From Afghanistan to Azerbaijan - via San Francisco: Three New Central Asian Music CD/DVDs
On March 30th, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings and the Aga Khan Music Initiative will release the latest installment, Vols. 7-9, of the unprecedented, comprehensive, and GRAMMY-nominated "Music of Central Asia" series.
- In the Shrine of the Heart: Popular Classics from Bukhara and Beyond (Vol. 7)
- Rainbow: Kronos Quartet with Alim and Fargana Qasimov and Homayun Sakhi (Vol. 8)
- In the Footsteps of Babur: Musical Encounters from the Lands of the Mughals (Vol. 9)
These sets of CD-DVDs reflect the profound musical diversity of Central Asia. Each disc features full-color booklets with extensive liner notes, an instrument glossary and a DVD with a documentary film about the music and performers.
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Music of Central Asia Vol. 7: In the Shrine of the Heart: Popular Classics from Bukhara and Beyond
Generations of Uzbek and Tajik singer-songwriters bequeathed a remarkable legacy of lyrical ballads, devotional songs and instrumental pieces to the gifted master-musicians who perform on In the Shrine of the Heart (Vol. 7). Rooted in the sophisticated urban song traditions of Bukhara, Samarkand, Tashkent, Qoqand, and Khiva, these popular classics come alive in superbly recorded new performances. The lyrics are drawn from a vast corpus of classical poetry and other forms of verse written in Persian and a variety of Turkic languages and dialects between the 10th and 20th centuries, and are set to new melodies.
Music of Central Asia Vol. 8: Rainbow: Kronos Quartet with Alim and Fargana Qasimov and Homayun Sakhi
Rainbow (Vol. 8) consists of two bold collaborations with the Kronos Quartet, America's premier new-music quartet, with each reaching across continents and cultures, and across musical categories and conventions. The first is the Kronos Quartet's collaboration with renowned rubab player Homayun Sakhi on Rainbow, his composition for rubab, string quartet, and percussion. Not a composer who notates his compositions, Sakhi composed and recorded the rubab part on his own instrument, and realized the string quartet sounds on a Casio synthesizer. These recordings were given to long time Kronos Quartet collaborator and award-winning concert pianist, composer, arranger and musical festival founder Stephen Prutsman, who transcribed the piece and wrote it out in Western music notation. Sakhi and the Kronos Quartet recorded the composition at Skywalker Ranch, outside San Francisco.
The other collaboration is with the Alim Qasimov Ensemble on five Azerbaijani popular song arrangements. With the help of performer-composer-arranger Jacob Garchik, Kronos and the Qasimov ensemble were able to take Azerbaijan arrangement's that Qasimov had turned into quasi-improvisations, and turn them back into arrangements. These songs were enthusiastically received during a world premiere at London's Barbican Centre during Ramadan Nights, and recorded the day after the concert.
On March 14th the Kronos Quartet will perform at Carnegie Hall with Qasimov and Sakhi in the Quartet's Music Without Borders showcase in support of Rainbow.
Music of Central Asia Vol. 9: In the Footsteps of Babur: Musical Encounters from the Lands of the Mughals
On In the Footsteps of Babur (Vol. 9) five brilliant instrumentalists illuminate the musical legacy of the Mughal Empire, founded five centuries ago by Emperor Babur. The album is an exploration of the common ground of musical styles, sensibilities and instruments from Central Asia, Afghanistan and North India. The CD features raga, or classical Indian music, played on Afghan rubab, tabla and santur. as well as popular and folk music genres. The musicians, the individual tracks and the album as a whole reflect the artistic synthesis characteristic of both the Mughal Empire and today's globalized world.