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The Embassadors feat. Michel Ongaru - Healing The Music

The Embassadors featuring Michel Ongaru
The Embassadors feat. Michel Ongaru - Healing The Music
(CD/2xLP) Nonplace NON23CD/NON23LP, 2008-03-14

Tracklisting :
01. Chema Chajiuza
02. Nia Njia
03. Jipe Moyo
04. Embassador
05. Wimbo Wa Wana
06. Tenda Wema Dub
07. Maisha Haya Kufa Kupona
08. Mwanangu (For Maxim)
09. Nia Njia Version
10. Tenda Wema

Links :

Press Release :
THE EMBASSADORs is a music collective formed by HAYDEN CHISHOLM- reed player/producer and long time colloborator with BURNT FRIEDMAN. The Collective is the result of over 12 years of Chisholm´s globetrotting, co-productions, collecting musical information and forging musical bonds. After years of world-wide music research, touring with groups like ROOT70, PLURAMON and BURNT FRIEDMAN/JACKI LIEBEZEIT, and creating the music for REBECCA HORN installations, Chisholm felt ready to begin tying it all together. After the success of the ROOT70 album HEAPS DUB on nonplace which he co-produced with Friedman, Chisholm felt the urge to push ahead with his own songs and his own group : "Music like this comes about through long friendships and in our case we have been playing together for over a decade in different formations. The musicians are from New Zealand, South Africa, Peru, Kenya, and Germany - more than enough reason to go forth as THE EMBASSADORS."(H.Chisholm)

The collective is made up of the trombonist NILS WOGRAM, the leading trombone soloist of the European scene; bassist MATT PENMAN, first-call bassist in the NYC and collaborator with JOHN SCOFIELD; drummer JOCHEN RUECKERT, often imitated and sought after by figures like PAT METHANY and MADELEINE PEYROUX; violist and vocalist GARETH LUBBE, known as one of the prominent overtone singers in the world and principal violist in the LIEPZIGER GEWANDHAUS; cellist CLAUDIO BOHORQUEZ, one of the world´s top classical soloists with a unique faculty for improvising, and HAYDEN CHISHOLM on reeds and keys. With these figures, Chisholm has brought together leading figures from across the genres, setting the foundations for what is a truly GLOBAL music collective of the highest order.

For the Collective´s debut on nonplace, Chisholm discovered the Kenyan singer MICHEL ONGARU: "This year while I was performing in Kenya I came across the multi-instrumentalist and vocalist MICHEL ONGARU who for me was the missing piece for the collective´s debut album on Nonplace. After jamming for a week solid we made plans to merge our musical minds and record "HEALING THE MUSIC". Two months later we sat in Room 120 of the WAB hotel of Nairobi for days and nights on end, encircled by mosquitos and American evangelists. I wrote the words in English, Michel would put them into Swahili and churn them out at light speed on his Braille machine and Rob would fire up the tapes. The dots on the page were then brought to life by Michel`s voice, echoing through the burnt-out empty rooms of the third floor." (H.Chisholm)

The debut gig of the EMBASSADORS at the COLOGNE PHILHARMONIC HALL in January 2007 was met with standing ovations and will be released in 2007 on the English online label PLUSHMUSIC . Since then they took the 2007 MOERS Festival by storm prompting Die Zeit to write " the inspired group THE EMBASSADORS was the one shining light of the festival"

The Songs on the Album move effortlessly through Reggae, Bossa, and Jazz styles echoing the myriad of musical influences the New Zealand globetrotter and bandleader has assimilated into his language. His lyrics speak of encouragement and brotherhood but are spiced with the bitter-sweet taste of paradox, a natural ingredient when one has seen so much of this world . The multi-leveled references in his music and his taste for hidden meaning and the surreal are already evident in the Album title: "Why ´HEALING THE MUSIC´? - maybe that´s just what she needs. Maybe she´s crying out for it. It was always my first association whenever I saw the words healing and music thrown together in any context." (H.Chisholm)

Biographies :

Claudio Bohorquez, cello

Claudio Bohorquez is receiving attention from conductors, fellow musicians, audiences, concert presenters and critics alike as one of the most exciting and fascinating young artists of his generation. He divides his attention between concerto appearances with an impressive array of international orchestras and conductors, solo recitals, chamber music projects and festivals and collaborating with a wide spectrum of visual and performing artists in special projects.

Claudio was a pupli of Boris Pergamenshikow. While winning a number of international competitions at an early age, he was further brought to the music world's attention by winning the top prize in the first International Casals Competition in Germany in 2000. He also received a special award for chamber music in this competition and, as part of the award, was allowed to perform on Maestro Casals famed Gofriller cello for several years. His previous competitions include a.o. the Youth Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, the International Rostropovich Competition in Paris and the Geneva International Music Competition.

