Shahram Nazeri

Passion of Rumi

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It's perhaps ironic that you don't need to be able to understand the words to appreciate this celebration of the 700th anniversary of the birth of the great Iranian poet Rumi. But these performances by father and son, along with the other four members of the ensemble, transcend language to reach pure emotion. It can be as affecting as singer Shahram Nazeri's vocals on "Fanayam Man 1," where a spare backing merely emphasizes the voice, or the remarkable instrumental "Journey to Eternity" featuring Hafez Nazeri's work on the stringed setar (Persian lute), a virtuoso piece of playing. He deserves praise, too, for his compositions here and arrangements, which carry further the idea of monophonic Iranian melodies and dress them in harmony, making for a full, glorious coat which is instantly accessible to Western ears. Using young musicians who are both deeply familiar with the tradition and willing to experiment, he creates something lush and beautiful, the perfect foil for his father's voice, which is a majestic, emotional instrument, and a true listening experience. This is far more than a celebration of a man and his works, it's an achievement of outstanding merit.

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