Marc Liebeskind’s early training in music was at the Music Conservatory of Geneva, followed later by more advanced lessons at the Swiss Jazz School in Bern and finally more intense ‘one-on-ones’ in New York with such masters of contemporary guitar as John Scofield, John Abercrombie and Bill Frisell.
On returning to Switzerland in 1985, he put together the ‘Marc Liebeskind Quartet’. With this musical constellation, which was his namesake, Marc explored contrasts within less conventional musical forms whether they had a certain Brazilian character for instance or an über urban vibe. He was playing with topical themes and iconic idioms to produce a solid ‘Jazz’ sound that the quartet presented at scores of festivals in countries across Europe, Africa and Brazil. During these years he also collaborated via several projects in duos as well as with big bands to further his interest in teaching and work shopping music, notably with AMR. He sought also to teach himself, in doing so – the art of absorbing and assimilating sound.
Around 1997 his musical walkabouts took him to Africa, the extraordinary rhythms of Mandingo and Wassoulou and some of the foremost maestros of these traditions Toumani Diabaté, Bassekou Kouaiyté and Kélétigui Diabaté. These encounters resulted in the formation of the group ‘Taffetas’ which quickly went international with performances in the UK, France, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, North Korea, Zanzibar and Tanzania.
Roughly around the time since the turn of the century Marc embarked on a journey of musical discovery of the classical tradition of the Northern India. In India too, as he had in his previous journeys, Marc sought out and studied under some of grand masters of the tradition. This time however he did something he had not done before. To adequately assimilate and express the intricacies of this genre Marc modified and enhanced his guitar to create a unique instrument and sound. He named this creation the ‘Sit Guitar’ – an amalgamation of the Guitar and Sitar. With his beloved ‘Sit Guitar’ Marc has since played not just traditional Hindustani compositions but also a repertoire that he has created. He has in the process collaborated with such greats as Pandit Anindo Chatterjee, Rakesh Chaurasia, Rupak Kulkarni, to name a few. In the year 2006, he created the group ‘GendeRevolution’ with the Kolkata table virtuoso Nabankur Bhattacharia and the very talented Banarasi Violinist Sukhhdev Mishra. More recently in 2009 Marc conceptualised the ‘Atman Project’, in part to relive his jazz roots within the Hindustani canvas, with the jazz Flautist Guillaume Barraud and the tablist Prabhu Edouard.
While always pushing his own creative boundaries as a performer, Marc has also made successful forays as a producer and promoter. He has established the Nomad Hip Studio, in his home town Geneva through which he has put out recordings from India, Africa and Europe, including his own. In 2009 he also launched his own label ‘New healing Sounds’. Marc both produces and curates the label.
In the new album, Ibra Galissa’s kora performance takes on new paths, encompassing a mixture of Mandingo, Afro-Portuguese and Mbalax music, played with a jazz-like phrasing and breathtaking virtuosity. Marc Liebeskind artfully masters the intermingling of sound diversity always welcoming the unexpected encounters. His guitar is all permeated by long stays in India, Africa and Brazil. The duo is joined by François Gallix and Stephane Foucher in a base of improvisation with deep rhythmic anchoring, where the many strings intertwine in a jubilatory dance