bio

Marc Liebeskind’s early training in music was at the Music Conservatory of Geneva, followed later by more advanced lessons at the Swiss Jazz School in Bern and finally more intense ‘one-on-ones’ in New York with such masters of contemporary guitar as John Scofield, John Abercrombie and Bill Frisell.

On returning to Switzerland in 1985, he put together the ‘Marc Liebeskind Quartet’. With this musical constellation, which was his namesake, Marc explored contrasts within less conventional musical forms whether they had a certain Brazilian character for instance or a über urban vibe. He was playing with topical themes and iconic idioms to produce a solid ‘Jazz’ sound that the quartet presented at scores of festivals in countries across Europe, Africa and Brazil. During these years he also collaborated via several projects in duos as well as with big bands to further his interest in teaching and workshopping music, notably with AMR. He sought also to teach himself, in doing so – the art of absorbing and assimilating sound.

Around 1997 his musical walkabouts took him to Africa, the extraordinary rhythms of Mandingo and Wassoulou and some of the foremost maestros of these traditions Toumani Diabaté, Bassekou Kouaiyté and Kélétigui Diabaté. These encounters resulted in the formation of the group ‘Taffetas’ which quickly went international with performances in the UK, France, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, North Korea, Zanzibar and Tanzania.

Roughly around the time since the turn of the century Marc embarked on a journey of musical discovery of the classical tradition of the Northern India. In India too, as he had in his previous journeys, Marc sought out and studied under some of grand masters of the tradition. This time however he did something he had not done before. To adequately assimilate and express the intricacies of this genre Marc modified and enhanced his guitar to create a unique instrument and sound. He named this creation the ‘Sit Guitar’ – an amalgamation of the Guitar and Sitar. With his beloved ‘Sit Guitar’ Marc has since played not just traditional Hindustani compositions but also a repertoire that he has created. He has in the process collaborated with such greats as Pandit Anindo Chatterjee, Rakesh Chaurasia, Rupak Kulkarni, to name a few. In the year 2006, he created the group ‘GendeRevolution’ with the Kolkata table virtuoso Nabankur Bhattacharia and the very talented Banarasi Violinist Sukhhdev Mishra. More recently in 2009 Marc conceptualised the ‘Atman Project’, in part to relive his jazz roots within the Hindustani canvas, with the jazz Flautist Guillaume Barraud and the tablist Prabhu Edouard.

While always pushing his own creative boundaries as a performer, Marc has also made successful forays as a producer and promoter. He has established the Nomad Hip Studio, in his home town Geneva through which he has put out recordings from India, Africa and Europe, including his own. In 2009 he also launched his own label ‘New healing Sounds’. Marc both produces and curates the label.

Performed with:

Jazz
Matthieu Michel, Dominique di Piazza, Richie Perry, Simon Nabatov, Steve Arguelles, Marc  Bertaux, Benoît Delbecq, Hubert Dupont, Olivier Clerc, Serge Zaugg,  Carlos Baretto, Patrick Muller, Eric Truffaz, Banz Oster, Marcel Papaux, Yvor Malherbe, Hans Feigenwinter, Grégoire Maret, Léo Tardin, Ohad Talmor, Bob Wyatt, Karoline Höfler, Norbert Pfammatter, John Silverman, Florence Chitacumbi, Joe Kaiat, Bertrand Denzler,

World, African, Indian and Brazilian:
Toumani Diabaté, Kélétiki Diabaté, Basékou Kouyaté, Adama Dramé, Lassana Diabaté, Massiré Silla, Pandit Anindo Chaterjee, Rupak Kulkarni, Rakesh Chaurasia, Imran Khan, Léon Duncan, Stephan Rigert, Pandit Vikaj Maharaj, Apu Maharaj, Atul Kumar Upadhye, Imran Khan, Ibrahima Galissa, Mauro Martins, Diana Miranda, Leite Leitere, Kamal Sabri,Goudou Sabri, Pinku Bhatthacharia, Sandip Gosh, Fatoumata Dembélé, Mara Diabaté, Nana Cissokho, Christophe Erard,  Ibou N’diaie.

