Hans Lüdemann
Touching Africa

Aly Keita
Chander Sardjoe

Hans Lüdemann, piano/electronics (D)

Aly Keita, Balaphon/Sanza (Cote d‘Ivoire)

Chander Sardjoe, drums/percussion (NL)

TRIO IVOIRE Touching Africa

„Trio Ivoire shows that even in the 21st century discoveries are possible.“(JAZZthetik)

Trio The TRIO IVOIRE is unique in instrumentation and musical scope, melting personal roots of African, European and Jazz traditions and uniting African balafon with piano, drums and electronics to create a contemporary sound that is without comparison. This has little to do with traditional African music, but a lot with finding artistic expression in a globalized reality. On the search of transporting traditional African instruments into the modern world on one hand, looking for new ways of expression in piano and Jazz music on the other, two worlds are approaching each other that seem far apart.

Hans Lüdemann is pianist, composer and head of the TRIO IVOIRE. He is considered to be „one of the most original and expressive European pianists“ (Jazz Podium) or simply „one of the great pianists of German Jazz“ (Frankfurter Rundschau). In the TRIO IVOIRE his „distinct voice of his own“ (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung) on the piano connects to Aly Keita, the „magician of the balaphon“ from Ivory Coast whose breathtaking virtuosity and energy is hard to match. He and Lüdemann are „soul mates“ who have found each other across cultural boundaries. Dutch drummer Chander Sardjoe connects the musical worlds with his unique sound on the drums. Technically unlimited and with an Indian background, he gives great clarity even to the most complex rhythmic structures. The sparsely used electronic colors expand or contrast the acoustic instruments.

Altogether the three musicians create their own music beyond clichées - a joyful play of three exceptional personalities between traditions, visions and experiments. Especially when African polyrhythm and European polyphony unite or when the different backgrounds are emphasized is where the creative energies of the group emerge. The musical magic of TRIO IVOIRE connects Jazz back to Africa, finding a subtle balance between rich and complex rhythmic and musical structures and an emotional depth that can be touching - playing straight into the heart of the listener.

While the first CD „Trio Ivoire“, released by ENJA records in 2002 was recorded shortly after concert tours in WestAfrica, the new album „Touching Africa“ touches the continent from a distance. It is about the personal experiences on a long way the musicians have gone together. These are part of „Wenn du weite Wege gehst“ („when you go long ways“) by Hans Lüdemann as well as the quiet „Ha Iri“ by Aly Keita. Also the different viewpoints of African or European ears can be a source of inspiration as in „Doublé“ where a twobeat measure morphs into a 15/8 and back. Sometimes the musical statements are simple and songlike as in „Tatu“, sometimes they stretch into complex forms of almost classical architecture. Guest on the CD and often in concert is Tata Dindin, singer and Kora player from Gambia, who has worked in a duo with Lüdemann for a long time.

IVOIRE - IVORY, is a precious material. A special use is for the keys of high quality pianos, lending to the player a uniquely warm and sensual touch. COTE D‘IVOIRE - IVORY COAST is the country where Aly Keita was born, where he and Hans Lüdemann met and had their first big success with TRIO IVOIRE. These different connotations can be found in the group name as well as the mirroing of the letters (T) r i o (I v) o i r (e) - symbolic of the way, the trio plays with the tones. Also „river“, „to see“ and „riot“ could be found..... French is the common language of the group.

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TRIO IVOIRE Touching Africa

Hans Lüdemann has been in touch with Africa for a long time. His improvisations and compositions are inspired by African music. 1999 on his solo tour through West Africa, he met Aly Keita in a project of the Goethe-institute Abidjan. The premiere was a big success.
Further invitations to Abidjan followed, and the Trio Ivoire was founded.The first meeting was in Germany to record a radio production for the WDR, which came to be the first CD. As a drummer they chose one of the most individual European musicians, Paris-based British drummer Steve Argüelles.

In 2000 the TRIO IVOIRE had its first concert in Africa with immediate success.
The show in Abidjan was recorded and broadcasted on television. Since then they have been on many concert tours and festival, radio and tv appearances in Europe and Africa. Highlights have been the EXPO 2000, the Music Meeting Nijmegen 2002, Leverkusener Jazztage 2004, Münchener Klaviersommer 2005, „Public Viewing Festivals“ as part of FIFA-WM Germany in 2006. Also, the trio has appeared on different „official“ occasions such as the „Afrika-Forum“ of the German President in 2005.

