Land Of Kush is a large orchestra assembled and directed by Montreal composer and musician Sam Shalabi, one of the city’s most unique and prolific players over the past decade. Shalabi performs constantly on electric guitar and oud, with regular appearances in numerous jazz and free improv ensembles, membership in a kaleidoscope of avant rock bands, and at the compositional helm of various musical assemblages large and small.
Shalabi has seen a dozen full-length album recordings released in the last eight years, under his own name and with Shalabi Effect (on Alien8Recordings) and as a member of Molasses, Detention, Po, ’Gypt Gore and Nutsack. His eponymous albums often include genre-defying compositions for larger ensembles and Shalabi has also mounted many live performances and commissioned compositions for hybrid orchestras that have gone largely undocumented.
Land Of Kush is among the most ambitious and impressive of Shalabi’s projects: the group involves over 30 musicians and two dozen different instruments, including a cluster of strings, horns and woodwinds, multiple percussionists, bassists and guitarists, numerous vocalists, electronics, snyths, darbouka and oud.
Land Of Kush has performed a handful of mesmerising shows in Montreal over the past couple of years, premiering three different hour-long works over that period. Two of these were recorded in studio at the invitation of Constellation and released in spring 2009 (Against The Day) and spring 2010 (Monogamy) respectively.
A third most recent new work was premiered at the Festival de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville in May 2010.
Land Of Kush and Hangedup are confirmed to play the All Tomorrow's Parties xmas edition curated by Godspeed You! Black Emperor. For Hangedup, this will be a rekindling of the flame similar to Godspeed – the band has not played in several years and last performed in Europe in 2005. Eric Craven and Geneviève Heistek have continued to play drums and viola respectively in all sorts of projects in and around Montreal since putting their pummeling duo on ice mid-decade; they are well-primed to fire up the machine once again, and will also revisit a previous collaboration with Tony Conrad, who will be joining them for the ATP date. UPDATE: Hangedup will be performing at ATP with their own set as the sense-rattling dynamic duo that they are. The band is planning some stuff with Tony Conrad for 2011. Equally momentous will be the first ever European performance by Land Of Kush. The uncategorisable and mesmerising out-music orchestra led by Sam Shalabi will re-fashion itself as a small ensemble for this performance (ATP couldn't spring for 30 musicians apparently - cheap bastards). We've seen Sam play in much smaller formations and been floored in complete but different ways by the results. With Radwan Moumneh (Jerusalem In My Heart) and regular Kush vocalist Ariel Engle forming the core, LoK is sure to provide an intense but presumably more intimate take on their inimitable psych-arabique sounds. More info at the ATP site here.
No shows scheduled.
LIVE - Herb Greenslade
OUD - Radwan Moumneh
MAESTRO - Herb Greenslade
Monogamy Land Of Kush's Egyptian Light Orchestra CD / 2x180gLP / DL