Concerts in the following countries :
Suisse, France, Espagne, Italie, Royaume-Unis, Allemagne, Hollande, Brésil, Cap Vert , Sénégal, Mali, Côte d’Ivoire, Niger, Burkina Faso, Guinée Bissau, Corée du Nord, Etats Unis, Australie, Inde, (Calcutta, Delhi, Pune, Goa, Bombay, Bénarès) Tanzanie, Zanzibar.


jazz

Between the guitar, and me? … An interlacing story that started when I was 18. A friend dropped his guitar, which was left uncared for, in my apartment. Glances from my side and surroundings… From contemplation to tactile fingerprints on the strings, our relationship and story evolved this then.

Then, I felt a need to learn classical guitar. However, two years later, I resigned from the courses, dissatisfied. It was not what I was looking for. I then toyed with electric guitar and joined a rock group that lasted for two years. All of a sudden, I was around 22, in the aftermath of a workshop with Christian Escoudé, I was contaminated by the Jazz-virus and contracted the disease of improvisation.

Therefore, I started to learn theory and harmony at the Geneva Conservatory and  “les ateliers de AMR” (Association pour l’encouragement de la Musique improvisée). At the same time, in 1978 a Swiss scholarship allowed me to take classes at the Swiss Jazz School in Berne, for 4 years. I was then, mainly focused on theory. Absorbing influences from disparate sources, I was also taking African dance’s classes with the dancer Paco Yé. This initiation underlined already my attraction for diversity, rhythms and movements in Mandigue’s societies.
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In 1984, I moved to New-York city. I had the need of meeting musicians I was venerating at this time, John Scotfield, John Abercrombie, Bill Frisell… And indeed, meeting these masters of the modern guitar has been fundamental in my grasping of music.  I also loved to follow classes with the boper Barry Harrys, on the 8 th Av.

Back to Geneva, in 1985, I formed my first quartet that released 3 CD from 1991 to 1996  (Uma Chamada Brasileira -1991, Duvida -1995 , Snowmoe -1996 ), mostly composed by myself.  It was Jazz with many influences, an atmospheric composition definitely acoustic and free playing. This has been a decisive moment. Since then, I have been playing in duo and trio, in all types of collaborations and orchestral combinations.

Yet, I have always been attracted by “intimist music” and groups with no drums, where each note is hanged in the air by a thread. The improvisation is essential, the skid perilous but the challenge, the creativity and the need of surpassing oneself are ubiquitous and pervasive. There is no album from all these experiences. Furthermore, I played in bigger formations, as well as with Africans and Brazilian bands. Two countries, which are fertile in music’s and rhythms, that I had the opportunity to visit quite often.  For instance, in Brazil, from 1990 to 1997, I had the chance to perform with my quartet and I really enjoyed it.

In 1997, I surfed altogether on the Second line wave and we recorded with Little Big Beat an album with New Orleans rhythms /Little Big Beat ” Walker’s Walk “

From 1198 to 2011 I played mainly music from West Africa and Indian Classical. Since then the 3 groups I formed were definitely a mix between jazz and world music. May be something like “Ethno-jazz”.

To build my skills I had the great opportunity to  participate at some workshops with musicians like:

Lee Konitz, Dave Holland, Jim Hall, Joe Diorio, Pat Metheny, Red Mitchel, Dave Liebman,  Richie Beirach, Mick Goodrick,  Jack de Johnette, Paul Motian, Joe Lovano.

And to perform with: jazz

Matthieu Michel, Dominique di Piazza, Richie Perry, Simon Nabatov, Steve Arguelles, Marc  Bertaux, Benoît Delbecq, Hubert Dupont, Olivier Clerc, Serge Zaugg,  Carlos Baretto, Patrick Muller, Eric Truffaz, Banz Oster, Marcel Papaux, Yvor Malherbe, Hans Feigenwinter, Grégoire Maret, Léo Tardin, Ohad Talmor, Bob Wyatt, Karoline Höfler, Norbert Pfammatter, John Silverman, Florence Chitacumbi, Joe Kaiat, Bertrand Denzler,

