In his journeys all over the world Stephan Micus seeks to study and understand traditional instruments, the sounds that they produce and the cultures that brought them to life. He then composes original pieces for them, combining instruments that would never normally be heard together, chosen from different cultures simply for their character, texture and sonic beauty. Nomad Songs is his 21st album for ECM; he plays nine different instruments, but emphasizes two he hasn’t used before: The first is the Moroccan genbri, a lute covered with camel-skin, played by the Gnawa in Morocco.
The second is the ndingo, a lamellophone similar to the kalimba, used by the San people in Botswana. These indigenous inhabitants of Southern Africa have been pushed off their land and marginalized by the new nation states. With the album’s title Micus, who sees himself as a musical nomad, refers to both the situation of people like the Gnawa and the San as well as his own way of working and living.