Dutch drummer Chander Sardjoe played with the TRIO IVOIRE for the first time in 2003. Since 2007 he is the new drummer of the group.
The 2007 tour of West and South Africa was received with soldout concerts and standing ovations, showing the renewed energies of the TRIO IVOIRE.

CDs: Hans Lüdemann TRIO IVOIRE: Touching Africa (2006)
Tata Dindin & Hans Lüdemann: Kano (2005)
Hans Lüdemann: African Variations (2004)
TRIO IVOIRE: Trio Ivoire (2002)
Hans Lüdemann & Tata Dindin: Kora meets piano live (2001)

Kontakt: RISM-Edition, Postfach 1509, 51503 Rösrath, Deutschland

Booking: Udo Muszynski, Immanuelkirchstr. 20, 10405 Berlin, Deutschland
Udo.muszynski@t-online.de, Tel. 030 – 440 137 90

Hans Lüdemann, (piano/electronics)

Born 1961 in Hamburg, Germany.
1978/79 AFS-student in Los Angeles, USA.
Since 1982 in Köln, Germany

Studies in classical piano starting at age 6 and in 1980 - 81 at Hamburg Conservatory
Studies in Jazz piano1980 - 82 with Joachim Kühn, Jasper van`t Hof and Walter Norris
1985/86 at the Banff Centre, Canada, with Richard Beirach, Anthony Davis, Muhal Richard Abrams, Steve Coleman and Dave Holland, Kenny Wheeler, Toru Takemitsu.
At the Musikhochschule Köln, Germany, from 1982 - 88 with Frank Wunsch, Reiner Brüninghaus, Manfred Schoof, Jiggs Whigham. Hans Lüdemann was first to receive a master`s degree in Jazz piano in Germany.

"TRIO IVOIRE" with Aly Keita and Steve Argüelles. (CD ENJA Records 2002. 2006)
"Piano meets Kora" Duo Hans Lüdemann with Tata Dindin (CD NRW records 2005)
solo program "African Variations", (CD"African Variations" RISM-Edition 2003)
Duo with trumpet player Reiner Winterschladen (CD “Mysterious Call“, Konnex 2001)
The group "Hans Lüdemann RISM", founded in 1990, which released its third CD in 1998

Lüdemann was involved in a great number of CD- and album-releases, international tv and radio productions, concerts and festival appearances. This includes concert tours commissioned by the German Goethe Institute as well as important festivals such as Copenhagen, Barcelona and Berlin.
In 1997, Lüdemann was portrayed at the Musiktriennale Köln in two concerts.
He presented a festival project with TRIO IVOIRE, Tata Dindin & guests at the EXPO 2000.
Solo-Tours: 1998 USA , 1999 Westafrica, commissioned by the Goethe-Institute
2000 Canada, 2001 Havana/Cuba,
2002 Accompanieing German President Johannes Rau to South Africa/Mali

Collaborations with Eberhard Weber/Jan Garbarek, Paul Bley (Duo CD), Marc Ducret,
Mark Feldman, Toumani Diabaté, Heinz Sauer, Manfred Schoof, Gabriele Hasler,
Phil Minton, Jazzensemble des Hessischen Rundfunks.

As a composer, Lüdemann has worked for a wide range of instruments and settings, from piano pieces up to the orchestral work "Geschichte 2" (1988) and "Verloren ins weite Blau" ("Lost into the wide blue") (1994), a song cycle with large instrumental ensemble. Commission for WDR, Hessischer Rundfunk, Ensemble Indigo, Cologne Contemporary Orchestra. Since 2003 member of the federal jury for the German Rome prize/Villa Massimo.

Since 1993 Lüdemann is teaching Jazz piano and ensemble at Musikhochschule Köln.
Workshops together with Pierre-Laurent Aimard and Gerald Hambitzer.
Head of the "Creative Jazz Workshop" - European Academy Montepulciano/Italy since 2001.

Aly Keita (Balafon)

Aly Keita was born in 1969 in Abidjan/ Coast Ivory. He came from a Malinké-family which has practised the profession of the "Griots" for generations. Griots are traditional singers and musicians. At first Keita learned to play a traditional pentatonic balaphon. His teacher was Zouratié Coulibaly. In 1986 he met Georges Makinto who encouraged him to play jazz music. Keita also developed his own diatonic balaphon which opened up new possibilities and styles.

