The past year has been one of global darkness and isolation. Where companionship flickers through a screen rather than a human touch. It’s been a time to dive deep, to create and express those feelings bubbling up inside, to discover all the longing and the hope. For Hasan Kai, one half of the band TootArd, the months have brought the inspiration to define his guitar playing and compose the music on the EP Salma Sunshine (Carpet Ride Records).
“I was listening a lot to Omar Khorshid’s work” Kai explains. “He’s the man who brought the guitar into Arabic classical music, and his sound is what I kept hearing in my head as I was writing, what I wanted to achieve. I wanted to make the music naked.”
Kai worked alone, playing guitar and keyboards and building up the tracks before sending the sound files to his brother Rami, who still lives on the Golan Heights, to add the drums. “Overall, it’s a lonely feeling, slow tempos and plenty of different colours and textures,” Kai notes.
From the first notes of the opening track, “Dance Of The Horses,” the lush blend of American guitar and West Asian microtones sets the record’s tone. The melody glides effortlessly, soaring and swooping as it carries the listener along.
The title track, named for the heroine of Khalil Gibran’s novel Broken Wings, captures the warm romance and endless stars of long, calm summer evenings. It’s a balm for the senses. Although everything flows so naturally, it took long periods of thought and experimentation for the melodies to arrive. Once they did, however, “just after the beginning of 2021, the recording was very quick.”
As we slowly come out of the darkness that’s covered the last 12 months, Salma Sunshine brings the promise of warmth and light and a hopeful future.