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Esthema, a World Fusion ensemble out of Boston, MA (USA) creates their unique sound by fusing elements from the traditional music of the Eastern European Balkan region and the Near & Middle East with Progressive Rock and various styles of Jazz. The...
Esthema, a World Fusion ensemble out of Boston, MA (USA) creates their unique sound by fusing elements from the traditional music of the Eastern European Balkan region and the Near & Middle East with Progressive Rock and various styles of Jazz. The five musicians that shape the sound of Esthema bring together both Western and Eastern influences, instruments, and musical concepts.
Members of Esthema have spent a lifetime cultivating their individual musical voices. Onur Dilisen (violin) was born, raised, and began his studies in Turkey. In May 2009, Onur graduated from the Boston Conservatory with his Master’s Degree in violin performance. Tery Lemanis (oud & bouzouki), a graduate from Berklee College of Music’s guitar performance program studied bouzouki, oud, and Byzantine music in Greece as part of Berklee’s exchange program. Bruno Esrubilsky (drums & percussion), from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil has studied, taught, and toured throughout Europe (Ireland, England, Portugal, Belgium, and Spain), Brazil, and the States and is currently enrolled at Berklee College of Music, majoring in Performance and Contemporary Writing and Production. Ignacio Long (bass), born in Patagonia, Argentina, has studied, taught, and performed in Buenos Aires, New York, and Boston. In 2007 Ignacio graduated from Berklee College of Music where he majored in Composition and Film Score. Andy Milas (guitar) has studied privately with some of Boston’s most acclaimed guitar instructors - Joe Stump, Garrison Fewell and Bruce Bartlett. For almost two decades, Andy has performed traditional and contemporary Greek music and has performed with, and written and arranged for various Progressive Rock and Metal, New Age, and Jazz projects. As people, the individuals in Esthema come from very different places with very different experiences. As musicians, they bring those places and experiences together into one musical setting.
Esthema’s first CD, Apart From The Rest (released July 2007) was voted as one of the Top 25 independent recordings of 2008 at Indie-Music.com and in 2009 compositions from the CD were chosen and featured at the critically acclaimed Waterfire Providence in Providence, Rhode Island. The six compositions that make up the CD were written by Andy Milas and arranged by the entire ensemble. Joel Simches from Boston’s Noise Magazine stated, “this recording is nothing less than a true celebration of a number of different styles of world beat, jazz, rock, ethnic European and Middle Eastern traditional music” and John Collinge from Progression Magazine called it “a seamless blend of Eastern and Western motifs: Ethnic scales and meters intertwine delightfully with jazz-rock drums and bass beneath jazzy improv and winding melodies.”
In 2009, Esthema released their second CD, the Hereness and Nowness of Things and once again they have blurred the boundaries between Eastern and Western music. Lily Emeralde and Emma Dyllan of Phosphorescence Magazine call it “a world-class collaboration of the highest order” and that “once again, Esthema dazzles.” Todd Sikorski of Skope Magazine calls it “an emotional experience that is dramatic and cinematic.”
With the success of Apart From The Rest and the release of the Hereness and Nowness of Things, Esthema’s efforts will continue to concentrate on building a stronger domestic and international fan base through reviews, distribution, radio, and performances.
...weaves us in and out of a perfectly crafted dre by —Lily Emeralde and Emma Dyllan In 2007, Boston-based instrumental group Esthema, released a CD entitled, "Apart From The Rest." This "World Fusion Ensemble" consists of five members merging the sounds of violin, oud/bouzouki,...
...excellent musicianship by —Jamie Anderson, Indie-Music.c I’ve gotta come clean and tell you that I’m a bellydancer and I love jazz. I want to kiss my editor for sending me this disc. It’s a perfect combination of Middle Eastern/East European folk music...
