Another installment of the musical anthology of the Orient subset of Alain Daniélou's grand vision, this album focuses on the music of Azerbaijan. The sound is in many ways quite similar to the Persian classical traditions, but with native aspects thrown in. The maqams are translated to mugams, but the basic concept is the same. There are a number of modes explored through (usually) solo improvisation on an instrument. In this album are featured virtuosos of all the major instruments: the tar, the saz, the kemantche, and the voice. The performers are almost exclusively from the Baku region. The performers are, as would be expected, quite adept at producing quality songs. After the period of classical music, the album moves to a stray song from the ashug tradition (ashiq in Iran): the wandering folk performer. Accompanying himself ably on the saz, Amrah Gyalma sings a powerful rendition of "Jalili," with enough vocal wavering technique to throw off the average Western listener, however. The album finishes on a couple of folk dances making heavy use of the native bagpipes and some pounding drum patterns. For a look at an otherwise underrepresented music culture, this album does well. Pick it up as a curious listener.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Adam Greenberg