This CD is a live recording of a concert presented during the 1994 Time Zone Festival in Bari, Italia. The idea was to present on the same stage the music of two great spiritual traditions, Gregorian chant alongside qawwali music. Although very distant, they have a common root: they both have popular origins. The Gregorian chant was sung by the Novum Gaudium Choir, directed by Benedictine monk Padre Anselmo Susca, and the qawwali by none other than Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. In the first part of the CD there is a series of Gregorian chants. In the second part, titled "Oriente/Occidente," Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan joins the choir; there are three songs. The first alternates between Gregorian chanting and qawwali chanting. The second mixed both types of chant: Ali Khan improvised over Gregorian singing while his musicians accompanied the entire piece. And the third song goes the other way around: a qawwali song which is joined by Gregorian singers. If only for these three songs, this CD is really worth the detour. It is mesmerizing to hear two traditions singing together (without feeling threatened by each other).
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AllMusic Review by Bruno Deschênes