Type “Oriental Strings” into Google and you’ll be deluged with links to the popular app “Oriental Strings for iPad, iPhone and similar devices!”. It is a virtual sound module app for “oriental” keyboard players and other musicians who simply want to integrate the sound of the East into their music.
But the Collective SONIQ’s third project Oriental Strings was not an App and it was anything but virtual. It was real. It was acoustic. And it was handmade music! Two fine virtuosos, one from Iran, Kioomars Musayyebi, and the other from India, Hindol Deb, playing string instruments such as the Santoor and the Sitar, collaborated with SONIQ: Christina Fuchs (saxophone and clarinets), Jarry Singla (piano and harmonium) and Ramesh Shotham (percussion).
One of the challenges these artists faced during the project was finding ways to bridge the musical worlds spanning the tempered tuning of the piano, which is designed for Western harmonic music and the quarter tones of the santoor coupled with the microtones of the sitar, both instruments designed for playing modal music. Saxophones and clarinets are capable of traversing both genres of music. The percussion laid a rhythmic foundation.
With this edition, SONIQ continued on its visionary path, and brought together elements from disparate cultures to create a contemporary, authentic music. The artists participating were on a musical treasure hunt, they opened soundscapes, took risks, and widened their horizons.