...weaves us in and out of a perfectly crafted dre by —Lily Emeralde and Emma Dyllan In 2007, Boston-based instrumental group Esthema, released a CD entitled, "Apart From The Rest." This "World Fusion Ensemble" consists of five members merging the sounds of violin, oud/bouzouki, drums/doumbek, bass, and guitar. It is a blending of Eastern and Western traditions that bring myriad flavors to the table resulting in a wonderful international resonance. Within each of the six compositions featured on the CD, different styles and genres such as Middle Eastern, Jazz, and Progressive Rock are effortlessly pulled in and led away, only to reappear, forming a lovely circle of sound that fully engages the listener. "For Whom? For Me…" is one such example where these many pieces are smoothly rolled into one. Likewise on "Erimos," which keeps moving at a steady, upbeat pace that holds the listener's attention. Our favorite was "Distance," with the haunting beginning of a classical arrangement that then rises to a crescendo, and weaves us in and out of a perfectly crafted dream-world. This is the place where one can entirely appreciate the talent of these musicologists. Bravo!***** The Best!
...excellent musicianship by —Jamie Anderson, Indie-Music.c I’ve gotta come clean and tell you that I’m a bellydancer and I love jazz. I want to kiss my editor for sending me this disc. It’s a perfect combination of Middle Eastern/East European folk music and American jazz, like an amped-up Loreena McKennitt without vocals. This quintet has studied all over the world, and with excellent musicianship, they smoothly turn out originals centered around the beautiful melodies played on oud, bouzouki (both members of the lute family prominent in Middle Eastern music) and violin with bass, drums and guitar providing the support.
It’s the drums and bass that give these compositions an American jazz sound. Missing are the distinctly polyrhythmic Middle Eastern beats. In fact, if you isolated the rhythm section you’d find a pretty standard jazz base. Very well-played and creative, to be sure, but definitely not Turkish or Egyptian. The same goes for the bass and guitar. It’s the gorgeous minor melodies played on the other stringed instruments that serve as a centerpiece for this recording and really make them stand out from the crowd of bands doing “world music.” (Can I say how much I hate that term? Everything is world music. It’s just a label slapped on some bands by folks who think anything outside of the states is exotic.)
On “Consequence” the violin and bouzouki do a very cool call and answer, then join together for musical phrases. (Please forgive me if I confuse the oud and bouzouki. There aren’t separate credits for each cut and to my ear, they have a similar sound.) It quiets for a section then the bouzouki becomes the focus, ably backed by the drums and bass. There are several more sections – like a good jazz jam with lots of tasty melody – and towards the end is another call and answer. Beautiful. “For Whom? For Me …” is in an odd time that compliments the melody. Every good jazz band has a few tunes in something besides 4/4. “Apart From the Rest” really lets the band stretch and show off their chops with each of them taking a solo and no, the bass solo doesn’t suck. This isn’t some garage band, y’all, they know their stuff.
I should send roses to my editor for giving me this disc. As for everyone else – go hear Esthema live – they seem to play in Massachusetts and New York mostly – or buy their disc. Don’t bother with the flowers.
...a truly exciting instrumental record by —Rob Forbes, Leicester Bangs Although they call Massachusetts home, Esthema mix up progressive Western rock styles with Eastern European folk and Middle Eastern influences on their debut album, ‘Apart From The Rest’. They call it ‘world fusion’, and that’s as good a name as any for a form of music which seems to encompass such a large part of the planet. The Middle Eastern influence is especially enticing and in parts it reminds me of Jaz Coleman and Anne Dudley’s ‘Songs From The Victorious City’ album, at other times the references are less obvious, though no less captivating. Overall, a truly exciting instrumental record, which should appeal to musical adventurers everywhere. Their Myspace page offers four of the seven tracks to audition and if they hook you, then CD Baby has it available for purchase.
...the seamless blend of Eastern and Western motif by —John Collinge, Progression, I Esthema is a Massachusetts-based quintet that performs traditional Eastern/Latin (gypsy, Greek, samba) music with a solid jazz-rock foundation and flowing improvisation. I’d liken much of it to the music by those old guys who serenade the belly dancer at your local Middle Eastern restaurant – only on steroids.
