WAHID is the duo of Dimitris Mahlis (oud) and Chris Wabich (frame drums).
WAHID (meaning one") is a new union of instruments and music from the East and West.
The primary instruments for WAHID are oud and frame drums, each of which has an ancient history, as found on clay tablets and papyrus scrolls. A duo combination of oud and frames has never been explored or codified, even though the two instruments have complimented each other in classical ensembles for hundreds of years. In modern western terms, it is the equivalent of pairing tympani and percussion with harp. They are often seen together in symphony orchestras, but rarely as a duo.
The most common reaction by an audience is shock at how complete the group sounds with just two people. It is best understood live because each performance is a one-time event, never to be repeated. The subtext of their completeness is best explained as follows:
Chris constructed his own frame drum set up to expand the tuning range to an octave lower than is normally capable. This made the frame drums functional as a rhythmic and harmonic instrument where every tone compliments yet leaves space for the natural sonority of the oud. Chris took traditional technique and applied a modern coordination aspect. He simultaneously plays riq (tambourine) and bass frame drums while adding other percussive voices. This tour de force can either sound like a complete rhythm section, just percussive accompaniment, or just the bass.
Dimitris utilizes his knowledge of both eastern and western musical systems to compose original pieces for WAHID which are soulful yet intricate. From these elements he has evolved an original playing style on the oud that is reflective of the rich history of the Levant, but not bound to it. Although the original compositions are rooted in makam (eastern musical theory), the way in which they are arranged and improvised upon draws from the wide and colorful musical palate that these two musicians share. Dimitris' compositional voice has also set a standard for cross-pollination; his pieces have become a regular part of the curriculum taught in LA Music Academy. They have also been adapted for percussion ensemble and orchestra, and been set to classical Persian poetry.
Chris and Dimitris have over a dozen years experience together playing in many ensembles as a unit. They know each other's spatial requirements, weaving a constant web around the music. With WAHID, a new sonic and musical possibility is generated from their understanding of history and each other.
This story appears courtesy of Michael Bloom Media Relations.
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