Paul Baraka is an enigmatic figure in the world of contemporary music. Many consider him to be a genius. Over several years, he has explored music in all of its forms, seeking to renew it, to reinvent it and to free its expression from traditional constraints. In Paul’s world, music is crafted to awaken the soul, to challenge the spirit and to foster introspection.
A genius by design, or by happenstance? To understand Paul’s passion, one must understand the energy that drives him and the prophetic vision that motivates him. A lengthy childhood illness left him in a semi-comatose state. He awoke haunted by a powerful and obsessing music and he made it his life’s work to express it. This was to be no ordinary music. It was to be a unique expression borne of a quest for an epic transcendence.
The story of the journey is worthy of being told. At the age of eighteen, Paul took up the piano and mastered it within two years, thanks to the support and encouragement of Jean-Marc Crête, then director of Montreal’s Collège Sainte-Croix. Paul, who had no musical training of any kind, arrived at Mr. Crête’s office one day and announced that he would not leave the premises until he was admitted to the college’s music program. This was true to form for Paul and the results were worth the gamble. Two years later, he won first prize in a national recital competition held at the college. Thereafter, he was admitted to the music program at Université de Montréal.
Paul Baraka is dyslexic. He can neither write nor read with normal proficiency, although he pores through scientific and historical texts that cater to his passions. Paul cannot write nor read music. He hears and he “understands” the sounds. Experts are confounded by his skills and the “genius” label has been attached to what they are at a loss to explain. Sorbonne musicologist Louis Hage, whom at one time was a mentor of Paul’s, encouraged his protégé to defy convention rather than to give in to conformist ways that would surely depreciate his talents. Paul was destined for better things.
Paul Baraka has composed music for television, documentaries, commercials, albums, live shows and more. In Canada, he has been nominated for a Gemini award and a Prix Gémeaux. Paul is a proud techno geek who appreciates and applies the synergies that make music and technology greater than than the sum of their parts. This has opened new vistas for leading-edge musical creation.
Paul is at work on several long form projects and he continues to relish the challenges and possibilities that each day brings. He embraces the role of the curious savant who feels and dwells in his art unlike a traditional composer does. Not surprisingly, chaos theory is where he finds a higher order that reveals invisible but profound harmonies.
Paul Baraka dreams of music as an art that blends human creativity with the momentum and wonder of science and technology. This combination of contrasting elements represents the key to an alternative of what has become wayward and worn. A musical form that is and has always been humankind’s only tool to name and to touch that which is divine.