In this blog article, I’ll discuss the nine-piece ensemble Red Desert Orchestra with pianist and composer Eve Risser.
I recently attended the 60th edition of the Berlin Jazzfest, and it was once again a great experience. This year’s lineup showcased numerous talented, established artists representing diverse musical traditions.
Established in 1964, the Berlin Jazz Festival holds a prominent position as one of Europe’s most enduring and celebrated festivals.
While American jazz icons initially shaped its identity, the event has introduced performers worldwide, with a growing focus on modern European jazz.
FESTIVAL PROGRAMME 2023
This year’s edition was a hub of musical creativity, bringing together a diverse age group through 36 projects and influential artists like composer and multi-instrumentalist Henry Threadgill and Andrew Cyrille, alongside the renowned pianist Cecil Taylor and the pioneer of free improvisation Fred Frith, to mention a few.
Additionally, spoken word artist Camae Ayewa, also known as Moor Mother, made a significant appearance at the festival. I got to experience and focus on two performances during the festival’s final day.
The first was by one of Brazil’s most brilliantly imaginative artists, Joyce Moreno, who presented Natureza, an album recorded initially at Columbia Studios in New York in 1977 but only made available 45 years later through Far Out Recordings.
The second concert featured the Red Desert Orchestra, led by Eve Risser, presenting the fantastic songs of their thorough exploration of West African music.
I found super interesting facts about the Red Desert Orchestra during my interview with Eve Risser that you should explore.
RED DESERT ORCHESTRA
Eve Risser, a talented performer, composer, and arranger from France, is the founder of The Red Desert Orchestra. This ensemble comprises nine skilled European musicians and was founded by Risser herself.
The group focuses on two main programs: Kogoba Basigui and Eurythmia. Kogoba Basigui originated from collaborating with seven (now six) Malian musicians based in Bamako (Kaladjula Band).
In comparison, Eurythmia involves the collaboration of the Red Desert Orchestra with three Burkinabe musicians residing in France.
Within this framework, Eve Risser fuses European orchestral sounds, free jazz, and the musical heritage of Mali to guide you through a spiritual journey inspired by her work with Nainy Diabaté.
During our chat, we discussed her connection to African and Malian music, plus the challenges of managing a music project that bridges Africa and France, both musically and sociologically.
To finish, Eve shared insights into her significant sources of inspiration drawn from Malian music. Meeting Eve was an excellent opportunity to explore a powerful ensemble with the primary goal of positively impacting the world. Take pleasure in listening! 🎧
In addition, read this blog article: Frafra Gospel Music w/ Alogte Aho & Max Weissenfeldt
TABLE OF CONTENTS
3:34 The connection to Africa and the music from Mali
15:25 Oumou Sangaré as Eve’s biggest inspiration
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