The Kâmkârs

Nightingale with a Broken Wing

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On their second album released in the West, the Kamkars family ensemble offers its usual feast of Kurdish folk songs arranged for Persian orchestra (nine players), vocalist, and chorus. Despite lyrics which deal with love and lullabies, the prosaic stuff of folk music around the world, the sound of the music is grand, almost military at times, largely due to the dramatic sounds of the daf, the Kurdish frame drum. The pieces typically feature an instrumental prelude followed by dramatic exchanges between the wailing vocal soloist (Bijan Kamkar) and the almost chanting or muttering chorus (the rest of the family), accompanied by the colorful orchestra. The mood varies greatly from song to song. "Khosha Hawraman (Beautiful Hawraman)" is a love song, but is majestic and dashing in tone. The title song "Boboly Bal Shkaw" has a melancholy air full of pathos, and features a vocal duet between Bijan and his sister Ghashang. "Lazran," a harvest song with the scent of lust in the air, is jaunty, opening as it does with an all-male chorus instead of solo vocals. The only "dud" on the album is the lute solo "Awaz," which sounds, at least to Western ears, like three minutes of the instrument being tuned. Nightingale with a Broken Wing was recorded in a studio, unlike the group's first Western-released album, and it shows in the crisp sound and even tempos. A great album for both the beginner and advanced Middle Eastern music listener alike.

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