Artist Profiles: Pierre Bensusan

Pierre Bensusan
Pierre Bensusan

Born in Oran, Algeria, in 1957, Pierre Bensusan’s family moved to Paris when he was four years old. He began formal studies on classical piano at the age of seven and at eleven decided to teach himself guitar. Influenced in those early days by the folk revival blooming in Great Britain, France and North America, Bensusan began first to explore his own diverse musical heritage and then moved to the horizons beyond.

At seventeen he signed his first recording contract, and one year later his first album Pres de Paris (1976) won the prestigious Grand Prix du Disque upon his debut at the Montreux Festival in Switzerland. Working exclusively in the unusual DADGAD tuning, Pierre has developed a bitter-sweet melodic approach that incorporates Celtic lines with Latin and North African rhythms and wordless vocals in the jazz scat tradition. International tours, innovative recordings and publications like The Guitar Book (1984) have established him as a reputable musician.

Bensusan has established himself as a compelling concert performer and a stellar contributor to festivals of folk, jazz and Celtic music, including Montreux, Cambridge, Montreal, Vancouver, Mariposa, Printemps de Bourges, Rotterdam, Vienna and Lorient. Nice Feeling is a retrospective collection from his extraordinary career so far.

Other notable activities in the current season include: invitations to major guitar festivals in Cordoba (Spain), Belfast (Northern Ireland) and Brighton (England); compositional commissions for choir and instrumental ensemble for the French cities of Poitiers and Boulogne Sur Mer; release of the “Pierre Bensusan Signature” Lowden guitar model; and a new solo album for Zebra/Warner.

With his family, Bensusan now bases himself in the French countryside, near Paris.

Discography:

Solilai (Rounder Select, 1982)

Spices (Rounder Select, 1987)

Pres De Paris (Rounder Select, 1991)

Pres De Paris/P.B. 2 (Rounder Select, 1992)

Musiques (Rounder Select, 1993)

Wu Wei (Rounder Select, 1995)

Live in Paris (Zebra Records/WEA, 1998)

Nice Feeling (Zebra Records/WEA, 1999)

Musique (BMG, 2000)

Intuite (Favored Nations, 2001)

Anthology (Dadgad Music, 2003)

An Evening With International Guitar Night (2004)

Altiplanos (Favored Nations, 2005)

Vividly (Dadgad Music, 2010)

Encore (Dadgad Music, 2013), triple album of live recordings

Website: www.pierrebensusan.com

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music and electronic music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World, Lektronic Soundscapes, and Mindchild Records. Angel is currently based in Durham, North Carolina.

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