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Q&A with Erik from Unit-E



Welcome to our exclusive interview with Erik Ritfield, the producer, composer, and pianist behind the groundbreaking jazz-fusion ensemble, Unit-E, in collaboration with Scoope. With their album, 'Root Note', Unit-E embarks on a spiritual odyssey, inviting listeners to immerse themselves in a mesmerizing sonic landscape. Drawing inspiration from a diverse array of musical traditions, including Surinamese rhythms and the enchanting melodies of "Kawina" music, Unit-E creates a captivating fusion of sound that transcends boundaries and captivates the soul. In this interview, we delve deep into Erik's background and the creative process behind 'Root Note', exploring the band's commitment to artistic freedom and their mission to cultivate positivity and inspiration through music. Join us as we journey into the heart of Unit-E's musical narrative, where every note is a testament to the power of creativity, collaboration, and the universal language of music.

 

- Can you tell us about your musical heroes and inspirations, both in general and specifically regarding keyboard players who have influenced your style?

I created my own style after listening to all kinds of music in my younger years like blues / afro jazz / reggae /high life / kawina etc. because of my father who had a lot of different records at home and I was always introduced to something new.


- With your diverse musical background, what contemporary artists or genres are you currently listening to for inspiration or enjoyment?

On top of just music, the environment of nature inspires me day by day to create more music.


- Many may not know about your illustrious great-uncle, Surinamese saxophonist Kid Dynamite. Could you share with us some insights into his musical legacy and how it has influenced your own musical journey?

Kid Dynamite who was  the brother of my grandmother had a unique way of composing music combining Suriname music kaseko and kawina with blues and jazz. That was a challenge at the time and is a great inspiration for me.


- You are known for your collaborations with renowned musicians and formations, both in the past and currently with UNIT-E. How do you experience working with such talented individuals, and what does it reveal about you as a musician?

To have the opportunity to work with the musicians who helped me a lot with the production means a lot to me. I am very grateful because the sessions were instructive and constructive.


- Your music carries a message of freedom and positivity. How do you strive to convey these themes through your compositions, and what impact do you hope they have on your audience?

In short, I would say that it fits well with the purpose I strive for to grow in creativity.


- The transformation of your band from Erik Ritfeld Unit to UNIT-E symbolizes unity and inclusivity. Could you elaborate on how this change reflects your vision as an artist and your mission to bring people together through music?

In the band, it's about freeing up the mind  in my compositions by not always playing the same thing

The songs are written with the aim of touching people's hearts and communicating on a different level than we are used to.


- As a musician of Surinamese descent, how do you incorporate your cultural heritage into your music, and what significance does it hold for you personally and artistically?

Surinamese music was made by the Maroons who've been fighting against colonialism and also the Indians from the interior and has a strong meaning when it comes to freedom and human rights. I can relate to that and see it as a duty to pass on that message to the young generation who are not so often kept informed about their history.



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