130

Ghazal: The Rain

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Ghazal: The Rain
Six years and four records after forming the unit known as Ghazal, a collision between Persian and North Indian traditions, Kayhan Kalhor and Shujaat Husain Khan have stepped off the Silk Road. Kalhor is a master of the fiddle-like kamancheh and thoroughly steeped in the Iranian classical repertoire; he also spent considerable time learning Western classical music. Shujaat comes from a long line of musicians, specializing in the Imdad Khan school and emphasizing the lyrical aspect of the sitar. His rare vocal contributions transform the fusion into a sort of worldly folk music.

The titles of these three pieces are hardly subtle: "Fire," "Dawn," and "Eternity." They represent a continuum and embody a spectrum of tone and energy. "Fire" has a punchy (though still meditative) vitality, its conversations tending toward terse statements strung together in a sequence with surprising continuity. "Dawn" turns inward, and "Eternity" offers an unapologetic atmosphere of revelation and resolution.

The Iranian and North Indian musical traditions share harmonic, melodic, and rhythmic features dating back centuries, and despite an ostensible contrast between styles, there's more in common than may immediately be apparent. Shujaat's ear is equally attuned to the serene drone-like and expressive melodic qualities of the sitar, which he uses alternately to support Kalhor and render ideas of his own. The thirty-something Sandeep Das lends understated support on the tabla throughout.

Iranian music rarely reaches Western ears for political, cultural, and economic reasons, and so it's a pleasure to hear Kalhor play his violin-like instrument in and around this hybrid idiom. It's tonally centered and grounded in a relatively fixed harmonic framework, but within these confines his creative range is extremely broad. Bowed or pizzicato, foreground or background, subtle or extroverted, his voice feels warm and personal.

The hour of music presented on The Rain comes from a 2001 live performance in front of an audience at Radio DRS in Bern, which of course only enlivens the proceedings. For the uninitiated, this duo presents a wonderfully accessible and dynamic gateway into an under-appreciated zone of the musical universe.

Visit ECM Records on the web.

Track Listing

Fire; Dawn; Eternity.

Personnel

Kayhan Kalhor: kamancheh; Shujaat Husain Khan: sitar, vocals. With Sandeep Das: tabla.

Album information

Title: The Rain | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: ECM Records

Post a comment about this album

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Read HH
HH
Lionel Loueke
Read Secrets & Lies
Secrets & Lies
Jakko M. Jakszyk
Read Dominos
Dominos
Chuck Anderson
Read Ceremonie / Musique
Ceremonie / Musique
What Happens In A Year
Read Hypnotized
Hypnotized
Jason "Spicy G" Goldman
Read Molecular
Molecular
James Brandon Lewis

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.