“I agree with you, I have seen your concert with Rolf Lislevand and your music was so beautiful! You had an amazing interplay even if you were playing different instruments with different styles, how have you been able to create such an intense relationship?
Because he is a great guy! An incredible player but also a fantastic human being. If you’re going to play in such a duet with two rather radically different worlds, music, instruments, you need to first see all you actually have in common, and we do have a lot.
For me it’s maybe to take a parallel like when you play live on a movie, one rule us never to watch the film while playing, the only chance to go through is to have two parallel compact coherent lines. If I play what I really play and go through a story next to a film that is edited thought framed etc, the two distant lines may create a gap of poetry (if you follow the film you may enter into a bad circus). Maybe it’s a more generic thing with Rolf too, I always loved and did a lot of duets or encounters with other people that come from total different worlds and work pretty differently (with writers, authors, singers, actors, scientific people, any sorts of different music, flamenco, metal, country etc). If both are able to sustain the difference, because anyway each is each already, then a lot can happen. Rolf is great master, he has nothing to prove so for him it’s I guess simple to try. With more weak people they would get very worried, afraid to sound bad in a context not totally framed as they usually do, worried about what their usual audience will think, etc. With Rolf we barely didn’t talk before about what we will play, we enter studio first day, went for a nice lunch, then came back and noodled around just playing, seeing what would be the areas to go deeper with and after 45 minutes we both knew it I think. I had for example to get used to Lute acoustic volume, but it came pretty fast and on the other side it made me feel like pushing my Martin Acoustic guitar playing in his area. Very simple, really. It’s my old adage that you should better play first and rehearse after if needed only ….”
Noël Akchoté talking about Rolf Lislevand in my book Visionary Guitars Chatting with Guitarists