Richard Khuzami Releases Fused

New York (New York), USA – Fused is producer and
multi-instrumentalist Richard Khuzami’s celebration of the cultural and ethnic
forces that surround him. Recorded in

New York City
, Fused features artists such as
Faruk Tekbilek
, Frederick Reed (Jeff Buckley, Sesame Street,
), Tommy “Rameses” Rodriguez (Daddy Yankee, Miles Copeland), Anath
Benais (Fiesta Mora [original version of Alabina]), Duke McVinnie (member of
alt-rock group Shivaree and a member of Joan Baez’s band), Rachid Halihal (Rachid
), Maurice Chedid, and Nickodemus (Turntables on the Hudson). It was
mixed/engineered by multi-Grammy winning engineer Jon Fausty (Tito Puente, David
Byrne, Gilberto Santa Rosa), and Grammy nominated engineer Matt Stein (Def
Jamaica). Fused exposes the listener to the beauty, dynamics, and
traditions of Middle Eastern music while incorporating English lyrics, as well
as dance, pop and reggaeton.

The prominence of Middle Eastern rhythmic patterns and scales in Fused is
remarkable because Richard Khuzami was raised in New York with minimal exposure
to the Lebanese heritage of his family. Like any American teenager in the
sixties, he absorbed the rock and pop music of his New York surroundings and
taught himself to play drums. This all changed in 1978, when he had a chance
encounter in Rochester (New York) with the renowned Turkish
Faruk Tekbilek
. It was this meeting that triggered Khuzami’s interest in
Middle Eastern percussion instruments and where his Lebanese background began to
play an important role in his identity and is what ultimately inspired Fused.
Over the course of his career, Khuzami mastered various other percussion
instruments: darbuka, riq, bendir, and davul. (from the Balkans, Anatolia, the
Middle East, and North Africa). He has studied with some of the masters of this
genre (including Tekbilek) and has performed in Greek, Turkish and Arab-American
ethnic communities throughout United States as well as with top international
artists both domestically and overseas.

Khuzami’s experiences as a young adult listening to music in the 1960’s enforced
his belief that music is a powerful means of providing a voice to those outside
the mainstream. Music is an instrument for change. The recent decline in the
public’s perception of the Arab community propelled Khuzami to once again use
music as an instrument for change. The pain he felt when faced by the
misconceptions and disrepute of his Arab lineage helps to fuel Fused. It
is Khuzami’s sonic bridge between the common ground of Eastern and Western

Khuzami called upon a wide array of his musical friends and heavyweights from
Arab, Israeli, North African, Greek, Turkish, African, American and Latin
backgrounds to contribute to this project. From the infectious Greek reggaeton
track “Burn that Beat”, written by “it” reggaeton producer, Rameses, to the
bewitching “Go with Me” featuring Moroccan Berber vocalist, Malika Zarra and ney
(reed flute) flautist Omar Faruk Tekbilek, the sonic and aesthetic diversity of
Fused is intentional and quintessentially New York.

Fused may be understood as a musical reel of Khuzami’s life, whether it be
“Wings of a Songbird”, a deeply personal and romantic ballad set in 9/8 and 6/8
time featuring the vocals of Anath Benais and the bouzouki (Greek stringed
instrument) of Nikos Tatasopoulos or the funked up grooves of “Malfouf”
featuring Tekbilek on ney and zurna, and Chedid on oud. Another highlight of
this diverse album is “Nothing Lasts”, written by and featuring the vocal of
musician and composer, Duke McVinnie. The graceful and spiritual composition
illustrates Khuzami’s arrangement and production skills and captures the essence
of his Middle Eastern heritage.

Fused is currently available for purchase via and CD Baby. Single tracks
are available for download on iTunes.

Author: World Music Central News Department

World music news from the editors at World Music Central