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MP3 Yochanan Sebastian Winston & Carl Hammond - Chamsin - Music of Reconciliation

A heady admixture of New Age, jazz, electronica and World music that is dedicated to peace and reconciliation

6 MP3 Songs in this album (49:04) !
Related styles: NEW AGE: Progressive Electronic, WORLD: World Beat

People who are interested in Jaco Pastorius St. Germain Hubert Laws should consider this download.

Chamsin – Common Ground

Dr. Yochanan Sebastian Winston

Chamsin is offered to the world as a parable and a prayer for peace and reconciliation in the Middle East. The title of the work is a Hebrew word for the hot, dry wind that blows off the desert: it is intended to carry a message of reconciliation to a troubled region, across cultures as a balm for an old family squabble…

The conflict in the Middle East is a centuries-long struggle that dates from the time of Abraham. According to the Torah, Abraham exiled his concubine, Hagar, along with Ishmael, the son she bore him before Sarah, Abraham’s first wife, delivered the promised (and reportedly, preferred) Isaac. Muslims recognize Ishmael as one of their patriarchs and derive their genealogy through him. Jews on the other hand, derive their lineage through Isaac, Ishmael’s half-brother. Scholars consider this split over primogeniture (the right of the firstborn son to inherit the entire estate) to have caused the original divide between Muslims and Jews.

For generations, the differences between Jews and non-Jews in the Middle East have created rifts that many of the world’s greatest minds have been unable to heal. And yet, as a chamsin blows through this turbulent and wounded region, it mixes the soils of the earth, without regard for legal or political boundaries. Allegorically, the music of Chamsin is intended to blow “common ground” across the divides of enmity; it is a poem of reconciliation.

Chamsin was originally commissioned by the Jacobs Family Foundation to accompany an exhibit of the Dead Sea Scrolls at the San Diego Natural History Museum in the summer and fall of 2007. This remarkable exhibit included six of the original Scrolls brought directly from Israel, scholarly presentations by world-renowned authorities and a stunning photographic collection that portrayed the awesome physical surroundings of the Qumran caves where the Scrolls were discovered.

The Dead Sea Scrolls elicit complex imagery that is prized by Jews, Muslims and Christians alike. These Holy Scriptures, hidden for centuries in clay urns in desert caves, were accidentally discovered by a Bedouin Muslim shepherd boy at the nexus of three of the world’s great religions. The scrolls, originally written and stored by Jews, are assumed by many scholars to have been hidden by an Essene sect – a radical group of Jews. The Essenes are believed to have been a splinter group that John the Baptist was associated with – Jesus’ first cousin and in Christian theology, the ersatz precursor of the messiah in the tradition of Elijah the Prophet. Another Jewish/Christian connection concerns one of the most complete Scrolls discovered in Qumran, that of Isaiah. Both groups hold Isaiah in the highest esteem for his prophetic power and incomparably beautiful poetry. How remarkable that the Scrolls, treasured relics of Jewish and Christian history, were discovered by a Bedouin Muslim shepherd boy!

By reason of this shared interest in the Dead Sea Scrolls, the caves of Qumran stand as a vivid symbol of a powerful and absolute truth: the truth of a connectedness born from a shared history that is uniquely claimed by Jews, Christians and Muslims. As the chamsin blows across the desert, through camps and over borders, so should the spirit of reconciliation. We, as human beings are truly connected to one another. This piece is intended to remind us of our connectedness: let these winds carry a message of peace.

About the music:

Chamsin – The Music of Reconciliation represents a very contemporary composition process. Throughout it, Carl and I would work independently while emailing tracks to one another. Most of the initial work was done using Reason, a soft-synth/composition program from Scandinavia. The other person would then edit, change or even recompose the work as he saw fit. After the files were “done”, we would meet at Carl’s and record the live tracks. I played all of the acoustic instruments; Carl did all of the mixing while piecing together all sorts of musical information that we had accumulated.

Duduk - The piece opens with the duduk, an ancient instrument from Armenia. The instrument has roots going back several thousand years and although it is Armenian, it is evocative of the Middle East. The instrument is often used in film, usually to elicit an image of the Middle East desert, as in Syriana and Munich.

Sherav is a Hebrew synonym for chamsin. Thus, a hot, dry desert wind akin to a sirocco or a Santa Ana. The piece makes extensive use of acoustic wind sounds produced by a soprano and a bass flute. The groove in the second section was inspired by contemporary, “downtempo” dance music.

Desert Winds begins with a Patrick Olwell bamboo flute improvisation, which outlines the harmonic material of the song. The jazz solo in the B section is played on my Brannen-Cooper 14K gold flute.

Sufat chol begins with the return of the recorded chamsin, with harmonic material that was “liberated” by Carl from Kenny Dorham’s Blue Bossa. While composing this piece, we went back and forth on different strategies, finally settling upon a minimalist one “after” Steve Reich to whom the work is dedicated. The title is ostensibly the Hebrew version of “dust devil”, a small, tornado-like event. Israelis have told me that these do not exist in the Land, nor is there a Hebrew word for them. If anyone knows a better Hebrew word for “dust devil”, let me know!

Minharah – literally “cave”. The piece begins with the bass flute played while singing into it. The B section melody is played on the soprano flute followed by a soprano sax solo and a restatement of the melody.

Qumran – with this song, the piece revisits the duduk and the recorded chamsin. The soprano flute blows blissfully over the desert landscape like a dust devil bouncing blithely from camp to camp. A final prayer that we may see peace in the Middle East in our time, soon and let us all say “Amen”.


Yochanan Sebastian Winston has performed as flutist, saxophonist, conductor and composer throughout the United States, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Finland, France and Latin America in addition to leading numerous musical groups in Southern California. He has made appearances with world-renown musicians in concert halls, music festivals and on live radio and television broadcasts in such places as the Darmstadt Ferienkurse, IRCAM (Paris), WDR (Köln), Fylkingen (Stockholm) and “Time of Music” (Vitasaari, Finland). Among the artists with whom he has performed are Chaka Khan, David Sanborn, Anthony Braxton, Steve Reich, Avraham Fried, the Arditti String Quartet and Pierre-Yves Artaud. He has given noteworthy premières both here and abroad of over fifty pieces composed specifically for him. Dr. Winston holds a Ph.D. from the University of California at San Diego, a Diplôme from the Conservatoire National de Region de Boulogne-Billancourt in France (where he studied with Pierre-Yves Artaud), a Master of Music and a Bachelor of Music from the Manhattan School of Music in New York City. In addition to his work with Artaud, he studied with Julius Baker, Thomas Nyfenger, Harold Bennett, Jean-Pierre Rampal, Harvey Sollberger and Joseph Allard, among others.
Winston currently lives in Southern California with his wife and three children. He is fluent in four languages.

Carl Hammond holds a Bachelors and Masters degree in Music Theory and Composition from the University of New Mexico and a Ph.D. in Composition from the University of Sydney (Australia). He has been a professional musician, working regularly as a trombonist, pianist, composer/arranger, conductor, and educator in Los Angeles, Toronto, Sydney, London, and San Diego.

He began working in the field of music technology in 1985 and established a publishing company, Scamp Publications, with a catalog of nearly 60 original pieces. For the past ten years, he has operated his own state-of-the-art recording studio where he produces arrangements, compositions, recordings and CDs of his own work as well as for a wide variety of clients and artists.

For seven years he taught Electronic Music and Music Technology at San Diego City College, where he still teaches Jazz Improvisation. He is currently the Director of the Concert Band program at Palomar College, Conductor with the San Diego Youth Symphony and Musical Director of the San Diego Youth Philharmonic.

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