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Extract from the VN of 13 August 2020

Creating a place of peace with good music

Ensemble Masaa brought world jazz to the Arlberg region with Rabih Lahoud.

It may have been a wonderful coincidence, for instance, that Philip Waldhart's Ensemble Masaa could be engaged at all, because it turned out that, especially in this year in which we all have to reorient ourselves, there could be no more fitting opening for a festival like Jazzbühne Lech than with Rabih Lahoud and his musicians. Rabih Lahoud, the Lebanese-born singer and composer, along with Marcus Rust (trumpet and flugelhorn), Reentko Dirks (guitar) and Demian Kappenstein (drums and percussion) stand for ethno-jazz or world music, in which they play a formative role. "In Lebanon, the mountains are also high," Lahoud tells us in Lech's sports park, which has been converted into a concert hall fit for Corona. With the borders between Orient and Occident flowing, reviewers reach for explanations for the pieces dominated by the immensely carrying voice. After two or three numbers, one revises this impression, because in beautiful alternation - and not just worked for effect - each of the instruments is repeatedly given the strongest space. This may be a quiet whirring of the drummer and above all imaginative percussionist Kappenstein or a tone produced by Rust, as well as the peculiar sound of Dirks' double-neck guitar. Richness of colour, poetry, the expected breaking of genre boundaries - everything is there, everything becomes audible with Masaa.

A feast

The audience - not encouraged to cheer, so as not to create too strong aerosols - goes along, celebrates a festival dedicated to the music itself, which is finally allowed to express itself again after the long lockdown. The fact that Rabih Lahoud also tells of opposites, of a love-hate relationship for a country, of peace inside and terror outside, has reminded us of the vulnerability of our world, away from flat sentimentality. Good music can sensitize, there is no question about that. VN-cd