Session Notes

One of the decisions I made early on in producing this album was that I was not going to use a drum set at all, but only percussion. I had been listening a lot to the Radio Tarifa records and I loved the way they felt. I knew I wanted to find people who could play darbuka, riq and maybe even also krakebs, which I fell in love with years ago in Fes listening to Gnawa musicians play their loping figures on them (and which I have confirmed no amount of practice will ever allow me to play convincingly).

LA is a great town for finding Persian musicians but not a great one for Moroccan ones. I had spent a year or so poking around for the percussionists that would be interested and/or capable of playing on this record the way I wanted, but I was running out of both time and ideas when, thankfully, my friend Yatrika Shah-Rais thought to recommend Greg Ellis to me. I had first heard Greg on an Axiom Of Choice album a number of years ago and was intrigued to meet him. I had already sketched out the percussion parts using the MOTU Ethno Instrument (not fun) and I knew I wanted to restrict myself as much as possible to instruments found in North Africa. Greg was a real treat to work with, and totally embraced the concept.

Finally, my old friend Judd Miller plays wonderfully on this song, not only ney but a couple of really sweet Turkish clarinet tracks that were totally his idea and added so much to the production.