May 23, 2017

Jan Wouter Oostenrijk: We Are Connected

Dutch guitarist Jan Wouter Oostenrijk is on a mission. He wants to proof that traditional North-African music can be mixed with jazz and rock. This might have led to yet another bunch of well-meant but toothless "world music" compositions. However, his latest album We Are Connected is a successful hybrid of Western music colliding with the signature sound of North-Africa. By pulling them both out of their comfort zones Oostenrijk makes his guitar sing, cry and wail. His instrument is a one-of-a-kind quarter tone guitar, outfitted with extra frets enabling him to play the notes of both continents on six strings. It sounds invigorating, brand new, and makes the listener rethink tuning, chord progressions and blue notes playing catch with Oriental moods.

We Are Connected is obviously the work of an idealist, but Oostenrijk is not a preacher or a politically correct musician. He loves the sound of North Africa, but hasn't forgotten his adolescent favourites New Wave, jazz and rock. Backed by Marco van den Akker's fluid fretless bass and drummer Bas Bouma's uncanny feel he made an album, that isn't an abstract, academic excursion. We Are Connected is bustling with life - the work of man whose open ears enabled him to create something out of the ordinary. The possibilities of his new quarter tone instrument will keep him occupied for many years to come.

Jan Wouter Oostenrijk: quarter tone guitar
Marco van den Akker: fretless bass
Bas Bouma: drums

We Are Connected is released on Mountain Records. Also available though his website.

  1. Sabah el Nour
  2. Step Aside
  3. Hurriya
  4. Best of Both
  5. Dutch in the Desert
  6. New Wave Oriental
  7. Carry On
Live date:
  • 05/28 Amsterdam, Netherlands @ Mezrab


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