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    On Debut Nowruz, Aga Khan Master Musicians Virtuosically Meld Living Traditions

    Nowruz, the debut album of the Aga Khan Master Musicians (AKMM), will be released on October 13 and is available now for pre-order here.

    "Tashkent," AKMM’s first single, was inspired by Basel Rajoub’s first visit to that city. There, Rajoub found "sunshine, peace, and the smell of home." "Tashkent" has been performed in many different instrumental arrangements, often in the context of workshops and masterclasses in which young musicians perform alongside AKMM.

    In Nowruz, the Aga Khan Master Musicians draw on music from Central Asia, China, the Middle East, and North Africa to create a strikingly original body of work where living musical traditions meet and meld. Acclaimed virtuosos on their respective instruments, each member of AKMM deftly create a soulful new musical language that comes alive in these eloquent performances.

    AKMM’s sources of inspiration arise from the zigzagging musical journeys of its members. Wu Man, a celebrated maestra of the pipa, grew up in Beijing and now lives in California. Composer and master saxophonist Basel Rajoub was born in Aleppo, Syria and resides in Geneva. Feras Charestan, a virtuoso on the qanun, hails from Al-Hasakeh, Syria and now lives in Stockholm. Sirojiddin Juraev, the greatest Central Asian dutar player of his generation, is rooted in Tajikistan but has traveled the world to share his art. Jasser Haj Youssef, a passionate devotée of the viola d’amore, comes from Monastir, Tunisia and now resides in Paris. Frame-drummer Abbos Kosimov built his career in Uzbekistan and now lives in Sacramento, California. Their strikingly original body of work is nourished by influences from East and West, present and past, and folk, jazz, and classical music, both Western and non-Western. Brought together in 2013 by the Aga Khan Music Programme, the group personifies the Programme's mission to support contemporary expressions of Muslim musical heritage.


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    On Debut Nowruz, Aga Khan Master Musicians Virtuosically Meld Living Traditions | Smithsonian Folkways Recordings