Born in Oran, French Algeria, in 1957, when France was decolonizing its empire, Pierre Bensusan moved to Paris with his family at age 4. He began formal studies on piano at the age of 7, and at 11 taught himself guitar. Influenced in those early days by the folk revival blooming in Britain, France, and North America, Bensusan began first to explore his own diverse musical heritage and then moved to the horizons beyond. At 17, he signed his first recording contract, and one year later his first album, “Pres de Paris,” won the Grand Prix du Disque upon his debut at the Montreux Festival in Switzerland.
Bensusan was voted “Best World Music Guitar Player in 2008” by Guitar Player Magazine Readers Choice. His name became synonymous with contemporary acoustic guitar genius, long before the terms New Age, New Acoustic Music or World Music were invented. He has the ability to make a single guitar sound like an entire band as he brings the audience on a mesmerizing musical journey. And yet Bensusan is more than what any musician or music lover expects from a guitarist. He is a composer as well as a bilingual and brave improvisational vocalist, melding whistles and resonant low notes with something like his own scat technique.
There is a sense of something both playful and serious in Pierre Bensusan’s work, an unparalleled sense of freedom in his compositions and his improvisations. His playing defies classification - crossing world, classical, jazz, traditional, folk, and more. None can be isolated as simply Brazilian, Arabic or French; rather, they represent the world in its current state, a world sharing itself, fusing cultures together in ways never experienced. Not to be missed!
Tickets are $20 general and $18 students and seniors. For ticket reservations and information call (802) 254-9276. Hooker-Dunham Theater & Gallery is located at 139 Main Street. For more information visit www.pierrebensusan.com and www.hookerdunham.org.