The Crest of a Wave

The Crest of a Wave. The title came to me when I decided to record this album; at the time things really did feel like they were peaking. We had some problems with the recording, we lost a song, and things went on hold as we had to wait for Stephen to fly over from Spain. During that time my father was diagnosed with lung cancer, stage four.

It gave me an opportunity to write him a song, record it, and fly over to Houston and play at the lobby of the hotel associated with the cancer hospital. Since then he passed away. It seems that the wave has crashed. A lot of good has passed too. I look around and I see a smile in the distance. Here comes another wave and we sway with the sea...

Ya Nada

This is a call to my love across seas, mountains, tall buildings, and all types of weather - mainly through phone and texts (a bow to technology for being a medium of synchronicity - such as, on so many occasions, receiving a text at the same second I'm sending one). 

Shou Hellou

Title means "Oh so pretty"; for you the listener to dedicate to whatever/whoever fancies your eye - from the cucaracha that has lost two legs and now has a heavier funkier edge to its walk, to your grandmother's doting eyes as you (still) smear your face when you  eat ice-cream, to being humbled by the innocence of naturalness as you unintentionally catch a passing glimpse in the mirror

Dreaming while awake

In a world where "News" can turn your stomach inside out on a daily basis and compel you to look away, this songs calls to dream, actively, with intention of realising a dream, of a better world.

I'm Back

This song is dedicated to a little plant (see fuzzy picture), one of many, that managed to break through the concrete and show its head to the sky - for plants, close, distant, and unknown friends.

With You

This was written and played for my father when he was diagnosed and treated for lung cancer. He has since passed away. His name is Oussama Moukaddem. If you feel inclined, please send a wish or a prayer his way.

Younani

"Younani" means a Greek guy in Lebanese. Specifically, this song is for my friend Yannis Lykos (identity revealed should you wish to track him down and stalk him with aubergines). Initially this song had a different title - ask a Greek how they say "General Medicine", and then repeat the same words to a Lebanese.

The distance between us

I'm not sure how one can write a tune about the difference between how one experiences themselves and how they are perceived by others, but, there you have it, this is what I ended up coming up with when reflecting on this. Incidently, there's a few places on this take where Brendan and I unintentionally deviated from the written score. Although there's a more perfect take, I opted for this one as it is truer to the tune's title.

Karim vs. The Fake Beards

This is based on an actual incident that occurred sometime in 1984 where my brother, on his way back from horse riding with a female friend, was kidnapped for a couple of hours by 4 armed militia men belonging to a certain religious group. They attempted to preach the sins of going horse riding with a female, however, he was well versed in the book they claimed to follow, and, to their surprise, was able to argue with them. Two days after his release, it transpired that these men have been sent by the jealous neighbour of my brother's friend. The specific religion of the group is irrelevant as this story generalizes throughout the world to those who deviate from the essence of the causes they seek to follow. The tune is in four movements: 1) Danger approaching, 2) Interrogation, 3) Release, 4) Manic Jubilation.

March of the Lemmings

Lemmings that march off the cliff - I have yet to hear of accounts of Lemmings spontaneously growing wings as they jump and fly away to realize their dreams, however, proof or no proof, this is dedicated to realizing dreams against all odds.

Bringing on the day

Inspired by Gilad Atzmon who I've seen and heard, through music and words, speak of the injustices committed  against the Palestinian and Iraqi people. The title searches for the means that would bring on the day where humane conditions would prevail. Since the recording of this piece, Lebanon's prime minister has been assassinated, bringing the country I grew up in, and the Arab region, into further instability
  • Sami Moukaddem: guitars (electric and nylon string)
  • Brendan Doyle: Alto and tenor saxophones, clarinet
  • Myles Drennan: percussion and piano
  • Fadi Hatoum: darbuka and daff
  • Jose Carlos Flores: electric bass
  • Stephen Keogh: percussion on tracks 8 and 9.
Album recorded: September 29 & 30, 2004, and January 24th, 2005.
All compositions, arrangements, and production, by Sami Moukaddem.
Reviews: 
"Born in Lebanon, based here for years, guitarist and composer Sami Moukaddem draws fruitfully on his Middle Eastern heritage to create this fascinating jazz hybrid. It's a seamless union; neither the compositions nor the performances depend  on exoticism to make an impact. Leading a superior quintet of Brendan Doyle (alto/tenor/clarinet), Myles Drennan (percussion/piano), Fadi Hatoum (darbuka/daff) and Jose Carlos Flores (electric bass), with drummer Stephen Keogh guesting on two tracks, Moukaddem takes them through a rhythmically beguilling set of pieces to enjoyable effect. If Moukaddem's affinity for the material is a given, Doyle's is remarkable. He's in brilliant form here, constantly conjuring up improvisations that seem woven indissolubly from the evocative fabric of the guitarist's originals. One to savour." - Ray Comiskey, Irish Times, Friday 1st December 2005
"Irish-based Lebanese guitarist Sami Moukaddem continues his quest to unite the music of his homeland with jazz. To assist him, he has recruited two of Ireland's finest jazz musicians, pianist Myles Drennan and saxophonist Brendan Doyle, as well as percussionist Fadi Hatoum and bassist Jose Carlos Flores. Blending traditional Arabic grooves with contemporary jazz harmony, Moukaddem has crafted a fascinating album, reminiscent of similar blends by Rabih Abou-Khalil and Gilad Atzmon, and Doyle, in particular, rises to the occasion." - Cormac Larkin, Sunday Tribune, 13th November 2005