Montreal-based pianist Stefan Christoff combines forces with Shalabi Effect & Land of Kush’ Osama ‘Sam’ Shalabi, to create their latest collaborative effort. The collaboration of both musicians results in their latest album effort titled ‘Pодина’ (Rodina). The album sees Christoff combining his own jazz-orientated style of piano with Shalabi’s playing of the Oud, to create a very intimate and incredibly creative album experience. Made up of two tracks, with two solo interludes from the two musicians, ‘Pодина’ is an incredibly rewarding album experience that seems to shake the boundaries of truly conventional music.
The combining forces of Christoff and Shalabi results in a perfect match of two musicians. Both Christoff and Shalabi offer an incredible amount on ‘Pодина’, with both performing their own individual instruments to perfection. The music present on the album is nothing short of beautiful, with the sheer talents of the two musicians coming through in phenomenal style. The album sees the two musicans collaborating on two different tracks that both span over ten minutes in length, giving both Christoff and Shalabi ample opportunity to express themselves, and the themes and ideals being presented by the music itself. Both the two compositions offer an incredible amount in terms of music and creativity, and both contribute towards the overall album brilliantly. The two solo compositions also offer a beautiful insight into Christoff and Shalabi’s own personal styles and nature. What’s wonderful is the partnership between the two musicians, who spend the whole album contributing towards the album’s experience, both working together, rather than for themselves.
If any criticisms are to be found on ‘Pодина’, it is arguably in the difficulty the album presents. The album is musically wonderful, though it’s at times, very hard to really understand what it is that Christoff and Shalabi are presenting when it comes to their music. It’s arguable that the two solo compositions are easier to understand, but even then, are we really understanding it at all? It gives ‘Pодина’ a very complex and deep nature that can be hard to penetrate, and the only real answer available is the ones that come from Christoff and Shalabi themselves.
‘Pодина’ is at times a complex album, though it is also one that can easily be appreciated in a musical sense. Although the album features very deep themes and natures that run throughout the album. There’s a wonderful personal nature being presented by Christoff and Shalabi that makes the album a very intimate yet enjoyable experience. It’s an album that is perhaps not the easiest one to get into, though it is one that delivers in many aspects. ‘Pодина’ is a brilliant combination of two incredibly talented musicians, and we can only hope that the two will one day partner up again and once again write more beautiful music.
- ★★★★★ 5/5
- Vardar River Song
- To Sophia
- One Oud
- Along Treska
Stefan Christoff & Sam Shalabi’s latest album ‘Pодина” is out now and can be purchased at: http://howlarts.net/rodina