Various Artists

Nagore Sessions

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Growing out of the Laya Project, this offers an interesting mix, taking three Sufi dargah singers performing traditional material and adding in frame drumming, plenty of keyboards and programming, and some live instruments ranging from violin to sarangi. While the results could be viewed at times like cross-culture lite, there are some fascinating things going on, such as the way the backing on the opener, "Bagdad Guru," echoes Zeppelin's "Kashmir." Overall, it's an easy-on-the-ears listening experience, lush and floating, and the singers are superb in their religious songs that offer a parallel to qawwali. Kudos, too, to the musicians, especially the violinists, who have a superb command of tone. A great deal of time and care has gone into the making of this disc, even if it can occasionally sound like a ‘60s exploration of Indian music (especially on "Allahu Allah," where the sitar break conjures up George Harrison). Whether it offers true insights into the singers themselves remains to be seen, but it's a gentle, undemanding pleasure.

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