Dastan Ensemble

Journey To Persia

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From the Dastan Ensemble of Iranian musicians based around the non-Persian world comes Journey to Persia, an album of traditional Persian music based largely on the Mahur mode, but modulating a bit from one mode to another along the course of the pieces. The trio is made up of setar, barbat (similar to the oud), and tombak. The styles of playing are essentially traditional, based on Persian classical music before it was influenced by Arabic aesthetics (hence the use of the barbat rather than the oud). The players are all outstanding; though the tone of the barbat brings it to the clear forefront ahead of the setar, and the tombak provides accompaniment only as punctuation in many parts. The pieces come together quite well on the whole, though it can ramble for extended periods without any real direction before the improvisation becomes clear. It's an interesting sound, but perhaps a little extended and on an unclear course for the casual listener. A more explicit exploration of the dastgah modes might prove more informative (and perhaps even more enjoyable) for them. That said, the abilities of the artists here are undeniable, and deserve a listen by the ears of those already acquainted with the forms of Persian music.

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