A MODERN LOVE SONG TO THE MEDITERRANEAN SEA
Radio Mediteran is an exciting new work created by the Omer Klein Trio, inspired by the Mediterranean, the people living on its shores, their rich culture and music.
Omer Klein (piano), Amir Bresler (drums) and Haggai Cohen-Milo (bass) grew up on the coast of Israel, and the Mediterranean Sea was a constant backdrop to their young life experiences.
Now, after five years of intense work and two successful albums (Fearless Friday and Sleepwalkers), the ECHO Jazz Award-winning trio have created their first work dedicated to the great sea. The recordings followed a period of research in which they immersed themselves in the region’s richly diverse musical styles.
The album includes original music by Klein, inspired by the sounds of Tunisia, Bulgaria, Turkey, the Middle East, Libya, Morocco, and other Mediterranean countries.
As always with the Omer Klein Trio, the various elements are combined in a truly original and daring way, each part blending into the other freely and creatively. The album follows no rules except the joy of music making.
The trio have added touches of analogue synths to their rich acoustic sound, completing a work that is at once a love song to an ancient sea and a hip, ultra-modern creation.
The nine exhilarating songs on Radio Mediteran span a wide spectrum from modern jazz piano to Balkan influences and Arabic folk music. This is also the first time the trio has included percussion and synthesisers, adding a pop element to the album. The fact that this bold fusion works so well is not only down to Klein’s skilful piano playing, but also to the subject matter. The nine songs revolve around the Mediterranean. “My band and I have a very personal connection to the Mediterranean, as we all grew up close to it,” says Omer Klein. “After a concert, Haggai, Amir and I often listen to music together in the hotel. During our “Sleepwalkers” tour I noticed that most of the music we were playing to each other was from North Africa, the Balkans or the Arab world. This realisation was the starting point for Radio Mediteran. Omer Klein became fascinated with the Mediterranean, studied its history, delved into his own past, explored cultural connections and kept listening to the music of the region. “Little by little, the Mediterranean seemed to me like a secret continent, a cultural area that has much more in common than many of its countries are aware of.” Nevertheless, it did not become a folkloric album, because, as Omer Klein says: “I didn’t want to copy the music. Instead we tried to absorb it and give it a new, personal context in order to ultimately perhaps even create a new genre.”
They succeeded. The opening piece is a good example of how Radio Mediteran works. Omer Klein takes us by the hand with a light piano motif, as if he were pulling us to the coast, rises up into the sky with the bass and drums, circles over countries and continents and, in a breathtaking final crescendo which also includes synthesisers and percussion, pulls us into the sea and beneath the surface of the water. “The song ‘Our Sea’ is very important to me. I think of all the moments in my youth when I stood on the beach, looked out to sea and imagined that on the other side there was also someone with similar worries, feelings and thoughts.” Even if the music – despite a song called ‘Protest’ – isn’t blatantly political, there are still some political undertones. But, says Klein: “My point is to make people aware that there is more that connects us than divides us. That is my political message. Our history shows that different cultures in the Mediterranean have positively influenced and enriched each other.”
Radio Mediteran leaves the listener inspired and optimistic in a constructive way – and welcomes fans of every genre, as well as anyone interested in exploring new sounds, with open arms: “In any case, I’ve observed that there is much less scepticism towards new genres,” says Omer Klein. “The jazz being played by musicians from my generation seems to be increasingly opening up borders. More and more young people are coming to our shows. Maybe we’ve actually entered a new era.”