Beyond borders - East-West divine orchestra

East-West music fusions are currently hot properties, and the danger of these exercises in musical bridge building is that they can come over as being more about the media coverage than the music making. But one recent east-west fusion release has returned repeatedly to my CD player, and that is a good reason for sharing it with you. Catalan viol player Jordi Savall will need little introduction, and his musical roots are in the only European country to have been part of Islam for an extended period. Du temps & de l’instant (Moments in time) is a Savall family jam session with Montserrat Figueras (Mrs Savall) vocals, and the multi-talented Arianna and Ferran Savall (the Savall children) singing and contributing harp and théorbe respectively. And just to avoid charges of nepotism the incomparable Pedro Estevan adds the percussion line.

This is one of those ‘it isn’t early music, it isn’t improvisation, it isn’t jazz, it isn’t World Music, and it doesn’t matter’ discs, and its low profile is probably because it doesn’t fit neatly into any one media friendly category. The repertoire spans medieval to contemporary, while the geography moves from Afghanistan, through Israel, to Morocco, Greece, Sarajevo, France, Spain and across to Mexico, and the performances range from instrumental (the treatment of Marin Marais’ Muzettes l-ll is a standout) through solo cuts such as Ferran Savall’s wonderful interpretation of the traditional Catalan song La Cançó del Lladre to three pure improvisation.

Du temps & de l’instant isn’t a neatly tailored package aimed at maximum media coverage. It is 72 minutes of unbridled and spontaneous music-making by a family of incomparable musicality that spans just about every culture, musical style and performance tradition – quite simply one divine CD.

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