An espresso with…

Image Credits: Sandcatchers © Reuben Radding

January 29, 2018
Sandcatchers is a Brooklyn based quartet with a very distinctive sound. We reached Yoshie Fruchter to let us know more about this interesting project.
> Ivano Rossato

How was the Sandcatchers project born?

A couple of years ago, I was playing solo oud sets weekly at a restaurant in Brooklyn called Cheryl’s Global Soul and after awhile, I started thinking about which musicians were local and who’s instruments would be a good sonic fit. Eventually, Myk Freedman started coming with his lap steel, Michael Bates with his upright and (original drummer) Yonadav Halevy with a small drum kit and a sound started to form. We all realized how special the sound was pretty quickly, and I soon started writing and workshopping music for that specific ensemble.

Your sound seems to come from very different cultures; how did you build your style?
One thing that I think is specifically unique about my and Myk’s playing is that we both play instruments with very specific histories and traditions, but we play them in somewhat non-traditional ways. Myk has created an entirely new sound on the lap steel using elements of free music, rock and atmospheric texturing and there really isn’t anyone who plays it like him. I study traditional music on the oud and the instrument by its nature evokes very specific geographical regions and music style, but I don’t necessarily feel the need to have these styles be a frontal element of our sound. I think is the combination of the “traditional” sounds of the instruments and the “non-traditional” ways that we play them.
How was the album What We Found Along the Way born and what feelings would you like to communicate with it?
In addition to the band itself, cellist Erik Friedlander joined us for five tunes on the record and his sound, virtuosity and approach fit in so well with what we were doing. During the session, Danny Shatzky at Vibromonk studios was constantly on top of capturing the sound of the band in a natural and pristine way and we’re so grateful for his hard work on that. My sister, poet and author Temim Fruchter wrote the poem What We Found Along the Way that titled the music and the record. The name of the band, “Sandcatchers” and the title of the record both evoke a feeling of searching and trying to attain something that might be out of reach. I feel like that’s representative of the music in the sense that we are constantly in search of new sonic ground and to connect with people in deeper ways.
Thinking of all the musical genres, which artists of the past have influenced you the most and which musicians of today are particularly interesting for you?
Sister Rosetta Tharpe was not only the godmother of rock and roll guitar, but crossed a really interesting line between the sacred and secular in her music. Jazz guitarist Jim Hall has always been one of my favorite players in his sensitivity lyricism and spare and very intentional approach to playing. Finally, my oud teacher and virtuoso Ara Dinkjian, who has taught me so much about the oud, music and life, has been a great influence as well.
What are your plans for the future of Sandcatchers?
We’re currently putting together tours in North America and Europe for the coming year and will also be starting work on the next record. In the coming months, I hope to have some new video content out with some interesting collaborations as well.
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