World, African, Indian and Brazilian:

Toumani Diabaté, Kélétiki Diabaté, Basékou Kouyaté, Adama Dramé, Lassana Diabaté, Massiré Silla, Pandit Anindo Chaterjee, Rupak Kulkarni, Rakesh Chaurasia, Imran Khan, Léon Duncan, Stephan Rigert, Pandit Vikaj Maharaj, Apu Maharaj, Atul Kumar Upadhye, Imran Khan, Ibrahima Galissa, Mauro Martins, Diana Miranda, Leite Leitere, Kamal Sabri,Goudou Sabri, Pinku Bhatthacharia, Sandip Gosh, Fatoumata Dembélé, Mara Diabaté, Nana Cissokho, Christophe Erard,  Ibou N’diaie.


india

Indian Project

After 20 years of jazz, I discovered the Indian Classical Music, in 1998, during a first trip in India. The architecture of this music, as well as its spiritual depth linked to its sociological and historical dimensions and its grammatical development were, for me, vibrant, incandescent and transcendent. I was thrilled. So emotionally impressed, I decided to change my focus and enlarged my musical aspirations. The question was then to find the most appropriate musical instrument to manage a fusion with this music to which I could bring my personal, western, touch.

My Instrument

For over 25 years, I have been a guitarist; it was, then, natural to adapt my own instrument in order to fulfil my expectations. The Sit-guitar

“Through music you express yourself…My approach to music is very deep. I do not compromise with anybody or anything else in the world. A musician must lift up the souls of the listeners, and take them towards Space.“Nikhil Banerjee.

My learning from 2001-2007

IIt took me several years to perfect and be able to emerge in Indian Classical. Since 1997, I was taught within the India classical rules, working with Amar Nath Mishra and Raj Ban Singh (sitar-players from Benares) Vikaj Maharaj (sarod-player from Benares), Vinod Lélé (tabla-player from Benares), Sabri Khan (sarangi-player from Delhi), Roy Chaudhury (sarod-player from Delhi) and Atul Upaydhe (violon-player from Pune). However, the learning was initially difficult presumably due to my expectations as a professional musician and teacher. I had to learn the emotional expressiveness of the strings, as do Indians musicians, intense focus and concentration from a master. I was still searching for dimensions, a spiritual quest. This was achieved in 2004 when I, first, met Kushal Das, a sitar-player from Kolkata. The meeting with Kushal has been determinant

with Kushal Das in Kolkata

My current project and research

It is not possible to describe Indian classical music in few words. What’s written below is just a little introduction.

Indian classical music has its origin as a meditation tool to attain self-realization. The Indian classical known as the Hindustani (or North Indian style) developed from the 13th century.  This music is based on the Nava Rasa (the 9 sentiments and feelings), ragas (melody) and talas (rhythms). There is no harmony, modulation and other structural elements as found in Western music.  This music is based almost only in improvisation, as Jazz but with a totally other logic.

In 2006, Nabankur Bhattacharia and Sukhdev Prasad Misrha join me to create the group GendeRevolution. The first CD has been released in 2008 under the label New Healing Sounds (NHS). The group gives performances in duo & trio.

Furthermore, in 2010  the group associated the dancers Filibert Tologo &  Maitryee Mahatma for the creation              “The Awakening”.

“The Awakening” “L’Eveil”

Today, the aim of my project is to combine the depth, the spiritual dimension and the rhythmic parameters and melody, which are intrinsically part of the ragas with, tonal parameters, using my own background as composer and jazz improvisator.  I also want to associate it to my world music experience, past and current, which mean to associate also some of the African parameters. To be noted that the Indian music is enriched in folkloric music and I’ve dipped out of these resources to enrich my compositions.As a composer, I would like to create a hybrid Indian-Western-ethno-jazz music.

