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Moon Rise Over the Silk Road
     

Moon Rise Over the Silk Road

by Ghazal
 
The third collaboration between Persian kamancheh virtuoso Kayhan Kalhor and Indian sitarist Shujaat Husain Khan travels farther still along the Silk Road. Not the real Silk Road, that ancient trade route that connected China, India, and the Middle East -- but a Silk Road of the imagination, whose perfumed expanses bridge the vast traditions of Arabic and

Overview

The third collaboration between Persian kamancheh virtuoso Kayhan Kalhor and Indian sitarist Shujaat Husain Khan travels farther still along the Silk Road. Not the real Silk Road, that ancient trade route that connected China, India, and the Middle East -- but a Silk Road of the imagination, whose perfumed expanses bridge the vast traditions of Arabic and Indian classical music. Both of these deeply programmatic, highly meditative, and achingly expressive forms are embodied in the playing of Kalhor and Khan. Over three epic, largely instrumental compostions (Khan adds vocals in both Urdu and Persian), Kalhor's reedy bowing is answered by Khan's scintillating sitar runs and joined by the tabla of Swapan Chaudhuri. While these thematically unfolding pieces may feel like Indian ragas or Persian classical performances, they are closer to jazz improvizations: In fact, the first Ghazal album was recorded less than an hour after Khan and Kalhor first met. But an ever-more-sensitive partnership has developed between the two, and the lustrous MOONRISE presents some enduringly original melodies amid the enveloping atmospherics. One delight of Ghazal is that their mood music also stands up in the court of ethnomusicology; the playing of each musician, so steeped in classical training, continuously draws forth new intimacies linking the respective traditions. Another is that a music so painstakingly, studiously achieved can result in such a walloping emotional payoff. Bravo, gentlemen.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Adam Greenberg
The third release from traditional fusionists Ghazal, combining Persian and Indian musics, which are closely related but highly differ in their own ways. Kayhan Kalhour is a virtuoso on the kemantche, as is Shujaat Khan on the sitar. Together they are able to make stunning runs through the combined sounds of the two traditions. The opening number, "Fire in My Heart," allows for a nice run of call and response between the two instruments, with Kalhour switching over to plucking the kemantche for a bit as well. Eventually, the two players combine to create a texture of sound that swirls around the backing tabla and tamburas at top speed. The interplay between the two stringed instruments is outstanding here, as is the accompaniment by Swapan Chaudhuri on tabla. In the second number, the duo opts for a light dhun, powered largely by the lighter tones on both the kemantche and the sitar's more carefree twang. In the third number, Khan breaks out of his usual Urdu singing and into Persian for a relatively long composition about the nay. Rather surprisingly, the nay isn't utilized at all in the song to its tribute. Instead, the kemantche mimics its sound to the best of its ability. Also, the tombak is added to the ensemble to add an additional bit of Persian flavor to the sound. The Indian and Persian traditions are closely tied, both historically and in their mutual strife to re-create the perfection of the human voice. Here the traditions are joined to wonderful effect. Pick it up for a nice fusion of two virtuoso instrumentalists performing in largely traditional manners, a rarity for fusionists it would seem. Moreover, pick it up as a generally enjoyable album for newcomers and the initiated alike.

Product Details

Release Date:
02/22/2000
Label:
Shanachie
UPC:
0016351662422
catalogNumber:
66024
Rank:
63034

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