Stephan Micus – White Night (ECM Records, 2019)
Composer, multi-instrumentalist, global traveler, and musical instrument collector Stephan Micus is an extraordinary musician who creates mesmerizing musical pieces. White Night is dedicated to the experiences that take place at night, under the moonlight.
“I’ve always been inspired by moonlight,” says Stephan Micus about White Night. “Often I go walking, swimming in the sea or, best of all, cross-country skiing when the moon turns the snow into millions of diamonds. Moonlight for me has a special magic.”
Micus plays a wide-range of musical instruments although on this occasion he focuses on the evocative, oboe-like Armenian duduk and the captivating, trance-like kalimba (a lamelophone or thumb piano used across Africa that is known as sanza and mbira in other places) along with his familiar 14-string guitar.
Throughout his travels, Micus collects musical instruments. On White night he plays kalimbas he collected in Tanzania, Botswana, Namibia and Ethiopia. “These are old and unique instruments,” he reveals. “Most of them I found in remote villages and so each one has its own story connected with the people I met, with the landscapes and these memories help me create the music for them, something an instrument bought in a shop could never do. In most cases I change the tunings according to the music which evolves when I start improvising on them. My first kalimba I bought in Tanzania some 26 years ago.”
Stephan indicates that when he travels, he takes a kalimba with him on his journey. It is a versatile instrument to carry. It is small and doesn’t bother anyone. This allows Micus to keep composing melodiess and rhythms even if he is on the road.
White Night is hard to classify musically. It is a marvelous one-man chamber ensemble that performs melodic, atmospheric world music and inspiring chanting with influences from Armenia, Botswana and many other parts of the world. There is a masterful intertwining of moods, bringing together the melancholy of the duduk with the cheer of the kalimba.
Buy White Night