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MICHAEL CHURCH

The Scotsman

20 February 2011

CD Review

Masters of Persian Music
Navaarts, only available from Navaarts.co.uk ****


THE day after I filed last week's review of Shahkilid's new disc, Nedaye Asemani, this CD came through the letterbox. And what it does is flesh out the tradition to which I alluded, while praising the work of a contemporary Iranian group of improvisers who had managed to remain true in spirit to their country's ancient style. This recording – which has never been released before – is of a live concert in Teheran in 1976, just three years before the revolution.

The ultra-refined style developed by oud player Barbad in the 6th century was the preserve of the courts until the early 20th century, when it became staple fare for intimate gatherings; the 1979 revolutionaries first boosted it as a replacement for Western pop, then proscribed it, before encouraging its growth once more.

But only in small, often private venues, and within limits: women may not sing for an audience of men, and every lyric (sung by anybody) must be vetted for religious correctness.

Ali Akbar Shahnazi, the player here on the tar lute, was born in the 19th century, while his colleagues were born at the start of the 20th: with voice, drum, and zither they deliver their exquisitely codified "radif" with burning conviction.

MICHAEL CHURCH

The Scotsman

20 February 2011



 

 

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