Current collaboration and past realizations

2011 “le Retour de Ganga”  Creation for the Festival de la Cour des Contes, Plan-les-Ouates,                                    Maitryee Mahatma (danse kathak), Matthieu Chardet, Conteur, Marc Liebeskind Sit Guitare,  Nabankur Bhattacharia (Tabla), Sukhdev Mishra (Voix et violon), Laurence Zulianello adaptation du conte,  James Rosset, création lumière,

2010  Creation of “l’Eveil” at the festival “Aubes Musicales-Bains des Pâquis” Maitryee Mahatma (danse kathak) Filibert Tologo (danse africaine contemporaine),  Marc Liebeskind Sit Guitare, concept et composition, Nabankur Bhattacharia (Tabla), Sukhdev Mishra (Voix et violon),James Rosset (SAJEM Lighting).

2010 Atman project.

2008      Concerts in Switzerland, France and India with Nabankur Bhattacharia (Tabla) and Sukhdev Mishra

2007      Concert in Bénarès, Calcutta and Switzerland with Sandip Ghosh and Nabankur Bhattacharia (Tabla)

2005      Concerts in Goa , Pune with Julien Di Maiolo (Tabla)

2004       Concert in Delhi with the group of Kashik

2003       Concert in Hyderabad with Rakesh Chaurasia (flute) and Bhavani Shankar (Pakawaj)

2002       Concerts in Bombay with Rupak Kulkarni (flute) Pradipto Sengupta (mandoline), Amit Satyajit Talwalkar (tabla), Mukul Dongare (drums)

2002       Concerts in Benares with Vikaj (sarod) et Apu Maharaj (tabla)

2001       Concert in Delhi with the group Tassir, (soufi music)

Indian Raga Concept

Raga in Sanskrit means passion, colour, and attachment. The raga’s structure has several parts:

Alap : means introduction in sanskrit. It is a slow, rhythmless exposition of the rag.  the alap requires strict adherence to the rules.  This requires a firm knowledge; therefore the execution of alap is very difficult.

Jor : is an intermediate introductory style. It is characterized by the use of a slow to medium rhythm.  There is not a fully developed cycle so it is never accompanied by tabla.

Jhala : is a fast paced alternation of main melody string and chikari.  This lends itself to interesting permutations of both rag and tala simultaneously.  This exciting style has become an obligatory conclusion to any instrumental recital.


africa

Musician in the time but I travelled all this time with a guitar …
Later, in Geneva a big attraction for the African dance, the meeting with Paco Yé, with whom I take regular courses during 5 years, Elsa Wolliatson gave internships every month a weekend which I followed assidument. Then an internship in Bobo Dioulasso at the end of 1984, I came back from New York, 15 days in a court to be danced 8 am a day with the group Farafina in full just for us, wonderful experience.
Between 1987 and 89, my first group with African: Djambadon, composition of a singer of Guinea Bissau, Koté Carvalho, political refugee. Some elements of the group … Erik Truffaz, Philippe Ehinger, Serge Zaugg …
Nothing more in touch with this continent until the tour of my 4tet in western Africa in 1997, which tempts me to turn to it. A stock exchange to teach allows me at first to stay a few months in Ougadougou where I make the sound for Wassa, club where parades musicians of all the countries surroundings. I discover a multitude of different musics, Ghana of Mauritania, Niger, Mali, an experience rich in color and in sound. I train a group with the player of Kora Mara Diabaté, with whom will produce us to us in Burkina in France and in Switzerland. I train a quartet more jazz with 3 virtuoso musicians, Joe Kaiat in the piano, Alain Cameroonian bass player and a Togolese drummer whose first name I do not remember to myself and then I stay in Bamako where I live at Toumani Diabaté who invites me to play frequently the Dogon, the club where he occurs every on Wednesday evening. I have the immense pleasure to play with several big musicians mandingues among whom Kéletigui Diabaté and Bassékou Kouyaté.
After some going returns with Europe, I eventually stay one year in Bamako, where I go up my first studio, some recordings, and some experiences make me beat a retreat, I realize rather fast that it is not possible to make its living with the music in Africa.
In 2002 meet in Neuchâtel with Ibrahima Galissa and Christophe Erard, we train the group Taffeta, we register and after some trips, we sign with the label Most record in London. Turned in Italy, Spain, London, Paris, South Korea, Tanzania, Zanzibar.