One of Canada’s most versatile and exciting musicians, Mohamed Assani‘s new album Wayfinder is a mighty artistic statement spanning many genres and traditions, experimental and bold, yet grounded in peace and freedom of spirit.
Mohamed Assani is an award-winning sitar player and composer, known for being a proactive ambassador for his rich musical tradition. He has brought the sitar to new audiences through innovative, genre-bending collaborations. According to the Georgia Straight, “Assani is both deeply rooted in the artistic traditions of South Asia and a one-of-a-kind innovator.”
Watch Mohamed’s incredible live presence in these incredible Youtube videos below.
Wayfinder is an act of gathering and discovery. It is the story of a musician-explorer who has journeyed the world and now has come home to empty his pockets and share his treasures.
Contemporary Polynesians refer to Wayfinders as the ‘astronauts of our ancestors’. These navigators found their way by watching celestial bodies, listening to winds, feeling the swell of waves slapping on the hull of the canoe. They tried to be like birds, because birds always have a relation with the edges of the horizon.
Musical traveller Mohamed Assani takes his sitar in a completely new and unexpected direction— bringing together unforeseen musical worlds in an original album that relentlessly pushes at the frontiers of cultural and musical hybridity. Using a refreshing, contemporary sound palette, Wayfinder incorporates a range of stylistic influences, including Indian/Pakistani Classical, North African music, Middle Eastern music, jazz, funk, Western harmony, ambient & electronic music and more. Both acoustic and electronic, it features sitar, tabla, mridangam, kanjira, mbira, voice and electronic sounds. It has been produced by Emmy and Juno-nominated music producer, Adham Shaikh.
This album of original music was created over many nights, between midnight and 5am, in the middle of the rainforest in the Kootenay Mountains of B.C., Canada. There were bears and cougars and other wildlife always close by and that wild atmosphere is captured in the music.
More about Mohamed Assani
Mohamed Assani is a celebrated sitar player and composer known for being a proactive ambassador for his rich musical tradition. Throughout his extensive career, he has brought the sitar to new audiences through innovative collaborations that have stretched the boundaries of his instrument. He has performed Hindustani classical music as well as his own original music across the globe — with orchestras, string quartets, hip hop artists, DJs, world music ensembles, jazz artists, Indian & Pakistani classical artists — and as a soloist. Mohamed has been invited to present his music to royalty and heads of state, including the Governor General of Canada, Royal Family of Dubai and HRH Prince Karim Aga Khan.
According to the Georgia Straight Newspaper, “Assani is both a musician who’s deeply rooted in the artistic traditions of South Asia and a one-of-a-kind innovator who’s bent on
ensuring that those age old forms will survive, and grow, in the modern era. Vancouver’s world music scene – already one of the best anywhere – might be about to get a whole lot more interesting.”
His most recent project has been co-composing a concerto for sitar and orchestra alongside composer John Oliver. This was premiered by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra in November 2017. The piece was hailed as a “spectacular success” and “a triumph” by Musicworks Magazine.
Mohamed’s musical journey began at Dartington College of Arts in England, where he did a degree in Western Classical and World music. He then went on to learn sitar in the traditional way and is a senior disciple of Ustad Ashraf Sharif Khan of the Poonch Gharana.
Mohamed is a leader in his field – forging new paths for his music to develop and grow, while remaining committed to the rich depths and roots from which his tradition has emerged. He is based in Vancouver, Canada.