Abida Parveen

Visal - The Meeting Mystic Poets from the Hind

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The best-known Sufi singer is the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, whose voice transcended style to become internationally famous. Does the same fame lie ahead for Abida Parveen? True, she doesn't work in the qawwali tradition as did Khan, but her expressive voice, working some magical improvisations over the backdrop of her group, has many of the same qualities as she sings of absolute love, which is about a relationship with God, with "beloved" as a metaphor for a meeting with the divine. The true range of her voice and style is most evident on the two long tracks here, "Tati Ro Ro Wat Nihara" and "Are Logo Tumhara Kya," where she gets to linger over notes, turning them inside out slowly as she examines them, before using them as a springboard for further investigation of the melody. She offers a wonderful, spiritual experience, and the musicality of it all is helped by the flute work of Henri Tournier, not a group member but a guest, improvising his way through the proceedings (flute isn't a traditional instrument in this music), often shadowing the voice on the melody to gorgeous effect. Parveen isn't Khan, and comparisons between the two are unfair, but in her own, quieter way, she's every bit as good. A remarkable, enriching record.

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