His experiences with Jazz gave him the opportunity to perform in Africa, Europe, USA and he became a well-known virtuoso player. Keita adapted the balaphon to many different musical styles. He has performed with internationaly reknown artists such as Pharaoh Sanders, Rhoda Scott, Camel Zekri, Lukas Ligeti, Gilles Renne, Philippe Sellam, Linley Marte, Etienne M'Bape, Michel Donéda, Xavier Charles, Sekouba Bambino, Paco Séry, Talib Kibwé, Masahiro Sayama, Akétagawa Shoji, Bernard Zadi, Hans Lüdemann and Steve Argüelles.

He creates all instruments by himself. Keita and his brothers even built the "biggest balaphon of the world". In behalf of the "Centre de formation et de promotion musicale" in Niamey/Niger Aly Keita gave lessons in traditional and modern music from 1989-1995. He was also teaching balaphon at the school of arts in his hometown Abidjan.

He recorded several CDs with Georges Makinto, with the bands "Beta Foly", "African Project" and "Trio Ivoire", with Paco Sery, Omar Sosa and Jean-Paul Bourelly. He also gives solo concerts and plans to record a solo-CD.

His most important festivals (1988-2000):

- "La Côte d'Ivoire au quotidien", Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (France)
- Festival "Africa Estate", Cagliari (Italy)
- Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin und Goethe-Institut München (Germany)
- Festival in Memphis/ Tennessee (USA)
- Wiener Oper (Austria)
- Festival de la Francophone, Limoges; Calvi Jazz-Festival, Korsika (France)
- "MASA Off" und "Energie Jazz", Abidjan (Coast Ivory)
- Fête de la Musique, Bangui (Africa)
- "Festival de l'eau" (Niger), "Jazz à Ouaga" (Burkina Faso)
- "Banlieues Bleues", "Sons d'Hiver", Paris; "Nuit atypique", Langon (France)
- Jazz Festival St. Louis (Senegal)

Chander Sardjoe (drums/ percussion)

Chander Sardjoe studied at the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam, Netherlands, using after hours to play in clubs with local bands. Besides the curriculum offered at the institute, he studied a lot of non western music and started researching South Indian Classical music from 1994.He learned the solfege system and other basics of Indian classical music, before going to Bangalore and Madras in 1995. There he studied with mridangist N.G Ravi, student to grandmaster Sivaraman.

After coming back to Amsterdam from this trip, he joined Steve Coleman’s band Secret Doctrine and played with 5 Elements and Metrics.
Always having taken a lot of time to "woodshed", slowly but surely the integration and application of non western musical concepts has developed into a very fluent yet articulated approach to the drums, that sounds deceptively easy .Besides having played with ensembles that try to expand their musical language, Chander has worked in a wide variety of musical situations, ranging from studiowork to opera, straight ahead jazz to contemporary classical music.

Besides having done free-lance work, Chander has played and or recorded with (selection):
Steve Coleman, Dave Liebman, Linley Marthe, James Genus, Ronan Guilfoyle, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Aydin Esen, Scott |Tinkler, Jamie Oehlers, Lee Konitz, Mark Turner, Geoffroy deMasure, Benoit Delbecq, Jean Luc Lehr, Andy Milne and many others. Chander has appeared on over 40 cd’s the last ten years and tours extensively with a list of renowned artists from various musical disciplines worldwide.

Since 1994 Chander has been teaching in conservatories worldwide and did masterclasses and workshops in renowned music institutes such as : -Sibelius Academy,Helsinki (Finland) -Musikhochschule Berlin(Germany) -Conservatory of Jyvaskylla, (Finland) – Royal Academy of Music ( London) and many more.

More info on myspace.com/chandersardjoe

TRIO IVOIRE - reviews
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The Trio Ivoire or the encounter of black and white keys
„At first sight it is hard to imagine, how musicians with such diverse backgrounds could create such a harmony and performance.... With its magic melodies and rhythms the trio, a mixture of Africa and Europe, has seduced even the ones who are normally not receptible to Jazz. (...) This encounter of the black and white keys of German pianist Hans Lüdemann and the sonoric waves from the wood of Ivorian balaphonist Aly Keita, all well-tempered through Anglo-Catalan drummer Steve Argüelles, comprises an African-European formation of highest originality - on the level of rhythm as well as sound. The secret consent in the heart of the group is so, that in certain moments one can not tell the notes of Hans Lüdemann`s piano from the ones of Aly Keita`s balaphon. (...) The least one can write is that on the 1st of March 2002, the globalisation has become all its sense.“
(L‘Inter, Abidjan, 2002)

