Sunday, October 6, 2013

In Review--Persian Poetry and the Equinox

Shujaat Husain Khan, Katayoun Goudarzi, 
Abhiman Kaushal and Ajay Prasanna 
(no label)
To say that Spring by Hindustani sitarist Shujaat Husain Khan and Iranian vocalist Katayoun Goudarzi is a “heart” album barely describes the listening experience.  Combining the ancient Sufi poet Rumi’s soulful language with the strains of Indian sitar, bansuri flute (Ajay Prasanna) and gentle tabla beats (Abhiman Kaushal), these musicians aim for spiritual Oneness and achieve it.  Certainly, I would love to have the Rumi text in front of me while listening to this double CD recording, but even closing my eyes and allowing the voices and instruments to float over and around me takes me to a meditative place.
Yâr with its lilting melody, repetitive poetry line, and delicious beats as well as, passionate Spring (titular track), stand out as favorites for me.  The first song mentioned features virtuoso sitar that wraps around Goudarzi’s sensual alto voice.  You can feel the singer’s longing dripping off her voice.  When Husain Khan and Goudarzi’s voices blend together listeners enjoy a musical respite as well.   Can’t have spring without Autumn and on this dreamy track, we are treated to alap moments (the first and slow movement of a raga where a melody gently unfolds).  The bansuri flute, baritone vocals, and slow moving sitar act as the perfect balm for a Vata dosha.  It’s a song that drifts like an autumn leaf in a breeze, gently floating down to a leafy ground. 
In fact, most of the songs, (dare I call them ragas?), here have listeners gently floating into inner space, and most effectively, into the heart center.  However, watch out for bursts of passion which conclude the songs.  When exceptional talented musicians set Persian poetry to classical Indian music, we know the musical journey can only take us to a fantastic healing place.  I recommend you go there.

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