Dust and Ions - A Concert Experience
Wakim, collaborating with award-winning poet and writer, Yara Zgheib, has transformed his album, Dust and Ions, into a full-length live concert experience: weaving together music (including 40 new minutes of music), original poetry, and dance to tell a story about purity, corruption, destruction, and rebirth.
The initial performances of DUST AND IONS LIVE (with a portion of proceeds going to the children of Lebanon and Kansas) were received with standing ovations and tears at the Wichita Center for Performing Arts in September of 2021. Collaborating with musicians from the Wichita Symphony Orchestra, singers from the Wichita Grand Opera, dancers from the Regina Klenjoski Dance Company, as well as composer and musician Juan Dussán, these performances were transportive, and just the start.
Plans are being finalized for the next performances of this show, and charitable giving will continue to be an integral part of DUST AND IONS LIVE.
In the meantime, check out this new online store with merch from the show.
The Original Album
Creating Connection in a Suddenly Disconnected World
I used my pandemic-time spent in Kansas to develop an instrumental cinematic album reflecting on this thought.
One of the most profound moments of 2020 was when I saw the NEOWISE comet in July. The title of the album, as well as the grand formation that takes place in the opening track, both refer to the beauty of comets (there being a dust tail and an ion tail in every comet.)
About the Tracks
Whether it’s amongst the largest structures we know about (stars, galaxies, comets), or some of the smallest known particles, (viruses) – all things that connect have a profound impact on us as humans. I used my pandemic-time spent in Kansas to develop an instrumental cinematic album reflecting on this thought.
The title of the album, as well as the grand formation that takes place in the opening track, both refer to the beauty of comets (there being a dust tail and an ion tail in every comet.) Sophia 537, named after the Hagia Sophia Cathedral in modern-day Istanbul, grew out of my reaction to observing the comet. I had an intense drive over to the country to see it, speeding so as not to miss the visibility window. Getting there, I stood, heart racing, looking in awe at something so beautiful, calm, yet ferociously racing through space.This contrast between the human anxiety with the more celestial or God-given peace is something I wanted to explore through. The tune ultimately relaxes and succumbs to this appreciation of the world around it.
The Fireflies in Kansas (Are as Big as the Stars) continue this feeling of awe with lush pads and Desplat-like flutes. Things then get much more introspective with a Chopin / Morricone-esque piano solo, Folie á Deux, as well as a piano and guitar jazz duo, To The Girl in the Window, featuring Wayne Goins on guitar.
A Gentle Fall paints a gentle melancholy scene with swaying strings, internal, warm, yearning.
The final track, As The Wind Flows was written on August 4th, as soon as I got news of the Beirut Port explosion, in which a cousin was seriously injured. A sense of helplessness and loss pervaded, yet the ultimate hope that love and persistence can make things right is how I approached the end of this track, and ultimately the whole album.
The Original Album Lineup
This project would be nothing without the immense contributions of these extraordinarily talented musicians and collaborators. I thank them from the bottom of my heart.
(Left to Right, Top to Bottom) Trevor Stewart (Clarinet), Carmen Lemoine (Flute); Chelley Graves, Cindy Wu, Addison Wegerle (violins), Rosie Barney (viola), Masha Begacheva (cello), Dennis Danders (bass).
Wayne Goins, (Guitar); Claire Kuttler, Aaron Stepanek, and Renee Macdonald (Voices).
Sanjay G. Pamaar (Additional Orchestrations); AM Namee (Recording Engineer); Angie Teo (Mixing Engineer); Recorded at Zeptepland Studios; Mastered at Zampol Productions by Oscar Zambrano