Speaking Hands is the sophomore release by the globe-trotting percussionist/composer Curtis Andrews, featuring 9 original compositions and one very special commission. Released more than 10 years since his award-winning eponymous debut, Speaking Hands features his Vancouver-based ensemble The Offering of Curtis Andrews, and guests from across Canada (via South India), down to California, over to urban South Africa, and up to rural Ghana.
"This album is a fantastic kaleidoscope of musical adventures, taking you down narrow roads of wonder." George W. Harris - Jazz Weekly
"Andrews has so many tricks up his sleeve it's a wonder they all don't fall out on the floor at some point. A great wild ride."
Chris Spector - Midwest Record
"A profound talent in the area of drumming and percussion."
Tom Haugen – Take Effect
Though recorded on the cusp of and during the 2020 pandemic, this is far from a “COVID record”. The seeds were sown over the past 11 years of travel, study, collaboration, and exploration, both abroad and at home, within and without. The compositions are reflective of the various sounds, aesthetics, and influences that Andrews gravitates towards with an open heart and mind: the intertwined rhythms and polyphonies of vodu-derived traditional music West Africa, the micro and macrocosmic play of time and pitch found in Carnatic traditions of South India, the open field of improvisation, and the intersection of all of these as one cohesive and original sound. It a place where korvais intermingle with the timeline of the gakogui. Andrews has been dwelling in these musical (and physical worlds) for the past 20 years, through deep engagement and study with communities and masters musicians. As such, his music is a natural extension of these experiences.
Of special note is the presence of world-renowned South Indian master drummer Dr. Trichy Sankaran. Andrews is honored and humbled to have his guru of more than 20 years join the ensemble on 4 pieces, including one piece that Sankaran composed especially for the group.
The album’s title is drawn from the tune “The Speaking Hand”, itself inspired by Andrews’ own practice and play of the mridangam, the major percussion instrument of Carnatic music. The repertoire of the mridangam is taught and conceived of in a special rhythmic language known as solkattu. It is the voice that gives rise to rhythm before the instrument does. Thus, the hands “speak” what the voice (mind) creates.
released April 2, 2021
Curtis Andrews: drumset, percussion (1-10)
Meredith Bates: violin and FX (3,5,6,8,9)
Jared Burrows: electric guitar (1-10)
Neelamjit Dhillon: alto saxophone (3) and bansuri (2)
Mark Duggan: vibraphone (1-3)
Drum ensemble from Dzogadze (Ghana): Kofi Avi, Clemens, Abomazu, Seth and Evans Agudzeamegah, Worlasi Agbavitor, Eugene Amegayibor (8)
Sandile Jwaai: electric bass (3)
John Korsrud: trumpet (1)
Robin Layne: vibraphone (4-10)
Colin Maskell: baritone & tenor saxophone (1)
Kristian Naso: trumpet (5,6,8,9)
Shantaleela Rao Andrews: in-utero heartbeat (5)
David Spidel: electric bass; synth bass (1,2,4-10)
Kaushik Sivaramakrishnan: violin (2,4,7,10)
…and very special guest…
Sri Trichy Sankaran: mridangam (4,7,10) & kanjira (2)
All compositions by Curtis Andrews (SOCAN) except Chapu Tala Malika, composed for this group by Trichy Sankaran (SOCAN)
Produced by Curtis Andrews
Mixed by Chris Gestrin
Recorded at Monarch Studios (Vancouver, BC) between September 2018 – October 2020
Mark Duggan recorded by David Travers-Smith at Found Sound (Toronto, ON)
Colin Maskell recorded at Two Toques Music (Smithers, BC)
Meredith Bates recorded by Chris Gestrin
Neelamjit Dhillon recorded at his home (Los Angeles, CA)
Dzogadze drummers recorded in Dzogadze (Ghana) by Curtis Andrews
Mastering by Suite Sound Labs
Artwork/Design/Photos by Ruby Singh (Rup Sidhu)
Supported by Creative BC and the Province of British Columbia.
We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.
Gratitude to all and for everything that has led to the creation of this music.
To all that have come before me,
To the Coast Salish peoples - the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), Stó:lō and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh), and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nations - upon whose ancestral, traditional, and unceded territories I play, live, create,
To all my teachers – in Benin, Canada, Ghana, India, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. Especially to Sri Trichy Sankaran for continuing to show the light and for gracing this album with his sublime presence,
To the musicians who played this music,
To those who continue to support artists through listening, watching, sharing, and buying,
To my parents for unconditional and never-ending support,
To my wife And for helping me to be me,
Finally, to my daughter Shantaleela. Everything is all for you.
Curtis Andrews is a Canadian-based musician with global persuasions. A percussionist/composer/teacher who creates music that
is informed by his many years of experience with West African, South Indian and jazz traditions yet transcends categorization.
He has toured and recorded nationally and internationally with dozens of artists on drumset, mridangam, mbira, and percussion....more
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