Aliakbar Moradi and Pejman Hadadi
Aliakbar Moradi and Parvin Namazi
Kurdistan is a cultural and ethnic zone of identity with transnational boundaries encompassing Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Iran, and small parts of Armenia. Officially stateless for centuries, the Kurds nevertheless number an estimated 25 to 30 million and ranks as the fourth largest ethnic group in the Middle East. They suffer persecution and discrimination to varying degrees in their respective "countries" and their musical traditions have likewise been subject to differing levels of restrictions. For example, Kurdish music was banned until recent years in Turkey, and prominent Kurdish musicians like Sivan Perwer had to live in exile and issue releases abroad. The horrific attacks on Iraqi Kurds by Saddam Hussein has been well publicized in the Western media. By comparison, treatment of the Kurds by the Iranian government has been generally less brutal, perhaps moderated by the closer ties between the Kurdish and Persian languages and cultures.
Kurdaneh is the more accessible of the two albums. Essentially a fusion of Kurdish melodies and lyrics with a particular mode of Persian urban traditional music, each song has a distinct feel. The backing ensemble produces a richer sonic texture with a wind instrument (ney), Moradi branching out on setar, bass tar, and dohol, plus tombak and daf players providing the rhythmic underpinning. The breathy, wispy ney is an effective foil for Namazi's full-throated alto, especially over the rolling caravan beat of the opening song "Komel Kah." Just sit back, relax, and let her voice carry you to the land of the Kurds. - John Cho
Audio: "Reiah Kay Kani" from Kurdaneh
Comment on this music or the web site.
Write a Letter to the Editor