Drawing from Jazz, european music, Middle Eastern and Indian heritages, Berlin-based guitarist and composer Hub Hildenbrand reveals places that have so far been closed to the guitar, creating an expressive language of his own.
Hildenbrand studied jazz and improvisation at Music Conservatory in Rotterdam (NL) in 1995–1998 and was later awarded a full scholarship to Berklee College of Music (Boston/USA) in 1998–1999, where he studied under the American jazz guitarist Mick Goodrick, who was an influential mentor of guitarists Pat Metheny and Bill Frisell.
The understanding of jazz tradition laid in him the strong foundation for developing his own voice. Jazz was historically formed through multi cultural influences, and a key aspect is the expression of the individual. On this basis he could naturally develop a distinct language, which he was able to make any music accessible.
Through a chance encounter he discovered the turkish music in colorful Berlin. Hildenbrand wanted to understand this music deeply and enrolled at the Conservatory of Turkish Music. There he was the student of oud-master Nuri Karademirli, who could transmit to him the modes and subtleties of Turkish classical music.
Nuri Karademirli states: "I never met a German musician who was so serious about the microtonal system of Turkish Classical Music. I was impressed all the more when he (Hildenbrand) pitched the tones on the fretted guitar perfectly. I don’t know any other musician, who, on one hand, has so intensively engaged with the microtonal system on the guitar and on the other hand brings the fine ears and the deep feeling for this music."
Hildenbrand is inspired by the music of other cultures and of the world at large. Hildenbrand's mission is to bring the bewitching poetic colours of other string instrument’s timbres (like oud, sarod, sitar, rabab and tar) to his instrument. The understanding that there is a common ground underlying all musical cultures, a musical language spanning the world is a central part of his philosophy.
Hildenbrand states: "My instrument is the guitar, although at times I often hated it. I found that I could more easily relate to the sounds of the Turkish oud, Indian sarod, Afghan rabab and Persian tar. I could lose myself completely in their sounds. To find my language on the guitar, I needed to go on extended journeys, until the guitar finally began to reward me and became a wonderful means to express myself."
Driven by curiosity, opening new doors, his travels took him further to Calcutta (India), where he was able to learn Classical Indian Music first hand. He was a student of sarod-master Ranajit Sengupta. India was one of his most influential experiences. He felt connected to the culture, and the cultures deep connection to the presence of spirituality opened up a mystical space for him and his relationship to music.
For Hildenbrand the deep mystery of music is in the nuances and colours and the realisation of silence. It is his greatest reward when the listener is touched by his music, when it speaks directly to his soul.
Hildenbrand states: "Music brings us in the present moment. Improvised music in particular. It makes each moment precious. Music is a language where I can express myself. When I play, I want to be touched and overwhelmed by the music. Music for me is an act of uncompromising self-expression. It is the language of the soul. For me being a musician is not a profession – it is a calling."