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Ten Steps collaboration takes music world by storm

Max ZT and Dan Whitehouse are two brilliant musicians.

Ten Steps collaboration takes music world by storm

Seasoned performers set to light up the stage with a debut collaboration album: Ten Steps 

“Exciting and exceptional… also deeply intuitive, poetic and rewarding” Folk Radio UK 

Max ZT and Dan Whitehouse bring their haunting blend of virtuosic hammered dulcimer, soulful song and spoken-word to Ropetackle on Wednesday 25 October, with a blend of music that’s like nothing you might have heard before. And as a venue that’s keen to push the boundaries and embrace new sounds, we’re delighted to play host to the experimental partnership that has got the music press in a frenzy!

The Ten Steps Tour
New Yorker Max ZT, aka the ‘Jimi Hendrix of the hammered dulcimer’ and Black Country/Tokyo singer-songwriter/guitarist Dan Whitehouse originally met and collaborated online via the Womax award-winning international Global Music Match scheme, organised by English Folk Expo and Folk Alliance International in partnership with 19 other countries. They first toured together in the UK during November 2021, and have since collaborated to record the beautiful Ten Steps album.

Tackling subjects as wide-ranging as fatherhood, practising golf swings as a metaphor for life, the way the Japanese sunlight bounces off buildings “like God’s graffiti”, and the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, Max ZT and Dan Whitehouse’s songs shimmer with restless inventiveness and draw you in with their irresistible intimacy.

“We try to be in the moment as much as possible,” says Max of the live shows. “There are flashes of enlightenment, elements of improvisation. We rarely get such moments of connection in real life.”

ZT is renowned for his groundbreaking compositional style, taking stylistic cues from a dizzying array of influences. He studied in Senegal with the Cissokho griot family and in India, where he received a grant to study under the santoor master Pandit Shivkumar Sharma, but he also loves Irish folk. He is part of the respected trio House Of Waters.

Singer-songwriter/guitarist Dan Whitehouse, who spends his time between the UK and Japan has released seven solo albums and been celebrated for his “subtle and delicate melodies” (Sunday Times). Nominated for the FATEA 2022 Innovation Award, Dan has become known for his drive to renew, re-invent and imagine, and the ‘Ten Steps’ project see him push boundaries further, stepping into the arena of improvisation and spoken word.

“When Max plays it feels like the sky is opening up,” says Dan of this project. “I see things that weren’t there before. Ultimately I think that’s why we turn to art. We yearn to get outside of our own heads, and see the world from another’s perspective.

“This is what Max ZT and I are doing with Ten Steps – tapping into that deep, shared magnetic field.”

Ropetackle’s marketing manager Nicky Thornton said: “This is something quite different and crosses a range of genres. The music is both timeless and fresh-sounding, and we were captivated on the very first listen. Our intimate auditorium is the perfect setting for such a beautiful, haunting production and we look forward to welcoming a diverse audience. They won’t be disappointed.”

Book tickets here

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