Joseph Tawadros




If moonlight made a sound, this might be it. But it would be the sound of a shy moon: one who opts to cloak herself in clouds, rather than wander baldly naked through the skies; whose muted light is dappled by still trees; a moon to whom we turn to see our grief reflected back. Although Joseph Tawadros can express the gamut of human emotions on his oud, he and his instrument’s dark timbre are supreme when at their saddest. This feeling never descends to the indulgent anguish of self-pity, but rather is a blood-brother of beauty.

It is a curiosity that the human face’s beauty is amplified by a smile, but that of art is routinely intensified by sorrow. The elfin On the Flipside apart, Tawadros’s 16 compositions here add up to his gentlest, sparsest and saddest opus yet, as though he has finally found permission to let the showier displays of his phenomenal craft evaporate, leaving this kernel of pure sonic moonlight. Helping pare his music back to these silvery flecks are his brother James (percussion), Damien De-Boos Smith (electric guitar), Veronique Serret (violin, including a seven-string model dipping deep into viola range), James Greening (trombone) and Luke Howard (piano).