Jazz in Nijmegen tops North Sea Jazz Festival
„ Jazz as musical cement played an important role in the performance of the absolute highlight of the festival, the Trio Ivoire. Drummer Steve Argüelles was building a bridge between Ivory Coast and Germany. The contrast between the crackling, rattling and sizzling balaphon of Aly Keita and the clear piano playing of Hans Lüdemann could not have been greater. But with subtle cymbal playing and rhythms full of fantasy Argüelles brought the two together. In the moments when Aly Keita took over the white keys and Lüdemann the black ones, it came to a blend of rare beauty. ... The music of the Trio Ivoire touches different connotations - from minimal music to wassoulou - but is impossible to be labelled.“
(NRC Handelsblad , NL, November 4, 2002)

Hypnotising musical flow - the amazing Trio Ivoire
„When you go long ways“ is a title of one of their pieces. And this is characteristic for the Trio Ivoire, the ivory trio, in a geographic sense: The musicians come from the West African Ivory Coast, from England and Germany. But long and new ways they go also in a musical sense. Their almost hypnotic musical flow is really „cooking“ - and at the same time it is intellectually stimulating. A mix of tradtion and experiment that found an enthusiastic audience...
The harmonic possibilities are stretched by pianist Hans Lüdemann in a elaborate way. Impressive his technique in incredibly fast repetitions, his rhythmic feel and his broad stylistic range. Sometimes he improvises ear-catching melodic lines from few notes like Keith Jarrett. Sometimes he uses the inside of the piano for avantgarde sounds.“
(HNZ Kassel, March 5, 2004)

a lively music full of freshness
„West African, jazzy, classical and minimal music elements melt in this trio into a lively music full of freshness. The Trio Ivoire gives the label „world music“ in Dortmund its own meaning.“
(Westfälische Rundschau, March 3, 2004)

Vision and energy - Trio Ivoire in the Brotfabrik
„Sometimes, for long contemplative minutes, the three are in all openess so close together and create such a complex horizon of events that one feels: the Trio Ivoire is about to mark a path completely their own in contemporary improvised music with visionary energy, far away from the motorways of world music, equally far away from the idiomatic influences of contemporary Jazz:“ (Frankfurter Rundschau, November 11, 2002)

The Trio Ivoire plays intelligent Afro Jazz
„The grown friendship, the familiarity with each others culture and the mutual respect have led to one of the most beautiful and colorful world music productions.“
(FAZ, July 27th 2002)

„The opener immediately sends the listener on a fascinating journey: the simple, almost folkoristic motif is excellently suited for charmingly interwoven excursions with a quality of sweeping seduction. Heart of the CD is the three part „Suite Africaine“ which introduces Argüelles and Keita with solos before all three play alonside the intricate polyrhythms of the tune with rich variaitons. This piece ist the only joint production while all other compositions are by Lüdemann. (...) Trio Ivoire shows that even in the 21st century, still discoveries are possible.“
(JAZZthetik, JulyAugust 2002)

„The trio finds an intimacy of chamber music, that in its integrative interlocking of African, Jazz and Classical elements reaches a quality that has not been heard of before.“
(Jazzpodium, June 2002)

„The African cooperations of Cologne pianist Hans Lüdemann are unusual in may respects. They contradict the usual way of decorating oneself with something African or, even worse, merely adapting it. We are talking of exchange on an equal level. (...) The result easily goes beyong all categorisation that could be helpful int e record store, but not in someones head. (...) What Hans Lüdemann puts together with Aly Keita has almost utopian breath.“
(StadtRevue. Köln Magazin, July 2002)

Jazz on piano and balafon
„Jazz lovers in Accra were recently held spellbound by a dramatic and successful fusion of western drums, piano and balafon during a magnificent concert at the Goethe-Institut Inter Nationes in Accra. (...) With tunes like „Bandiagara Blue“, „Home Coming“, „Les Adieux“, „Ella est là“ und „Cheikh Oumar Bah“ Trio Ivoire exposed on extraordinary meeting of African and European rhythms that virtually stirred the hearts and minds of the audience. As the night wore on, the audience could not help but admire the compositions and improvisations by Lüdemann which are deeply rooted in jazz, European traditional and modern music. The compositions, most of which were inspired by African music enabled the crowd to experience at first hand the power of creativity and ingenuity of musicians.“
(Graphic Showbiz, Ghana, 2002)