“Taráb andalusí” ensemble – is a unique Ukrainian group of musicians, who share a passion for the ancient medieval and oriental ethnic musical instruments, their sound and the mood they create. Each of the musicians is a master, “a wizard” of sound of one’s instruments. The name of the ensemble is not accidental: “taráb” – in an ancient Arabic – means “musical ecstasy” – a distinct state of players and listeners, when they are fully captured, taken away by the music. This phenomenon has been known in the Middle East since antiguity. Ancient Arabic and Persian musicians believed that the real masters of music are directed by the supreme mystical forces – “gins” – and the one, who is with them in harmony and in a special relationship – might play the truly noble, sublime, beautiful and wellness-bringing music. This music used to have a strong impression on people: it healed, inspired, rescued from various misfortunes and miseries of life, prompted the decisions, even cast out evil spirits and hypnotically commanded the armies …
“Andalusi” – means “Andalusian”, as it was in Al-Ándalus – a magnificent Muslim country, which existed on the territory of Iberia (modern Spain and Portugal) for over 800 years (from 711 until 1492), where the are of taráb reached its blossom. The music in Al-Ándalus was so beautiful, that its beauty still captivates everyone, who touches it, and it still has a strong impact in the music and the culture of modern Spain. That’s why our ensemble began its existence with the music of this mystical and majestic country – Al-Ándalus.
The author and the lead of the project – Konstantin Krasnouhov – a guitar-player and the Ukrainian expert of Spanish flamenco music and culture, the director and the artistic director of the Kiev theater of dance and music “Duende Flamenco”. For him the ensemble “Taráb andalusí” is a continuation of his keenness on the rich culture of the southern Spain. Konstantin is the author, the arranger and the player on Arab guitar (“the ud”) , Latin guitar of the XIII century, as well as the vocalist. Ud used to be the main instrument in the music of the Middle East. Its history dates back for 4000 years. Konstantin mastered the ud just during first three days of picking it up because, as he says, “the memory of the past lives helped” him to start playing it.
The magic voice of the ensemble – Elena Shykura – is a talented artist, the illustrator and the part-time musician, the lead of the Kiev group Mashala Doza, performing songs of the Balkan folklore. In our project Elena also plays Latin guitar, which she mastered during a couple of months of repetitions for the project.
The rhythm base of the project – Orhan Agabeyli – is one of the best darbuka masters in Ukraine, who studied this art with the world masters of this art in person. Orhan started with oriental percussion whe he was 15 years old, and now he is a known master of the complex oriental rhythms. In the project Orhan also plays bendir (Spanish “pandero”) and other percussion.
On the wind instruments – Maxim Berezhnyuk – a virtuoso, who plays since he was 7 years old, a participant of the TV show “Ukraine’s got Talent”, as well as many Ukrainian folk and etno-rock groups. Maxim owns a collection of more than 100 ethnic flutes, all of which he plays as a true master, taking thousands of sound shades out of them. For the project Maxim even mastered a new instrument for himself: the Arabian reed flute (“nay”).
“The first violin” is Mikhail Katchalov – a participant of many Ukrainian ensembles of medieval and folk music in Europe, who masterfully plays various folk and vintage styles of playing with the bowing strings. In the project Mikhail plays the medieval fiddle (“viola” in Spain) – the closest forerunner of the modern violin. For the project he learned a new style of bowing instrument playing: one of andalusian arabic music.
Another and very special member of the project – Aleksey Kabanov – “a man-orchestra”, the musician-multiinstrumentalist, a participant of many ensembles, orchestras and theaters, who performs music of various genres using the sound of ethnic instruments. Aleksey is also a collector of different and often quite strange musical instruments. In his collection there are over fifty different instruments of medieval Europe, Middle and Far East. To some of them we inbreathed the “second life” with our project, as they previously could only serve as museum pieces. In our project, Aleksey plays turkish baglama or saz (a modern closest relative of the Spanish “moorish guitar”), a Persian santur (Spanish “salterio”), a tarija (eastern tambourine), medieval wheel lyre (Spanish “zanfona”), as well as its oldest predecessor – the X century organistrum of Santiago de Compostella.