Jan Wouter Oostenrijk - Traveling East cover artwork. A photo of the artist playing guitar.

Jan Wouter Oostenrijk, Feat. Nasser Salameh – Traveling East – The Acoustic Album (Mountain Records, 2023)

On Traveling East – The Acoustic Album, Dutch musician Jan Wouter Oostenrijk orchestrates a captivating convergence of Middle Eastern and North African musical traditions with his Western heritage. This amalgamation of influences culminates in a collection that transcends geographical boundaries, offering listeners an immersive experience in cross-cultural musical synthesis.

Oostenrijk’s skill as a guitarist is exhibited prominently throughout the album, as he deftly navigates through various genres including raqs sharqi, blues, Maghreb sounds, and jazz. His virtuosic performances serve as conduits for exploration, guiding listeners on a captivating journey of musical discovery. Central to this sound is the acoustic guitar, an emblem of Western musical heritage, which Oostenrijk skillfully utilizes to weave intricate melodies and harmonies.

Of particular note is Oostenrijk’s integration of Middle Eastern microtonal nuances, facilitated by a modified quarter-tone fretboard. This innovative approach imbues his compositions with a rich palette of tonal colors, adding depth and dimension to his musical narratives. In solo guitar pieces, Oostenrijk introduces his mastery of taqsim, drawing upon classical Arabic maqam modes to evoke a sense of freedom and expression.

Accompanying Oostenrijk is percussionist Nasser Salameh, from Jordan. Salameh’s contribution to the album is profound, as his expertly crafted polyrhythmic grooves and percussive accents provide a rhythmic foundation that propels the music forward with fluidity and finesse.

Buy Traveling East – The Acoustic Album.

Author: Douglas Sanders


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