Desert Wind

Dateline: June 9, 2000

Desert Wind is a band that combines World Fusion with spirituality. Middle Eastern rhythms are pervasive on the double CD World Dance, while She is a Tree of Life celebrates the mysical side of Judaism. At the center of the band is Alan and Andalin Bachman, who explored their own Jewish heritage while working on that album. Then came Christmas: Rhythms of the Holy Land -- Christmas music from Jewish musicians? I asked Alan and Andalin some questions about how the band got together, their musical influences . . . and, most importantly, what their rabbis think of all of this!

Paula: Who are your musical influences?

Alan: What comes immediately to my mind are the artists "Genesis," "Mike Oldfield," "Light Rain," Santana, "Eric Clapton," and "Aashish Khan."

Andalin: I hear "Hubert Laws," "Miles Davis," "Frank Zappa," "Jimi Hendrix," "George Benson," "Quincy Jones," "Michael Jackson," Peter Gabriel, and "Alan Bachman," for starters. But going back a lifetime, there were the classical masters I heard regularly at the symphony and of course there were the Beatles on my phonograph. Going into the future there is a wealth of world artists I have yet to discover. How exciting!

Paula: What is it about Middle Eastern music that you find the most intriguing?

Andalin: It is ALL intriguing! You have to mention the exotic scales and instrumentation, but I find the rhythm patterns to be most intriguing part of Middle Eastern music. I remember when I first heard Alan pick up a dumbek and tap out a dum tek a tek dum tek a tek dum rhythm that will forever be ingrained in my psyche. I loved it! I could hear melodies in my head to play with those patterns! My instant reaction was to pick up my flute and play along. Then I got to jam with George Grant on tablas. Breathtaking. Today I have a comfortable grasp of such rhythmical concepts as chiftitelli, karsilama, beladi, khaleegy, maqsoum, saidi, Mid-East bolero, Persian 6/8, masmoudi and others! My first real break- through in Mid East improvisation was at a belly dance festival in Portand, Oregon featuring the fabulous dancer Morocco. It was over a magical rhythm from Libya called simply libi.

Alan: The passion and full range of emotion in the music is most intriguing. Since the "cradle of civilization" is in the Middle East, it is reflected in the music. One can see how all the music of the world has it's roots and influences in the Middle East. Also, I like rhythm oriented music with beautiful melodies.

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