The propulsive rhythms and consequent ability to build dynamic tension on a track such as “Distance,” for example, is what sets Esthema apart from a purely traditional ensemble. That, plus the seamless blend of Eastern and Western motifs: Ethnic scales and meters intertwine delightfully with jazz-rock drums and bass beneath jazzy improv and winding melodies. “Finding My Way” is a great example of the band combining these disparate elements with a melody you can hum it.
Onur Dilisen’s authoritative violin leads are complemented by Tery Lemanis on oud and bouzouki for the undeniable ethnic flavor, while drummer/percussionist Carl Sorensen adds flair via djembe and doumbek. Acoustic guitarist Andy Milas and bassist Jack Mason provide the contemporary “glue” bringing it all together.
...a unique listening experience by —Todd Sikorski, Skope Magazine While many may find the new age-jazz-rock fusion genre to be as pretentious as a Sting discourse on global warming and tantric sex, there is a band out there that might please even those critics. The Massachusetts-based Esthema is a promising quintet who has just released the enjoyable Apart From The Rest which works well because of the band’s top-notch musicianship.
Best of all, Esthema has added something else to the normally staid jazz-rock sound – a heavy Eastern European influence – that makes the six instrumentals on Apart From The Rest a unique listening experience. Every song features an impressive blending of genres with a typical example being the track “For Whom? For Me.” The song has a Moroccan influence but there is also an American jam-band vibe to it as Onur Dilisen impresses with his violin playing much like DMB’s Boyd Tinsley.
While there is some jazz freeform stuff going on underneath in some of the songs, Esthema also knows how to play a song with hooks and melody as the standout “Finding My Way” shows. With the right lyrics, that track could have easily found its way onto the radio.
For all of this to work, the musicians obviously have to be gifted and all here know exactly what they are doing. The most impressive are Andy Milas who does great acoustic steel guitar on “Consequence,” Carl Sorensen who provides a solid backbone with his strong drumming, and Tery Lemanis who plays the European stringed instruments the oud and bouzouki particularly well throughout the recording.
a truly moving and magical musical experience by —Wildy Haskell, Wildy's World Esthema is a World Fusion ensemble based in Boston, MA that deserves your attention. Drawing on musical styles from Eastern Europe, and the Middle East and combining them with Prog and Jazz themes is worth a listen, even if simply in respect for the sheer audacity this takes. Esthema has the goods to match its audacity with talent, reminding us all that it's only bragging if you can't back it up.
Apart From The Rest is ultimately listenable and memorable, taking your mood from Eastern European Café to Saudi Bazaar and back again. You'll tap your feet and find yourself dancing in your seat even if you're not the sort to do so. "Erimos" is a true gem here, slowing down the thought process but branching out to places you couldn't imagine a little instrumental EP going to. "Finding My Way" sounds like it should have been the soundtrack to My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and you'll find the melody winding its way through your noggin long after the CD has stopped playing.
This reviewer is not generally a huge fan of instrumental records, as it is easy for instrumentalists to become self-derivative within the space of an album, but Esthema has made a truly moving and magical musical experience. They are definitely worth your time.
Esthema knows what the heck it’s doing... by — Jedd Beaudoin, Sea of Tranqu No two words scare a body like mine like world music do. Most of the time, the stuff’s created by a bunch of well-intentioned lads who drive expensive cars, wear fancy clothes and have a lot of liberal guilt over their immense financial superiority. The results are usually powerful enough to turn goat pee into rancid goat pee as said lads rarely take the time to learn how to play the instruments they claim to fascinated with. Often, they lock into a single idea, get their “we be jammin’” shtick on and go from there. Sure, I paint in broad strokes, have probably offended your Saab-toting uncle Walter (who just happens to wear suspenders and look a little bit like Barry Levinson to say nothing of how he won the county oud carving contest last summer). But all that offensive jargon, lads, was to let you know that Esthema knows what the heck it’s doing. With fine refined compositions such as “Consequence,” “For Whom? For Me” and “Finding My Way,” the Massachusetts-based quintet makes the case for not giving up on world music just yet.
