From Rajasthan, a state in northwestern India, comes the 11-member music and dance troupe Musafir. Their 1999 North American debut CD, Dhola Maru, is comprised of nine cuts that touch upon a variety of musical styles and genres. From everyday folk tunes about happy babies and weddings gone awry to sacred qawwali music (often associated with the Sabri Brothers and the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan), Musafir delivers each song with power and passion. Along with Hindustani and Roma (gypsy) songs, a lullaby, love song, and sound collage (which makes use of telephone conversations and market sounds) are also found on the eclectic CD. Detailed liner notes accompany Dhola Maru. They provide information about the history and cultural makeup of Rajasthan, photos and biographical information about each member of the band, and a description of each track. A captivating CD, Dhola Maru provides the listener with a glimpse into the culture and music from a majestic, though often overlooked, region of the world.
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AllMusic Review by John Vallier