End of year reflections

Posted on December 30th, 2023

As I reflect on my personal journey through 2023, I can say that it’s been an intensely creative and productive time.

And as we stand on the cusp of 2024, I’m very pleased to tell you that in the year to come I’ll be releasing new music and giving more live performances – all to be revealed soon.

Throughout the past year, I want you to know that I’ve poured my heart and soul into the creation of my new studio album, Ecstasy. It’s an unprecedented work. It brings together worlds of sound from traditions around the globe. The brilliant musicians who perform on it, together with all the production engineers involved, number in the hundreds. And in contrast to this era of virtual and digitised sounds, what you’ll hear on Ecstasy are live instruments. We recorded philharmonic orchestras in Europe, award-winning choirs, and traditional instruments from three continents. Added to that, we have a stellar list of Featured Artists from many countries. Lyrics come from poets whose works express the deepest meanings of life. The album has a sound that’s at once contemporary and ancient, familiar and exotic, sensuous and celestial. I can’t wait to share it with you very soon and hear what it means to you.

Much of the latter part of this year was dedicated to my musical creation of the second edition of the ‘When Paths Meet’ series. For this event I composed and launched five new works, and I’ll be releasing them in the coming weeks.The concert was held on two nights at the spectacular Philharmonie de Paris. I was joined by my ensemble of musicians from Uzbekistan and China to Turkey, Azerbaijan and Morocco, as well as acclaimed Malian and French soloists, the choir, The Metaboles, and The Scoring Orchestra of Paris. Composing and arranging for such an ensemble was both thrilling and extremely challenging. I truly feel blessed to have had such a range of dedicated musicians to work with as I sought once again, in this unique gathering of traditions in Paris, to express the unity and beauty underlying different musical languages. The concert sold out on both nights and the hall was filled with an audience from all over the world. Thank you all for your support. Thank you for your recognition of the ways this music unites us across borders.

But 2023 saw the horrors of war bring unimaginable anguish to all those irrevocably impacted by it, and their pain weighed heavy on hearts around the world. Bravely, Ukraine has faced nearly two years of brutal war with no end in sight. In Gaza, the crushing toll of lives lost, families crushed and wounded, and irreparable damage inflicted on innocents is unspeakable. It’s hard to have faith in humanity, seeing the devastating actions of those who have no nobility of spirit, who have lost their human hearts. But for the survivors, for the helpers, for those who will rebuild what they can of broken lives and bodies, holding on to hope and faith seems both the least we can do, and the most essential.

And so in this moment of reflection, let’s hold on to a vision of brighter days ahead where the light within humanity leads us out of dark times, always.

With love and prayers,