Quest of the Invisible: Between silence and trance
The repertoire of Quest of the Invisible takes the form of melodic themes that are sometimes very simple and sometimes much more complex. Silence has a central place, the rhythm always leads to trance in a repetitive, hypnotic form, and sometimes the voice reinforces the instruments to try to touch the invisible by naming it. This quest for the Invisible oscillates between shadow and light, contemplation and trance, silence and music.
For her latest project, Naïssam Jalal invited Brazilian pianist Leonardo Montana and French double bass player Claude Tchamitchian in search of the divine invisible.
Biography of the musicians
NAISSAM JALAL (Composition, flute, nay)
Born in Paris of Syrian parents, Naïssam Jalal’s artistic development from the age of 6 has been founded on countless personal and artistic encounters. At the age of 17, she discovered improvisation and graduated from the music conservatory. She went to study at the Higher Institute for Arab Music in Damascus, where she studied the ney flute. Later, she moved to Cairo for a few years and enriched her playing with the greatest masters of classical Arabic music such as the great violinist Abdu Dagher and Fathi Salama, with whom she performed in the most prestigious theatres. She participated in the creation of the El Dor El Awal and Bakash groups. Between musical training and a quest for self, these years of initiation — in the noble sense of the term — formed the foundation of the artist as she has become today.
Back in France, she accompanied the Lebanese rapper Rayess Bek and the Egyptian oud player Hazem Shaheen. In 2009, she unveiled the Noun Ya project, a duet with oud and guitar player Yann Pittard, with whom she toured in France, Syria, Japan, Lebanon and Tunisia, and released the album Aux Résistances.
From rap to contemporary jazz, tango and afrobeat, Naïssam Jalal plays with everyone and avoids all musical categorisation. She has been found alongside the cream of African musicians on the Parisian scene: Cheikh Tidiane Seck, Mamani Keita, Kiala, Brice Wassi, Hilaire Penda, Fatoumata Diawara, Moh, and Hervé Samb; or with big names in French and international jazz: Hamid Drake, Michael Blake, Médéric Collignon, Nelson Veras, Hubert Dupont and Mathilde Gross Viddal; in Arab music with Amazigh Kateb, Lena Shamamyan, Macadi Nahhas, Youssef Hbeish, Khaled Aljaramani and Ahmad Alkhatib; and with the Latin American musician and singer, Melingo.
She has recorded with Abdoulaye Traore, Mohamed Diaby, Napoleon Maddox, Aziz Sahmaoui, Mike Ladd, Sébastien Giniaux, the Aerophone jazz trio, and the Palestinian rap group Katibeh 5, and has composed music for two feature films (Karima Zoubir’s Camera Woman and Odile Demonfaucon’s In the hands).
In 2011 she founded her quintet Rhythms of Resistance, which produced two magnificent albums — Osloob Hayati (2015) and Almot Wala Almazala (2016) — and performed on major stages and in the biggest jazz festivals in France and Europe.
The year 2017 was rich in projects. In March, Naïssam Jalal built the first part of the repertoire of her new original production during her residency at Banlieues Bleues. She was accompanied by Leonardo Montana and Claude Tchamitchian in a trio with whom Hamid Drake guested to record this double album Quest of The Invisible, which will be released in March 2019.
In May 2017, she adapted her repertoire for the Tercea string quartet as part of an original production created for the Métis festival in Saint-Denis. In November 2017, Naïssam Jalal and her Rhythms of Resistance quintet took part in La Declaration, a choreographic and musical work for five dancers and five musicians by Sylvain Groud, whose premiere took place at the Théâtre-Sénart. That same month, Naïssam Jalal led an original production entitled The Sun Spirit, created for the Africolor Festival with Loy Ehrlich, Karim Ziad, Noura Mint Seymali and Leonardo Montana.
In September 2017, Naïssam Jalal recorded a new album in Cairo, Om Al Aagayeb, taking inspiration from her personal journey in Egypt through a wander through memories that are still alive. She also explored the possibilities of hip-hop with Palestinian rapper, composer and beatboxer Osloob in their band Al Akhareen (The Others) whose album was released in March 2018.
In July 2018 the album Liqaa — recorded a few years ago in a duet with the Egyptian oud player Hazem Shaheen — was finally released as part of the collection of the Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris.
In 2018, she was also nominated for the Victoires du Jazz award in France.
The Rhythms of Resistance quintet has reached a maturity and musical cohesion that only the time spent by these 5 musicians playing on the road, makes it possible. Today, Naïssam Jalal presents a new repertoire Un autre monde which takes two forms on stage: a form in quintet alone and a form in quintet with symphonic orchestra, whose creation took place in February 2020 with the musicians of the Orchestre Symphonique de Bretagne conducted by Zahia Ziouani.
The album Un autre monde was released on February 5, 2021. Naïssam Jalal has composed and arranged this new music also for a symphony orchestra.
Inspired by time spent in hospitals, Naïssam Jalal composed imaginary Healing rituals for her new quartet on tour in 2022 / 2023.
CLAUDE TCHAMITCHAN (Double Bass)
For the last thirty years, Claude Tchamitchian has been working in several different artistic areas, as well as composing original music for dance and theatre. In 1994, he founded Emouvance, a company that allows him to develop and be involved in artistic projects in the fields of contemporary and improvised music. During this same period, he founded the Lousadzak Ensemble, one of the main strands of his varied career.
Over time, Emouvance has become more than just a record label (more than 40 albums) – but a real production organization. In 2012, was set up the first edition of the festival known as Les Emouvantes, held each year in Marseille.
