Junun

Junun

by The Rajasthan Express

CD

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Overview

Accompanying a documentary film by American director Paul Thomas Anderson, Junun is a cross-cultural collaboration between Israeli singer/composer/musician Shye Ben Tzur, British guitarist/composer Jonny Greenwood (of Radiohead), and a group of Indian musicians dubbed the Rajasthan Express, along with producer Nigel Godrich. The album and film were recorded at the Mehrangarh Fort in the state of Rajasthan, India, and all of the songs were written by Ben Tzur, who resides in both India and Israel and composes qawwalis in Hebrew, Urdu, and Hindi. Ben Tzur's spirited vocals and devotional lyrics guide the proceedings, delivering universal messages of faith, hope, and unity; the final lines to the Hebrew-sung "Allah Elohim" translate as "To Jews I am a Jew, to Muslims -- a Muslim/In any tongue I speak/My language is one!" The music effortlessly combines the hypnotic rhythms and ecstatic vocals of qawwali (Sufi devotional music) with exuberant horns and Western elements such as guitars, keyboards, and drum machines (particularly on the bouncy, joyous disco-inflected standout "Roked"). Godrich's masterful production extends the echo a bit, taking it into the realm of the ethereal (particularly during the lengthy "Kalandar"), but it remains earthy and organic, letting the sounds of birds seep into the recordings, and showcasing the warmth and spirit of the music itself. Likewise, Greenwood adds his recognizable bass guitar pulse, as well as computers and synthesizers (including the ondes Martenot, an eerie-sounding early electronic instrument), but he is not the star of the show. The 19 musicians and singers who make up the Rajasthan Express are highly skilled at their instruments (including horns, percussion instruments such as dholak and bhapang, and stringed instruments sarangi and kamaicha) and qawwali choral vocals, playing precise arrangements while maintaining a relaxed, comfortable feel. The music feels spirited and ecstatic, but also down to earth and easily enjoyable by a vast range of audiences, regardless of religious persuasion or cultural background. Uplifting and joyful, Junun is an inspiring, resoundingly successful collaboration.

Product Details

Release Date: 11/20/2015
Label: Nonesuch
UPC: 0075597948479
catalogNumber: 552641

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Rajasthan Express   Primary Artist
Jonny Greenwood   Guitar,Bass Guitar,Keyboards,Ondes Martenot
Hazmat   Tuba
Shye Ben-Tzur   Flute,Guitar,Vocals
Chugge Khan   Percussion,Manjeera,Khartal
Zakir Ali Qawwal   Harmonium,Vocals
Nihal Khan   Dholak
Dara Khan   Kamanche
Afshana Khan   Vocals
Bhanwaru Khan   Tuba
Ajaj Damami   Trombone
Aamir Bhiyani   Trumpet
Gufran Ali Qawwali   Choir, Chorus
Ehtisham Khan Ajmeri Qawwali   Choir, Chorus,Dholak
Nathu Lal Solanki   Nagara
Sabir Damami   Tuba
Soheb Bhiyani   Trumpet
Shazib Ali   Choir, Chorus
Narsi Lal Solanki   Nagara
Asin Khan   Vocals,Sarungi
Razia Sultan   Vocals

Technical Credits

Nigel Godrich   Engineer
Jonny Greenwood   Arranger,Producer,drum machine
Traditional   Composer
Shin Katan   Artwork,Art Direction,Cover Photo
Brian Message   Management
Shye Ben-Tzur   Arranger,Composer,Poetry
Meera Bai   Poetry
"Khadim" Nawaba Gudri Shah Baba   Poetry
Sam Petts-Davies   Engineer
Ian Patrick   Art Direction
Achia Anzi   translation
Sajida Ben Tzur   translation
Shlomzion Kenan   translation
Sharona Katan   Project Controller
Jake Leslau   Management

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