Esther Kaiser has always been fascinated with strong and courageous personalities on this side of the Atlantic Ocean as well as beyond, her influences ranging from Eisler and Brecht to jazz artists like Abbey Lincoln and Max Roach.

“Actually, I was raised on the music of the 80s, but my mother’s record collection introduced me to Bob Dylan and Joan Baez’ political songs”, the vocalist reminisces. “We Shall Overcome, for instance, is one of the first songs I can remember, and I wanted to interpret it in such a way that the 1968 nostalgia and message translates into the now.”

Musically speaking, Esther Kaiser would like this project to bridge the gap between two worlds: Her long-standing Berlin band comprising of Tino Derado (p), Marc Muellbauer (b) and Roland Schneider (dr) meets two musicians from Syria and Iraq: Hasan Al Nour on the kanun and Akram Younus Ramadan Al-Siraj on cello.

The material from Courage references a wide range of stylistic origins – peace songs by Pete Seeger, tunes by Chick Corea, Suzanne Vega and the Beatles are connected through Esther Kaiser’s jazzy, worldmusic-infused sonic aesthetic. The pieces sometimes develop organically, as if they had always been interpreted this way; but sometimes, Esther Kaiser wants to rattle your cage – take, for example, the moment when you suddenly hear an oriental kanun in Bob Dylan’s song Masters of War – an instant, and instantly painful, reminder of how close it hits to home in today’s political situation.

«Esther Kaiser makes the profound seem playfully light. Herein lies her artistry.»

– Nürnberger Nachrichten

More information:

Click to enlarge: