heard as the strings are played and the notes are free to ring into each other.

There is a sense of something both playful and serious in his work, an unparalleled sense of freedom in his compositions and his improvisations. His manner of playing defies classification - crossing world, classical, jazz, traditional, folk and more. None can be isolated as simply Brazilian, Arabic or French; rather, they represent our world in its current state, a world sharing itself, fusing cultures together in ways we have never experienced.

The past year and a half has been especially exciting as Bensusan has been interviewed on NPR, Weekend Edition with Scott Simons in February of 2011, has launched the Pierre Bensusan YOUTUBE Channel, and his management has announced that a documentary film on the life and music of Pierre is currently being produced by award-winning filmmaker Roger Sherman of Florentine Films, New York. The website, PierreBensusan.com, contains links to these and more.

In his NPR interview, Bensusan discusses that, in spite of his fame for his technique, “We all need the technique that we need in order to express what we try to express, but after a while, we also sometimes need to be first listening, before being distracted by the technique. Because, if you do listen carefully, your technique seems to hear, to see you listening, and be more at peace with yourself. And then you start to, in fact, to get what you’re looking for.”

Born in Oran, French-Algeria, in 1957, when France was decolonizing its Empire, Pierre Bensusan's family moved to Paris when he was 4. He began formal studies on piano at the age of 7 and at 11 taught himself guitar. Influenced in those early days by the folk revival blooming in Britain, France and North America, Bensusan began first to explore his own diverse musical heritage and then moved to the horizons beyond. At 17 he signed his first recording contract, and one year later his first album Pres de Paris won the Grand Prix du Disque upon his debut at the Montreux Festival in Switzerland.

If ‘World Music’ is music that pays tribute to the spirit of a collection of human beings through distinct rhythms, traditional instruments and harmonic colors, guitarist, singer and composer Pierre Bensusan can be recognized as one of the most eloquent and diverse world musicians of our time. Not to be missed!

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