Claudio has been collaborating with Hayden Chisholm since their studies in Cologne in 1995. In 2007 a solo CD was released by Aulos featuring works by Chisholm and together, they performed the debut „DOHA" Cd in 2004 for the benefit of the Shambhala Mountain Center. They both share a passion for expanding the boundaries of improvisation and transcending stylistic boundaries.

He was born in 1976 and raised in Germany. Alongside his music he is also a passionate poker player, meditator, teacher, cook, and Kart racer.


Hayden Chisholm, saxophone, clarinet, director

Saxophonist and Composer internationally well known in the Jazz and Crossover Music scenes. Originating from New Zealand where he won the prestigious Young Achievers Award, he studied music in Germany with a DAAD scholarship, and later in India and Japan. His compositions have been recorded by BBC and by WDR radio and as an instrumentalist he has released several albums. He has created the music for several of Rebecca Horn's recent installations, most of which are touring the world, and is now one of the foremost lecturers on her work. Born 1975 in Otahuhu and raised in New Plymouth, New Zealand, he has spent 9 years of his life on tour giving concerts on major festivals. He currently lives in Barcelona and Cologne.

He proudly keeps a 4 volume set of all his collected boarding cards, having circumnavigated the world over 30 times. He also holds the World record for the longest unbroken tone on a clarinet (51 minutes).


Gareth Lubbe, viola, vocals

Solo violist of the Gewandhaus Leipzig, he has performed regularly with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra working with conductors such as Claudio. As a soloist, he has performed with the Cologne Chamber Orchestra in Germany as well as various orchestras of South Africa, where he was born in 1976 and already appeared as violinist at the age of nine. and as a pianist at the age of sixteen with the South African Radio Orchestra. As conductor he has worked with the Johannesburg Symphony Orchestra.

As one of the most prominent overtone singers in the Occident Gareth has appeared worldwide and in 2004 was invited with Hayden Chisholm to perform at a renowned festival in the Altai Mountains of southern Siberia.

His solo overtone recordings in the Charterhouse Monastery in Plettere, Slovenia, were choosen by BBC as pick of the week.

Michel Ongaro, vocals, percussion, guitar

Born in Kericho, Kenya in 1980, Michel started cultivating his musical talent as early as age 4 playing buckets, tin pots and drums to entertain the children of his estate. At school he joined the choir and band and at 7 hetold his mother he would be a musician which she encouraged whole heartedly. Michel soon started playing the piano, xylophone and accordion and his musical career started paying with several Nairobi bands. He has now performed in England, the Netherlands, Belgium and Italy several times, including at the North Sea Jazz Festival. Michel now has his own band „Senta Line" and is currently working on their first Album. He plays Drums, Flute, Sax, percussion, and is the main vocalist on "The Embassadors" debut for nonplace.

He and Hayden Chisholm met at the Kenyan Earth Festival in 2007 and jammed for almost a week straight in which time a strong musical kinship was born.

Those who have come close to Michel will never forget the humility and power contained in his voice and in his music.

Matt Penman, double bass

Matt, 31, has been living New York since moving there from his native New Zealand in 1995. He is a member of the San Francisco Jazz Collective under the direction of Joshua Redman, as well as the bands of Nils Wogram, Madeleine Peyroux and Bill McHenry.

Matt can be heard on about 60 CDs on various labels, and his compositions are featured on two co-led projects, 'Urbanism'(Ode Records), and 'Flipside'(Naxos Jazz), and on his debut CD as a leader 'The Unquiet'(Fresh Sound).

He is the current scrabble champion of the EMBASSADORS and the only member to succesfully produce his own quality red wine in the bathtub of his brooklyn appartment based on his own secret recepe.

Jochen Rückert, drums

Jochen was born in 1975 near Cologne and started playing drums at age 6 on Carnival parades. In 1995 he moved to Brooklyn, NY where he still resides. Jochen has toured extensively in North and South America, Europe, and Asia and has become one of the most sought after and imitated European Jazz drummers.

He also plays bass in the NYC rockband "worldclass" and programs, remixes and produces music for various artist in the elctronic music/idm/breakcore sector, his programming alias is Wolff-Parkinson-White. Since his first colloboration with Hayden Chisholm in 1996 „El Inflictori" which remains unreleased the two have toured extensively with root70.


Nils Wogram, trombone

Nils is considered the trombonist of the young European jazz scene. He started his classical training at the age of 12 and 1989 he became a member of the German Federal Jazz Orchestra. A grant from the New School brought Nils to New York and his debut album "New York Conversations" was released in 1994. 29 more albums have followed since then. He currently lives in Zurich and tours extensively with his own groups.



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