Various Artists

Anthology of World Music: Iran

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These are taken from the fifty albums compiled by Alain Danielou for the Anthology of World Music series, but apart from noting that this series was originally issued between 1968 and 1987, there is nothing to indicate when the material on this double-disc anthology of Iranian traditional music was recorded. Anyway, the ten lengthy tracks on this double CD (some around 20 minutes in duration) offer a respectable, well-recorded cross-section of Iranian music, performed on stringed instruments such as the bowed kamantche, the lute-like sehtar, or the nai flute; there is also a piece for solo dombak (the Iranian single-skin drum) and sung poems. It's mostly very somber in tone, without enough melodic variation to appeal to Western ears; the most interesting selections are Teherani's dombak solo, and Zabihi's quavering, unaccompanied rendition of a mystic poem of Araqi, in which he gets some amazing vibrating vocal tones.

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