Outhouse Ruhabi
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Outhouse Ruhabi

London, England, United Kingdom | SELF

London, England, United Kingdom | SELF
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"Forming musical communities is all the rage for young jazz artists on the London scene. The emerging double-sax quartet Outhouse is part of the up-and-coming Loop Collective. At the heart of the project is drummer David Smith. Following his time spent studying with musicians in the Gambia, he took Outhouse to West Africa to team up with five Sabar drummers, forming Outhouse Ruhabi in the process. The group consequently toured and recorded in the UK, the fruits of which are presented on this beautifully packages album.
Ruhabi translates from the Wolof language as 'on the corner' - an important meeting place in the Gambian community - and the two elements of Outhouse Ruhabi aim to meet at a point of musicial consensus. Rather than pursuing a fusion in which traditional themes are given a contemporary jazz treatment, Outhouse commits to a lively conversation with the remarkable language of the Sabar percussionists. Sometimes the saxaphones riff over Johnny Brierley's sweet toned bass playing while parallel percussive textures are explored underneath, as on 'Ruhabi (Kaolack)'. But the band just as frequently stand aside to let the complex polyrhythms and lusts Wolof vocals take over ('Mam Bamba'). This subtlety is most striking on 'Song for Ibu (Lamba)', where Outhouse's free improvisations run in tandem with Laity Fye's throaty voice. Ruhabi is a project borne of several years of communication and the empathy between these musicians is obvious, with a finely balanced but meaty sound and some deeply funky moments: a worthy and engaging collaboration." - ***Songlines, Tim Woodall

"Ruhabi means "on the corner" a meeting place - in the Wolof culture of the Gambia. That's where this project began, when the British two-sax quartet Outhouse, sterred by inventive drummer Dave Smith, studied there with local musicians in 2007. They bought five Gambian Sabar drum players to the UK the next year, and recorded this absorbing collaboration. It isn't world jazz in the sense that themes drawn from a traditional culture are then subjected to a jazz/improv examination - this is a much more oeganic encounter, in which a Dave Holland or Tim Berne-like approach to melodies based on complex beats is used to create a contemporary-jazz parallel to the talkative drum language of the Gambians. Sometimes excellent tenorists Robin Fincker and Mark Hanslip make it sound like Wayne Shorter's drily insinuating tenor-sax approach with African-percussion underpinnings; sometimes the Africans vocal chants are uppermost; sometimes it's engagingly funky, occasionally even distantly like 1950s cool school music with a much more animated rhythm section. It's a venture that jumps out from the pack" - ****The Gaurdian, John Fordham


Ruhabi – Loop Records 2009

Ruhabi Live - Loop Records 2010

05/2008: Live recording for Jazz Line up (BBC radio3)
05/2008: Airplay - Jazz on 3
08/2009: Featured on WDR3 JazzNacht (WDR)
10/2009: Live recording for resonance FM



Beautifully stitching together two very different musical genres, Outhouse Ruhabi displays a seamless blend of serrated jazz grooves, free-flowing melody, African polyrhythm and traditional Sabar drumming language.

The group formed in 2007 when the much sought-after contemporary Jazz quartet, Outhouse, traveled to The Gambia to compose and perform with five traditional Sabar drummers. They worked together to create a unique body of music to present to UK audiences and following a concert at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival in 2008 the group recorded at Livingston Studios (World Circuit). 'Ruhabi' was released on Loop records in October 2009 and the group embarked on a 14-date UK tour which received rave reviews from press and audiences alike. In 2010 the group released 'Ruhabi Live' from this tour.

Ruhabi translates from the Wolof language as 'on the corner' - an important meeting place in the Gambian community - and the two elements of Outhouse Ruhabi aim to meet at a point of musical consensus.

The brainchild of drummer and world percussionist Dave Smith (Justin Adams & Juldeh Camara, Iness Mezel), Outhouse Ruhabi is the culmination of years spent studying West African rhythms whilst being rooted in the heart of today’s London contemporary Jazz scene. Thus, this unique project has received the support from BBC Performing Arts Fund, Arts Council England, PRS-Foundation and the Jerwood Foundation.

From this year onwards the four Outhouse members are joined by four sabar drummers who now live in Europe; two of which are original members of the Ruhabi project. Throughout 2011 Outhouse Ruhabi aim to develop their new incarnation of the group via performances and workshops in East London (particularly within the West African communities) and perform on international concert platforms such as Africolor Festival, Paris and the London Jazz Festival.

For live dates:
Robin Fincker - tenor sax
Tom Challenger - tenor sax
Johnny Brierley - bass
Dave Smith - drums
Baboucar Camara - sabar
Kaw Secka - sabar
Alieu Seine - sabar
Pap Cham - sabar