Music /Artist background: Tehran-born Kayhan Kalhor is almost single-handedly responsible for the revival of the kamancheh, the spike-fiddle of Persian music, which he plays with astonishing fluency. He has worked with artists including Yo-Yo Ma and the Kronos Quartet, but his most important work has been his campaigning for Persian music. He has interpreted its classical repertoire, composed music for Iran’s greatest musicians and, crucially, has brought the music into contact with other traditions. The group Ghazal, which Kalhor founded with Indian sitarist Shujaat Husain Khan, has achieved wide success and their ECM live album ‘The Rain’ was Grammy-nominated in 2003. Critics talked about “East-meets-East” fusion, a new concept. Now Kalhor has entered into an equally exciting partnership with Erdal Erzincan with a recording certain to attract a great deal of attention. Erzincan is regarded as the most outstanding young baglama (saz) player in the Anatolian folk tradition, a rising star in Turkey – where average sales of his albums are in the 50,000 to 60,000 range – and already in demand around the world. Kayhan, who researched and subsequently recorded the project in Istanbul, has brought together themes from Turkish and Persian tradition, providing a basis that allows the collective music to fly. This is truly a meeting of masters as Kayhan and Erzincan exchange ideas and develop climax after climax of melodic invention and energy, supported by the bass baglama of Ulas zdemir. zdemir is a well-known figure in Turkish musical circles, with a reputation as both a player and a producer. Recorded 2006 Personnel: Kayhan Kalhor – kamancheh, Erdal Erzincan – baglama, Ulas zdemir – divan baglama.
In this follow-up to The Rain, his Grammy-nominated outing with the group Ghazal, the revered Iranian kamencheh (spike fiddle) virtuoso is back with another wonderful set of collaborators. This time, he is heard with Erdal Erzincan, master of the Turkish baglama (or saz), which resembles a long-necked oud but has a more earthy, plangent sound, accompanied by Ulas Özdemir on bass baglama. This first-ever recording of these two giants performing together is the result of extensive research, during which Mr. Kalhor made several visits over many years to Istanbul with Mr. Özdemir, who is also a noted musicologist, serving as his guide and translator. Once he encountered Mr. Erzincan, who is widely considered to be the finest living exponent of the ancient Anatolian tradition, they started searching for a common ground between their respective disciplines. This meant creating a bridge, over which the highly improvisational Persian sources and the more codified Turkish styles, which usually include vocals, could meet and flourish on their own terms. The resulting twelve instrumentals are fiercely inventive and gloriously played, as scratchy bowed and gutty plucked strings climb and dive, propelling one another to previously unimagined heights and depths. –Christina Roden
There are no reviews yet.