Great Stuff by — TAXI, The World's Leading In I found lots to enjoy in this distinctive, very well played and solidly produced hybrid of musics. The writing was a very appealing hybrid of the music of several locales, with some Gypsy, Moroccan and Eastern European flavors. The sound of the strong violin, in combination with the guitar and Middle Eastern sounding stringed instrument (bouzouki), reminded me a good bit of Shakti, John McLaughlin's acoustic World music band, though that band was tilted more towards India and yours leans more towards Europe/Middle East. The playing was high quality and impassioned by all. The rhythm section was flexible and played with authority. Great stuff.
Recommended and very enjoyable listen! by —Phsyche Music , August 2008 The most amazing thing about Esthema is that all members, despite having mastered whole different styles… (-Turkish born Onur Dilisen on violin is busy finishing his masters degree on violin at Boston Conservatory ; Tery Lemanis on oud/bouzouki graduated for guitar at Berklee College of Music while also having included a study on Bouzouki, Oud, and Byzantine music in Greece as part of the university’s exchange program ; Brazil born Bruno Esrubilsky on drums/percussion experienced a period of touring, teaching and studying throughout Europe, now joined in through Berkeley ; Argentine born Ignacio Long on bass has studied in Brazil, New York, and Boston for Composition and Film Score at Berkeley College of Music ; Andy Milas on guitar has been performing traditional and contemporary Greek music for over a decade throughout New England, but also arranged for Progressive Rock, Greek, New Age, and Jazz musical projects), together they manage to fuse and transform a resume of their skills into one fruitful unity with a more global style, and with each previous style completely adapted into one another. They perform with a sort of jazz-fusion improvised strength, which directs the music with some melodic flows, combined with the skilful rhythmical structures which have always micro rhythms available and subtle separate cooperative layers in them -which sound logical and easy, but which aren’t-, played by mostly cooperative-dialoguing paired or sometimes single instruments.
The acoustic guitar on its own could easily range from Spanish, Western and Greek flavours reaching out hands to the bouzouki/oud player while adding elements to the other members. The oud/bouzouki takes its own freedom, just a little bit more of a jazz nature in doing so, but with ideas coming forth from Greek and Middle Eastern music. The drums make many micro-rhythms possible, are skilful like jazz, but can handle art-rock, and adds moments of surprises and change with Latin/Cuban rhythms, without ever letting those new moments take over the flow of the melody drives, or the previous basic scale (especially great on “finding my way”). Also the bass player manages to add such Latin swing surprises amongst a more usual jazz-rock drive. The violin player has improvisations on top (comparable in nature to what happened in Curved Air or Mahavishnu Orchestra, but with a different flavour), in some way mixes a jazz-fusion freedom with an mid-eastern touch. Some of the used rhythmic scales are incredibly interesting like the 4+5/8 rhythm (-if I count right-), on “Distance”, and the brilliant, very unusual parts of even more combined rhythms on the closing track “apart from the rest”, which are (Ii think) adapted from Arab scales.
On the website they give a bit more detail into how they play Western Jazz improvisation and Eastern Taxims, Latin Samba and Eastern Kasilama, Western modes like Aeolian and Phrygian and Eastern Scales/Maqams like Hijaz, Sabah, and Niavent, for those who know what this all means in detail.
Recommended and very enjoyable listen!
...nothing less than a true celebration by —Joel Simches, The Noise - Bos This recording is nothing less than a true celebration of a number of different styles of world beat, jazz, rock, ethnic European and Middle Eastern traditional music. The passion for the music cannot be understated, nor can the sense that these styles can breathe anew in this collection of songs. Though the five musicians themselves hail from different parts of the earth, the global chemistry between them is obvious, like five minds MIDI-linked without latency issues. It is refreshing to hear schooled musicians playing together and not simply showing off their chops. Though there are several opportunities for each individual to shine within the framework of these six pieces, this album is a true collaboration of musical sensibilities. This CD will be in my player for some time to come.
Editor Picks: Top 25 CDs of 2008 by Indie-Music.com This disc features a sharp blend of Middle Eastern and Eastern European melodies with American jazz, played on oud, bouzouki, violin, bass, drums and more. Some cuts make me want to order a few beers and dance; others, sit still and nod my head, a martini in front of me. I love that there's a very in-the-moment feel with some songs, like a good jazz jam. I'll bet Coltrane and Parker would have loved this release. (Reviewed by Jamie Anderson)
Boston’s Esthema may be one of the most original a by Wildy's World Boston’s Esthema may be one of the most original acts we’ve come across. A World Fusion band that takes that label to heart, Esthema blends Eastern European, Middle Eastern, South American and Far Eastern Sounds with Progressive Rock and Classical elements to create magic. Esthema released their debut album, Apart From The Rest in 2007, receiving significant positive press. They follow up on November 3, 2009 with their sophomore effort, The Hereness And Nowness Of Things.
Esthema leads off with Change Of Season, mixing Western, Middle Eastern and Far Eastern sounds in a dynamic musical composition that sounds like it should the opening score element of a major motion picture. The piece has a highly distinctive sound and style and is very enjoyable. The cultural genre-bending continues on Eastern Dance. Highly energetic and danceable, Eastern Dance varies significantly from the sort of popularized dance music currently in vogue, relying on pulsing and morphing organic rhythms that travel from percussion to strings and back again. The focus changes slightly on the Mediterranean flavored A Place To Rest before Esthema returns to a grand cinematic feel for Arrhythmia. Nuanced and vibrant, A Place To Rest co-mingles Middle Eastern and old world Spanish styles and sounds in pleasurable ways.
Four Colors features a vibrant, almost frantic energy in an explosively energetic dance number before Esthema rolls into Illusion Of Truth. Illusion Of Truth has a cloudy feel to it, with a theme that's roiled and punctuated by turbulence. It's as if "facts" and "truth" collide atmospherically in a cycle that never ends, winding and unwinding throughout the composition sparking sometimes storms and sometimes unsettled skies. Esthema closes out with the "Pop-iest" selection on the disc. On & On has a serene feel that's neither ethereal nor ambient but lends to a sense of transcendence. You can almost hear an arrangement of this forthcoming from Keith Lockhart.
We noted that Esthema's Apart From The Rest was a magical musical experience. On The Hereness And Nowness Of Things, Esthema leaves behind the magical world for the gritty, earthy charm of The Mediterranean, where culture upon culture washes upon the shore with sometimes unpredictable outcomes. The Hereness And Nowness Of Things is a musical breadbasket where loaves and fishes mix in fantastical ways and there's always enough to fulfill you as a listener, no matter how many times you return.
A listener can't go wrong with The Hereness and No by - Phosphorescence Magazine Boston's Esthema offers a world-class collaboration of the highest order. Their sophomore CD, The Hereness and Nowness of Things, is currently being released, and once again, Esthema dazzles. The eight instrumental tracks each have a distinct flavor, with the overall common theme of changes in tempo that build excitement and mystery, while enriching the texture of each composition. "Change of Season," an exotic Arabian nights interlude, and "Four Colors" perfectly illustrate pace changes that blend seamlessly into each other and journey full circle to a satisfying conclusion. "Arrhythmia" is a slightly otherworldly piece that gets under your skin, as its base and rhythm keep time with your heart. Or sample "Forward Motion," a bold but sweet, skillful intermingling of sounds. Throughout the CD, the individual instruments of guitar, violin, oud and bouzouki, bass, and drums, take on a persona of their own in each song, as they guide our feelings and emotions to follow wherever they lead. A listener can't go wrong with The Hereness and Nowness of Things; there is much to love.
