Canadian band ESMERINE were formed in Montreal around ten years ago by percussionist Bruce Cawdron (Godspeed You! Black Emperor) and cellist Beckie Foon (Set Fire To Flames) Essentially a two-piece that employed the talents of various guest musicians in their early years, they released a couple of critically acclaimed albums in the first half of the decade, before expanding into a four-piece.
Fast-forward to the band’s European tours in 2011-2012 and a show in Istanbul, where the group’s enthusiastic reception led to an invitation for an artist residency in the city. Their latest album, ‘Dalmak’ is the fruit of that visit: the majority of the album was recorded in Istanbul, where the band’s four Canadian musicians (Bruce and Beckie having been joined by Jamie Thompson and Brian Sanderson) were joined by an equal number of Turkish guest players: Hakan Vreskala, Baran Aşık, Ali Kazim Akdağ and James Hakan Dedeoğlu on various instruments.
‘Dalmak’ is a Turkish verb with many connotations: to contemplate, to be absorbed in, to dive into, to bathe in, to rush into, to plummet. As a title for ESMERINE‘s new album, “dalmak” refers in a literal sense to immersion in the culture and music of Istanbul but also appropriately evokes the range of music that emerged from this immersion: a collection of songs that shift between meditative pulsing and enveloping restraint to headlong flights into rhythm and groove. With ‘Dalmak’, ESMERINE presents some of its most richly minimal and intimate music alongside what is surely its most explosive, energised and ornate.
The band head to UK in early December and here’s where you can catch them: