“Open Arms to me is an attitude”, reflects Etkin. “It is felt in the warmth with which I was greeted in each country and how we welcomed each other into our musical worlds. It is at the core of how we approach making new music together with open ears, unafraid to discover a new side of ourselves outside our comfort zone. And it is also an answer to the rigid isolation of hate and fear that has been growing in the political discourse all around the world, in almost every country I have traveled to.” Now as over half of the world is under stay-at-home orders, often unable to even embrace their loved ones with open arms, this soulful musical call for a new approach to how we relate to each other seems even more prescient and relevant to our current times.
About The First Two Singles
The first two singles/music videos, Retirantes (April 17) and E Doce Morrer No Mar (May 22) feature guitarist Davi Mello and renowned Brazilian singer and flutist Danilo Caymmi. They are composed by and pay homage to Danilo's father, Brazil's legendary songwriter Dorival Caymmi. Born in 1914, Dorival Caymmi captured the spirit of his native Bahia region of Brazil and inspired a great lineage of Bahia-born musicians, from Caetano Veloso to Gilberto Gil and Gal Costa. The first song, Retirantes is based on the African-derived Ijexá rhythm prevalent in Bahia, with Mello's guitar incorporating the traditional drum patterns. Danilo's flutes (he plays two traditional flutes at once) and Etkin's clarinet dance together in intertwining rhythmic patterns. The second song, E Doce Morrer No Mar (How Sweet To Die In The Ocean) speaks of a sailor dying in the lap of Iemanja (the Orisha of the ocean). Etkin starts the song in the sweet low register of the clarinet and as Caymmi enters, the clarinet and voice continue in dialogue like the ocean and the sailor, rising in energy until the climax in Etkin’s solo, before going back into the sweet depths to end the song.
About Oran Etkin
Oran Etkin has been described as “ebullient” by New York Times and “composer of eminent individuality” by Yusef Lateef. He was voted #1 Rising Star Clarinetist in DownBeat Magazine's Critic's Poll and has performed as a leader at venues including Montreal Jazz Festival, North Sea Jazz Festival, Jazz at Lincoln Center, WolfTrap, Kennedy Center and more. He has been invited twice to be a guest lecturer at Harvard University to discuss his compositional approach and is also the founder of the Timbalooloo educational program for children. Etkin released six albums as a leader including four on the Motema label. Etkin's duo concert with Sullivan Fortner in Paris was chosen as one of the Top 6 Musical Highlights of the year by Liberation, which described it as “a concert of weightlessness, class, spark, inspiration and sharing. Magic uninterrupted for two hours. The crowd went wild. For such is the music of Etkin: sensitive to the exchange with the audience.”