Efrén López: Lavta, Rabab, Oud, Fretless Guitar
Christos Barbas: Ney, Lavta
A new album by Efrén López and Christos Barbas is always good news, especially if it is the first one in an acoustic duet formation culminating 17 years of shared musicianship and friendship. During this period they have collaborated in numerous projects & albums, groups like L’Ham de Foc, Yeden, Aman Aman, Abracadabra and countless concerts in the circles of Labyrinth Musical Workshop in Crete and elsewhere, Labyrinth being another collective home of theirs. On Atlas the two musicians reconnect with the power of the acoustic duet sound and its simplicity, through a series of primarily new compositions (Hoquetus, Attan, La Nau, Yasemin) and also melodies coming from medieval, azeri and ottoman classical traditions (Ben Volgra, Kurdi Pesrev), with a lot of space and time spend in textural and minimal improvisations.
Atlas is many more things: it is the quest for the connection between greatness and littleness, between the supernatural and the natural, the link connecting the world of humans and that of gods; as the ancient greek myth has it, Atlas was a titan condemned by Zeus to hold up the sky on his shoulders, at the edge of the western world; another myth tells of how the titan was turned into stone after an encounter with Perseus, his body transformed into the mountain range seen today in Northern Morocco, the western known end of the ancient world. Apart from the titan giving his name to the atlantic ocean, and also the maps of the world, another place where we find his traces are inside the human body: Atlas is the name of the first vertebra of the spine, indeed supporting the entire head on the rest of the body. On the musical journey crossing the Atlas – as so many mythologies, religions and ancient philosophies around the word testify – sound and silence are seen as powers that not only created, but also keeps the world together.