House of Waters
House of Waters, Rising - released February 15th, 2019, debuted at #4 on the iTunes Jazz Charts.
Fresh off a busy and globetrotting 2018, which saw House Of Waters lauded through four tours of Europe, their first tour in India, and numerous shows and festivals in the USA, the ground breaking and genre bending Brooklyn-based international fusion group returns with a fantastic new record.
Rising is an exploration--a sharing of connections and collaborations, music and life. Released in partnership with GroundUP Music, and Co-Produced with Grammy-winning producer, Guy Eckstine, (Herbie Hancock, Chris Botti), in an intense two-day recording session, House of Waters captures the spontaneity that is a hallmark of their creative efforts. With Rising, we hear three virtuosic musicians communicating sincere collective emotion to their listeners. This is a journey inward, and one that they are excited to share with you. House Of Waters will embark on an extensive global tour in support of their fantastic new record.
Lauded as the “Jimi Hendrix of Hammered Dulcimer” by NPR, Max ZT is an innovator of the instrument. Taking his roots from Irish folk music, Max has transplanted his compositional techniques to both Senegal, where he studied the Mandinko technique with the Cissoko griot family, and to India, where he received a grant to study under the santoor master Pandit Shivkumar Sharma. His fresh perspective and bold experimentalism have been the backbone to beautiful, complex, and genuine compositions, while his unorthodox playing style has been a pioneering force in revolutionizing dulcimer techniques.
Moto Fukushima has been playing music for as long as he can remember. Accompanying such greats as Joe Lovano, Mike Stern, and Dave Weckl, he has redefined the role of the bass. With a strong background in jazz improvisation, Western classical music and the African inspired musics of South America, Moto's playing is an amazing combination of finesse, subtlety, and power.
Drummer Ignacio Rivas Bixio mixes South American rhythms with powerful fusion beats. Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Ignacio moved to NYC after graduating from Berklee College of Music, and is one of the most sought after drummers on the scene.
House of Waters has scored an Emmy winning documentary for ESPN, and has shared the stage with some of the most influential musical leaders of the century including: Pandit Ravi Shankar, Victor Wooten, Tinariwen, Jimmy Cliff, Snarky Puppy, Karsh Kale, and more.
Their self titled first record on Snarky Puppy’s GroundUP Record Label – House of Waters – debuted at #2 on the iTunes World Music Charts. All About Jazz calls it, “A rare and beautiful gem,” while TimeOutNY calls their performances “A sight to behold.”
House of Waters
House of Waters
“In today's world, there are no musical boundaries,” says Max ZT of ‘House of Waters,’ a trio that makes those words come alive as they incorporate elements of West-African, jazz, psychedelic, indie rock, classical and world music into their astonishingly unique sound.
Five years after their groundbreaking Revolution, House of Waters now returns with its eponymous follow-up.
“Our music is a constant melting pot, which is so relevant to now,” says Max. “It’s like that last D’Angelo record or Kendrick’s Butterfly...you know, that wasn’t just rap, or hip-hop, or jazz, or soul, but it had all of that. It’s an amorphous thing. It’s how the future is going to be.” Moto agrees: “We always just say what we do is ‘good music.’ If I need to say something to someone who's never heard of us, I just say, ‘Please come to our show!"
House of Waters’ music is both complex and easy to enjoy, a musical exploration that invites listeners to open themselves to new sounds. One of those sounds is that of Max’s instrument, the hammered dulcimer, a percussion/stringed instrument that takes years of study and spans dozens of cultures around the globe. Most often associated with traditional American and Irish folk music, Max has taken the instrument in entirely new directions. “I’ve been playing it since I was 7,” says Max. “And my folks reminded me I first fell in love with it when I was 2: I saw it performed at an exhibit opening, walked up to it, sat underneath and just listened to it for hours.”
Moto had a similar experience with the 6-stringed bass and it has defined his life ever since. His study of Western Classical music, Japanese traditional music and the African inspired musical sensibilities of South America, coupled with his undeniable virtuosity, adds a breath-taking element to the group’s total sound. Max studied with traditional musicians in Senegal and continues to learn from Pandit Shivkumar Sharma, India’s master of the santoor (an ancestor of the hammered dulcimer.) “That experience,” says Max, “opened me up to a whole separate world of traditions and philosophical thought.” Joining forces has given each artist an opportunity to stretch their chosen instruments, to take risks to expand both the music and themselves. In the process, audiences cannot help but be thrilled by the enormity of their sound.
The album House of Waters marks the band’s first record for GroundUP, the artist-friendly label started by Snarky Puppy’s Michael League. “There was a lot of mutual respect and interest there,” says Max. “I think we bring something unique to their roster.” He laughs. “Not a lot of dulcimer trios out there.”
Their GroundUP debut is a broad, cinematic piece, ranging from the slow burn of “La Semana,” to the grand “Patience” and—a first for the band—a beautiful vocal assist by Priya Darshini on album standout "Hamza”
Moto picks "Francesco" as his favorite. “That song was my first time writing parts for classical music styles and instruments in the band,” he says. “And the song goes full arena rock at the end: I'm happy how we could connect delicate/complicated and hard/simple aspects with both organic and modern sound. Also, Max's solo in the middle is killer.”
The album’s first available track, “17,” encapsulates the record’s complex nature. “It’s a time signature: 17/8,” says Max. “It’s definitely odd, but we played at this traditional folk festival and people lost their minds! It’s a pretty rockin’ loud, aggressive song in an odd meter that hasn’t really been heard in the West. It’s fun, fast energy, and it plays into our virtuosity.”
But to truly experience House of Waters, see them live. “It’s the benefit of this band’s versatility—we fit in so many different fields,” says Max. To that end, you might experience the band at any number of huge jazz or folk fests. Possibly at an Indian classical show. And maybe opening for the likes of Pt. Ravi Shankar, Snarky Puppy, Jimmy Cliff or the performing arts ensemble KODO.
With musical and cultural influences that stretch from India and Senegal through Ireland and the heart of New York City, you have, as one critic noted, “The most original band on the planet.”