Stephan Micus


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  • Stephan Micus (some 40 instruments)
  • country:
    Germany
  • label:
    ECM Records
  • type:
    Solo, Composer/Songwriter
  • gender:
    male
  • instrumentation:
    instrumental, vocal
  • artist submitted by:

Born in 1953 in Germany, Stephan Micus made his first journey to the Orient at the age of sixteen. Fascinated by the variety of musical cultures around the world Micus has travelled in virtually every Asian and European country as well as in Africa and the Americas. Studying with local master musicians he learned to play numerous traditional instruments, many of them unknown in the Western world. However, Micus's intention is not to play these instruments in a traditional manner, but rather to develop the fresh musical possibilities which he feels are inherent in them. In many of his compositions, which he performs himself, he combines instruments that have never before been played together. The resulting dialogues further reflect his vision of a trans-cultural music.

In addition to his exclusively acoustic instruments Micus also uses his voice, at times with multitrack recording techniques creating whole choral pieces by himself. The words he sings usually do not carry any known meaning. On Athos however, he set to music ancient Greek prayers to the Virgin Mary, on Desert Poems he performed two original poems in English and on his latest album Life he has set to music an ancient Japanese Koan.

He has studied a variety of instruments including guitar, concert-flute, sitar in Benares (India), flamenco guitar in Granada (Spain), shakuhachi (Japanese bamboo flute) and sho (Japanese mouth organ) in Kyoto (Japan), suling (Balinese flute) in Ubud (Bali), Uillean pipes in Carna (Ireland), sinding (African harp) in Gambia, dondon (talking drum) in Accra (Ghana), doussn' gouni (African harp) in Bamako (Mali), duduki (Georgian oboe) and choral singing in Tbilisi (Georgia), hne (Burmese oboe) in Yangon (Myanmar), duduk (Armenian oboe) in Yerevan (Armenia), bagana (Ethiopian lyre) in Addis Abeba.

Extensive travelling in India, Japan, Indonesia, Korea, Afghanistan, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Thailand, Egypt, Burma, Sri Lanka, Turkey, USA, Canada, Israel, China, Gambia, Senegal, Nepal, Ladakh, Sinkiang, Venezuela, Tanzania, Argentina, Peru, Ghana, Mali, Jordan, Georgia, Ethiopia, Pakistan, Yemen, Cuba, Lebanon, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan.

In his own words:
"Some years ago while traveling in a bus in Nepal it became clear to me how the perfect music should be. It was a very strong experience. We were driving through a valley at quite low altitude, maybe four to five hundred meters. In that area the landscape was very fertile. There were rice fields, water buffalos, children, trees, parrots and colorful villages full of vibrant life. Behind all of that one could see the mountains standing seven, eight thousand meters high, an inhospitable zone where no one can live. They appeared to be a symbol of eternity and with their shining snow peaks, also of purity. These two things side by side, colorful life and the eternal pure and unreachable, sometimes one dominating, sometimes the other, struck me to be the image of perfect music. The two opposites complemented one another; the fields would not have been so interesting without the mountains, and the mountains without the fields simply too cold. In my music I intend to have both of these elements present, the love of life's emotions and this dimension of the eternal, unreachable. Music which emphasizes only one of these aspects becomes either too sweet or too cold. The perfect balance of course, will appear for each listener to be in another place. "
From an interview with the magazine "Die Buehne", Austria

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