The Baluchi Ensemble of Karachi
Love Songs and Trance Hymns
Shanachie (

The Baluchi people live scattered between Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan. Music is a common thread in their lives. Baluchi weddings and circumcision rituals, births and funerals, are all accompanied by professional musicians. The ostās - the delicately structured castes of professional musicians - are everywhere present in Baluchi life. Nasally sung songs are accompanied by acoustic music which sounds like that of Turkey, Iran, and Pakistan with definite Indian and Arab influences in the song structure. The songs are repetitious and trance-like, similar to the music of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, only with a chorus instead of a leader. The voices are joined by the sarud (lap-played fiddle) and benju (dulcimer fitted with a keyboard) leading the melody over the constant drone of the tambureg (large lute) and doholak (type of Indian tambur drum). Many other instruments join the songs for special occasions

This album was recorded in the Baluchi quarter of Karachi, Pakistan in 1996. It samples each type of song - festival songs, wedding songs, songs of praise, and two trance songs. The players are superbly highlighted with photos and text, and the liner notes give an extensive historical and cultural perspective. The performances are lively and invigorating, reminding me once again that there are two things I can always expect from the celebration of mankind's culture - surprise and joy. - Brian Grosjean

return to rootsworld