December 7, 2008 – 8:16 am

Every year in September, London celebrates middle-eastern music. Rich in history, full of culture, this is classical music in every sense of the word.

Click on the panels for a better view or to download artwork.

Ramadan Nights [no label, 1CD]

Live at Barbican Hall, London, UK, September 26, 2008 and broadcast by BBC Radio 3 on October 18, 2008 “World Routes”.

“I’ve always wanted the string quartet to be vital, and energetic, and alive, and cool, and not afraid to kick ass and be absolutely beautiful and ugly if it has to be. But it has to be expressive of life. To tell the whole story with grace and humor and depth. And to tell the whole story, if possible.”
- David Harrington

“The world in which we live changes daily. Music has to lend emotional expression to this vitality. I accommodate that by seeking out new paths and interpretations”.
- Alim Qasimov

A western troupe in search of lost music. An eastern band upholding an ancient vocal style of music. Cultures don’t necessarily have to clash despite what Bernard Lewis and Samuel P Huntington have said. Culture is not a contest. It is an expression of life. It becomes a contest only when you start to consider which of the two is better. And you measure it by economic value.

The Kronos Quartet founded by David Harrington has long been interested in all forms of music. They have worked with “many minimalist composers including Arvo Pärt, Henryk Górecki, Steve Reich, Philip Glass, Roberto Carnevale, Terry Riley and Kevin Volans”. According to wikipedia, Kronos has collaborated with composers from a diversity of countries such as Kaija Saariaho from Finland, Peteris Vasks from Latvia, Franghiz Ali-Zadeh from Azerbaijan, Roberto Paci Dalò from Italy, and Osvaldo Golijov from Argentina.

On the other side, Alim Qasimov from Azerbaijan is the leading mugham singer from that country. Inspired by Nusrat Ali Fateh Khan, Qasimov moved to broaden his outlook by going West with concerts in France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Brazil, Iran and the United States. He has also recorded his music and made nine albums. In 1999, Unesco awarded him the IMC-Unesco Music Prize recognising his talent and for upholding the mugham tradition.

According to wikipedia, “Mugham is a traditional, or classical, musical style which is primarily a celebration of God and has its origins in the Caucasus and the Turkish-speaking peoples of Central Asia.”

So check this out, when two cultures meet on stage to make music in search of peace, understanding and a whole lotta love. You don’t have to understand the words of Qasimov, it’s the music, the emotion and the energy.

Taken from a DVB-T (192kbps / 48Khz) broadcast. Thanks to paul_b35 for sharing this show. An excellent high-quality recording.
- The Savage Hippo

These tracks are no longer available for sharing. Track 01. Introduction
Track 02. Mugam Bayah Shiraz [Trad, Arr. Alim Qasimov] - Alim Qasimov Ensemble
Track 03. Interview with Alim Qasimov
Track 04. Köhlen Atim (My Spirited House) [Jahangir Jahangirov] - Kronos Quartet and the Alim Qasimov Ensemble
Track 05. Peyman Ettik (I gave you my word) [Unattributed] - Kronos Quartet and the Alim Qasimov Ensemble
Track 06. Leyla [Unattributed] - Kronos Quartet and the Alim Qasimov Ensemble

Kronos Quartet:
David Harrington - Violin
Hank Dutt - Violin
John Sherba - Viola
Jeffrey Zeigler - Cello

Alim Qasimov Ensemble:
Alim Qasimov - Voice and Daf
Rafael Asgarov - Balaban
Rauf Islamov - Kamancha
Ali Asgar Mammadov - Tar
Fargana Qasimova - Voice and Daf
Vugar Sharif-Zada - Percussion

To get a taste of Kronos Quartet’s middle-eastern interpretations, try Mugham Sayagi: Music of Franghiz Ali-Zadeh (2005). Buy it here.

For a decidedly western take of Alim Qasimov’s style, try his collaboration with the late Jeff Buckley on the track What Will You Say? found on Buckley’s Live à l’Olympia. Buy it here.

For an album of traditional Mugam music by Alim Qasimov, try Love’s Deep Ocean recorded in 2000. Buy it here.

  1. 3 Responses to “NIGHTS IN THE WIND”

  2. I’ve loved Kronos since I first heard their take on Purple Haze in the 80s. thanks again!

    By Society's Pliers on Dec 14, 2008

  3. Might you be able to re-offer this one sometime soon?

    By Evil dr.Louie on Jun 24, 2013

  4. I second this request - thanks!

    By lowendbill on Jun 24, 2013

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