Present on the jazz and improvised musical scene since the eighties, Claude’s partners include Eric Watson, Christof Lauer, Andy Sheppard, Linda Sharrock, Dave Liebman, André Jaume, Marc Ducret, Beñat Achiary, Mat Maneri, Herb Robertson, Tony Hymas, Michel Portal, Gian Luigi Trovesi, Barre Phillips, Raymond Boni, Ray Anderson, Ernst Reiseger, Henri Texier, Jean-Marie Machado, Phil Minton, Kent Carter, John Tchicaï, Chris Biscoe, Jimmy Guiffre, Joe McPhee, Daunik Lazro, Naïssam Jalal etc…
His regular groups are: Solo with already 3 albums Jeu d’Enfants in 1993, Another Childhood in 2010 and Spirit in 2018. As leader with Acoustic Lousadzak quintet, Traces sextet, Trio Amarco, Ways Out quartet and Trio Etchmiadzine. In duo with Gaguik Mouradian, Yom.
LEONARDO MONTANA (Piano)
Leonardo Montana was born, in 1977, in the city of La Paz from Colombian and English parents and grew up between Bahia (Brazil) and Guadeloupe (French West Indies). He began learning music and piano by himself and started performing in 1995.
From 2004 to 2008, he studied at the Jazz department of the CNSM, in Paris. During this same years, he formed the Triphase trio, with Anne Paceo and Joan Eche Puig, with whom he recorded two albums and played many concerts in clubs and major festivals and was rewarded by a Victoire du Jazz in 2011.
Inspired by the Caribbean rhythms of his childhood, and many other influences the musical world of Leonardo is original and wide. Throughout his diverse participations in eclectic projects, he keeps broadening his practice and capacities.
Leonardo played with: Felipe Cabrera, Raul de Souza, Bill McHenry, Irving Acao, Gueorgui Kornazov, Dave Liebman, Mokhtar Samba, Anne Paceo, Bruno Schorp, Naïssam Jalal, Chico Freeman or Arnaud Dolmen.
His love of voices also brings him to work with many singers such as Omara Portuondo, Agathe Iracema, Charlotte Wassy, Anne Sila, Cynthia Saint-Ville, Sofia Ribeiro, Chloe Cailleton, Viviane de Farias, Cynthia Abraham, Marcia Maria, Fredrika Stahl, Catia Werneck, Maria de Medeiros… and many others.
Introduction to Arabic music workshop and young audience show "Kan ya makan"
All about Jazz
« The three musicians of Quest of the Invisible, flautist/vocalist Naïssam Jalal, bassist Claude Tchamitchian and pianist Leonardo Montana led the audiance in a magical flight into the mysterious whispers and secret fires of the night, roaming the vastness and depths of its shimmering darkness. »
« The flutist and composer Naïssam Jalal signs Quest of The Invisible, a major, intimate and transcendental work – an appeal to meditation whose amplitude and narrative power draws from sources of an all-encompassing free spirituality. »
Mediapart blog – JJ Birgé
« Naïssam Jalal’s Quest of The Invisible, with pianist Leonardo Montana, bassist Claude Tchamitchian and Hamid Drake on daf, is a obviously disarmingly little gem; if it could disarm the bullies who are killing each other, the flutist, whose singing is just as captivating, could devote herself more often to this superb introspective meditation. »
« Naïssam Jalal is one of the precious young musicians of the French improvised music scene. Far from formatting, she invents her own codes and reveals the spiritual force that connects her to the others in the luminous double album Quest of the Invisible. The magic is there, the invisible becomes palpable, the trio lifts us from reverie to trance. »
« Huit pièces canalisées par le souffle pur de la flûte et du nay, enveloppées de chants célestes, parcourues de rythmes hypnotiques, avec la complicité quasiment surnaturelle de Leonardo Montana, Claude Tchamitchian et Hamid Drake. Ce cinquième album est son Love Supreme. » ****
« Un lyrisme brillant. Cet album aussi réussi qu’étonnant, ressemble à s’y méprendre à une belle production ECM sortie du nid. » Indispensable
Jazz in Marciac - Royaumont - Jazz a la Villette - Banlieues Bleues - Jazzaldia Festival - Sons d'hivers - La ferme du buisson - Pan! Festival - Institut du Monde Arabe - Mucem - Jazzdor Berlin - Musikfest Bremen - l'Arsenal - Festival Bruissement d'Elles - Deux Pièces Cuisine - Palais de la Porte Dorée - Festival Paris quartier d’été - l’Equinoxe Scène Nationale – Les 2 scènes – Jazzdor Strasbourg – Moods – le Bee-flat – Jazz au fil de l’Oise – Jazz aux carres - Jazz sous les Pommiers - Inntöne Festival - Tourcoing Jazz Festival – Tanjazz – Festival du bleu en hiver – Le Grand T Scène Nationale - Festival No Border – Africolor – le Tangram- Le Rive Gauche – Théâtre Senart Scène Nationale – Le Parvis Scène Nationale – La Dynamo – Aux heures d’été – Charlie Jazz Festival – Jazz a Porquerolles – Festival Metis – Voiron Jazz Festival – Les Détours de Babel – A Vaulx jazz – New Morning – Jazzit Music Club, jazz & the city
The band is based in France and available on request for concerts, workshops and pedagogical encounters.
Agent/booking : Ourida YAKER (Tour'n'sol prod.)
Support booking France & Europe : Chloé HOUSSEAU - freSch touch