Itamar Erez will perform together with Liron Man and François Houle on Sept. 11 at VCC Music Auditorium. (photo from CWR)
On Sept. 11, Itamar Erez takes to the stage with two of his “favorite musicians on earth”: Liron Man and François Houle.
Presented by Caravan World Rhythms, World Trio will take place at Vancouver Community College Music Auditorium. Just last month, Erez returned from Germany and Tunisia; he leaves for Colombia about a week and a half after the VCC concert.
“It has been busy and not always easy touring,” Erez admitted to the Independent, “but the thing is that I really enjoy sharing my music with new audiences around the world and it gives me more energy and enthusiasm to continue in my way and to create and perform.
“This year, I have played in Germany, Austria, Cyprus, India, the U.S.A., Canada, Tunisia, to name a few places. Tunisia was definitely a highlight. I played with Omar Faruk Tekbilek, the great sufi musician, in front of 6,000 people, got to visit the old city of Carthage and Sousse, and enjoyed the good Tunisian food and their warm hospitality. This summer, I also performed (with my percussionist, Yshai Afterman) at the Jewish Museum in Berlin, which was great. And, a few days later in Freiburg, we collaborated with Iranian musicians from Isfahan in a program called Face to Face – Music from Iran and Israel. It was really an amazing experience.”
Last year was also a remarkable one for Israel-born Erez, and not just for his many performances. Adding to the honors he has received over the years for his work, he garnered the 2014 ACUM and Landau prizes for special achievement in jazz.
Erez has two CDs with the Adama Ensemble – Desert Song (2006) and Hommage (2010) – and one with Afterman, New Dawn (2013). About his work with Afterman, a fellow Israeli, he said, “This duet has been working since 2011 and is touring extensively in Europe and Asia. We are very proud of this CD – in a duet setting, there is a lot of freedom to each musician, but at the same time you cannot hide behind other musicians. There is a lot more responsibility to each of us, so it is very challenging.
“Antonio Serrano, master of the harmonica, who collaborated for a long time with Paco De Lucía, until his [De Lucía’s] recent death, is a special guest on this album and can be heard in two tracks,” added Erez, who is currently working on new material for an upcoming CD.
Erez (piano and guitar) will be joined by Man (handpan and percussion) and Houle (clarinet) at VCC.
“I have known François for a long time,” said Erez. “He premièred some of my music when I lived in Vancouver at the end of the ’90s. I was always impressed by his creativity and musical skills but we never got to collaborate together until now. François is a musician who can play anything, in any style, and always keep his own unique voice.
“Liron is a good friend and a brilliant musician,” he continued. “We started together the Lavo Ensemble in Israel about two years ago and toured there. Liron is one of the best handpan (known also as Pantam or Hang) player in the world, and a great flamenco guitarist. His energy for making music is really contagious.”
Since this past July, Erez once again calls Vancouver home. When he returns from Colombia, where he will play with the Lavo Ensemble, he will have a solo guitar set at West Coast Guitar Night on Oct. 17 at the Cultch. “I will also be teaching at the VSO School of Music starting this fall,” he noted.
Now that he has moved back, there will hopefully be many more opportunities to hear him play.
VCC Music Auditorium is at 1155 East Broadway St. Tickets for the Sept. 11, 8 p.m., concert are $20/$30 in advance from caravanbc.com or 1-800-838-3006, and $25/$35 at the door (students receive a $5 discount).