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For nearly four decades, the Kronos Quartet—David Harrington, John Sherba (violins), Hank Dutt (viola), and Jeffrey Zeigler (cello)—has pursued a singular artistic vision, combining a spirit of fearless exploration with a commitment to expanding the range and context of the string quartet. In the process, Kronos has become one of the most celebrated and influential groups of our ... Read more in Amazon's Kronos Quartet Store
A bold collaboration between America's premier new music quartet, Azerbaijan's best-loved traditional singer, and the leading Afghan rubâb player of his generation. Featured works include Homayun Sakhi's luminous "Rainbow," for string quartet, rubâb, tabla, and Central Asian percussion, and spirited arrangements of Azerbaijani songs performed by Kronos and the Alim Qasimov Ensemble. 6 Tracks, 63 Minutes, 20+ pg Booklet w/ bonus DVD!
review from NPR website, by Tom Huizenga, 3-10-2010:
The music here represents both the new and the old. The title track, "Rangin Kaman" -- "Rainbow" in Persian -- was written by Homayun Sakhi especially for this project. Think of it as a half-hour concerto for Sakhi's own instrument, the Afghan lute, plus string quartet and percussion. Sakhi said color was important to him in this composition. "I piece together different colors," he said, "as a way of expressing hope for peace and harmony among different peoples and nations."
The remaining five tunes are arrangements of mid 20th-century popular Azerbaijani songs, sung by the amazing father-daughter duo of Alim and Fragana Qasimov, along with their ensemble of folk musicians
The Azerbaijani art of improvisation is very much alive in these songs, from the galloping rhythms of "Kohlen Atim" ("My Spirited Horse") to the unbridled ululations of the lovesick lament, "Getme Getme" ("Don't Go Away").
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At the same time that the Kronos Quartet was involved in their Floodplain album project (circa 2008), they were in discussions with the Aga Khan Music Initiative. Azeri musicians Alim and Fargana Qasimov perform with the quartet on their Nonesuch recording in a live version and here, with the same song in the studio, in this eighth volume of CD/DVD albums from Smithsonian Folkways and the Aga Khan Trust that focus on music of Central Asia. A fan of the innovative, daring, and worldly Kronos Quartet from their beginnings, I was delighted and not entirely surprised to find them among this collection of recordings. The result of their collaboration with the Qasimovs and their ensemble along with Homayun Sakhi on Afghani rubub and Salar Nader on Hindustani tabla is a major contribution to music. Along with Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Project, these classical musicians are expanding the musical consciouseness of Western listeners and helping to establish a global village.
The album features the usual well-illustrated informative booklet, and the 20-minute DVD documentary is perhaps the best of the entire series. The musical tracks begin with a 30-minute complex composition of Afghani/Hindustani style, both meditative and fiery. Developed with several sections, some rhythmic, some contemplative, some classically harmonic, the piece is simply beautiful. The remaining five tracks are songs from Azerbaijan. The sheer vocal power Alim Qasimov is renown. Balanced by his daughter Fargana and various musicians on traditional instruments, he sings with great passion. The Kronos Quartet provide more accompaniment than "with strings"; their introductions, percussive drive, and harmonic emphasis make them a full partner. This album is brilliant. Both classical music and world music collectors will be pleased.
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