...an emotional experience that is dramatic and ci by - Todd Sikorski, Skope Mag Boston isn’t known as a major player in world music but that doesn’t mean it isn’t home to some fine bands who love to play the more complex and unconventional sounds associated with the genre. Need proof, just listen to Esthema’s latest cd The Hereness and Nowness of Things which expands on the charms of the group’s debut Apart from the Rest by tackling new ways to fuse European, Middle Eastern, and American music together.
In the past, Esthema has successfully incorporated music from the Eastern European Balkan area and the Near/Middle East with the sounds of progressive rock and jazz. The result gave the band a distinct personality as it flawlessly blended such traditional Western instruments as the guitar, bass, and drums with Eastern instruments such as the oud and bouzouki.
Now, as apparent from listening to the all-instrumental The Hereness and Nowness of Things, the five members of Esthema sound even more confident as they are willing to add folk rhythms from Eastern European dances to its songs. The tracks “Eastern Dance” and “Arrhythmia” are the best examples of this as the stringed instruments played by Andy Milas (guitar), Onur Dilisen (violin), and Tery Lemanis (oud and bouzouki) sparkle by giving off a nice groove.
While songs like these showcase the band’s willingness to add new textures to its sound, the most enjoyable stuff on this recording are the songs that are more like the stuff heard on the group’s debut. However, this time things are more complex. The opening track entitled “Change of Season” is a nine-minute epic that feels more classical in nature because of its numerous tempo changes and glorious violin and cello work. Best of all, it gives the listener an emotional experience that is dramatic and cinematic.
Another standout is “On and On” which is definitely the most accessible track on The Hereness and Nowness of Things. The first half of the song is pleasant enough with an understated violin and guitar but the second half is where Esthema lets loose with its rockier side. The most impressive aspect to it is Milas’ guitar work which is propelled beautifully by the steady rhythm section of bassist Ignacio Long and drummer Bruno Esrubilsky.
In the end, Esthema’s sophomore release should be experienced as a whole though because there is no filler here. In fact, the band shows on the cd that it is talented enough to be a player in the world music scene—and not only in Boston, but anywhere.
Esthema seems to have a solid grasp of what the he by - Kevin Kozel, Muzik Reviews The band Esthema may hail from Boston, but it is the diverse makeup of the band that makes them so unique. The world fusion quintet contains some members from Turkey, Brazil, and Argentina. They are all thoroughly trained musicians, and to add to their range, some of them have trained throughout several countries in Europe, including Spain, Greece, Belgium, and Ireland. Putting all of these pieces together, Esthema brings something original on their second release, The Hereness and Nowness of Things.
Esthema’s first release, Apart From the Rest was composed of six tracks that were written by guitarist Andy Milas. They were arranged by the entire band and included many elements of Eastern and Western music. On The Hereness and Nowness of Things the creation process is pretty much the same, outside of “Four Colors”, which was written by violinist Onur Dilisen.
With over eight songs, Esthema really takes you around the world while ranging from more traditional elements to some more modern, and often a combination of them. The styles vary, and you will be reminded of different regions several times, sometimes even in the same song. Personally I tend to prefer the more traditional aspects, but I think the quality of the musicians carries you through the different characteristics that you may like less and makes the transitions smooth. My favorite track is the opener “Change of Season”, so sample that one first. The closer “On & On” tends to be more modern, so check out that one to get a better sense of the range of this album.
At first The Hereness and Nowness of Things seemed an unfitting title for this album. There is much more to this album then the “here and now”, it certainly seems to cover the “then and there” as well. However, the more I think about the title, how it feels, and the time in which it is being released, Esthema seems to have a solid grasp of what the hereness and nowness of things is about.