Unusual, captivating and haunting are only a few words to describe the Experimental Indie Rock/ World musicians; HuDost. With incredible musical and songwriting abilities, as well as a mix of cultural flare, the heart of the band consists of Montreal’s Moksha Sommer and New York’s Jemal Wade Hines. Including an array of talents from other members of the group, each and every day continues to be an exhilarating moment of time that is too precise to let slip away and that is truly heard and felt in HuDost. I had the pleasure to interview lead Moksha to find out more.
Melissa Arditti: Your music draws from several cultural influences and creates a world sound, where have you travelled to?
Moksha Sommer: We have travelled primarily in Europe,Turkey, andIndiaand have had the opportunity to study and learn from incredible musicians in many of the places that we have been to. In many of those places, we have had a marvelous time also performing with both musicians who are ensconced in the traditional music of their locations and very innovative musicians who are pushing the boundaries.
M.A: Can you share what has been your most memorable performance?
M.S: I dare not say that we have had a ‘most memorable performance.’ I will say that some of the performances we have had that has included the collaboration of other artists has been really wonderful. For example, we have done performances while Alex Grey did live painting and whirling dervishes turned. In terms of what we are known for, we have played the Salvador Dali Museum, Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival, FloydFest, The Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, headlining SE NPR’s World Fusion Fest, WMNF’s Tropical Heat Wave Festival, The Levitt Pavilions, WoodSongs at the Kentucky Theater (on PBS), Nashville’s Bluebird Café, Music City Roots, and Tim Robbins’ WTF?! Fest. We have also been delighted to open for Snatam Kaur, California Guitar Trio, Bell Orchestre, and Jefferson Starship and have loved working with Omar Faruk Tekbilek, Neko Case, Jim Lauderdale, and Mercan Dede among others.
M.A: In your latest release, why “Trapeze” for the album name? For me, trapeze conjures up images of danger and excitement, grace, beauty, skill and trust in a partner’s ability.
M.S: Right before going into the recording studio to record ‘Trapeze’ I was diagnosed with a brain tumor. The recording of the album truly chronicles the time between that diagnosis and the surgery to remove the tumor. It was a time that overlooked a huge potential precipice and was both frightening and alive. The idea of a Trapeze expressed that perfectly.
M.A: What kind of performance can fans expect when going to a HuDost show?
M.S: Some of our performances are as a duo (with Jemal Wade Hines and myself) and some are as a band, where we incorporate musicians of varying sensibilities and backgrounds and often include performance art and dance. As a duo our instrumentation includes vocals, harmonium (Indian Pump-Organ), Shahi Baaja (Electric Indian Auto-Harp), guitars, Bazouki, Dulcinet, percussion, and a slew of sonic ambient effects. Our music blends Pop and Rock with traditional Sufi music, Bulgarian, Croatian, Macedonian and Balkan folk music, Farsi, Turkish, Arabic, and Folk.
M.A: What was it like to collaborate with Grammy wining producer Malcolm Burn? What did he bring to the table that was different from your previous albums?
M.S: Working with him was an interesting process. If anything, he defied all the protocols that normally apply to the sound studio. He had the full band in the same room together simply doing live recordings of the songs that had a ton of bleed between the mics, etc. It made it so that there was a live energy and intimacy that is very hard to obtain when everyone is recording their parts separately in sound booths.
M.A: hat is the meaning of the band name “HuDost?”
M.S: ‘HuDost’ is a Sufi greeting. It is two words. ‘Hu’ is the breath that is shared by all and ‘Dost’ is the true friend. So when paired it literally translates to meaning ‘true friend of the shared breath.’
M.A: Does HuDost have a mantra or mission?
M.S: Just spreading wonder, joy, consciousness, love, and powerful creative expression through music…that is all…small feat, no?
Thank you very much Moksha for sharing a little piece of HuDost with all of us. Blessings to all of you on a wonderful journey ahead!
For more information on the band, please visit: Hudost