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My Friend Hafiz

4.1 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Audio CD, March 1, 2013

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Product Description

My Friend Hafiz is the result of musicians being inspired by a poet who was inspired by a mystic.

My Friend Hafiz inspired by the poetry of Hafiz, lyrics adapted from Daniel Ladinsky's (c) 1999 Penguin Publication, The Gift: Poems by Hafiz and used with his permission by The Levins.

© 2013 Copyright - The Levins/ASCAP (Sweet Peach Blossoms Publishing) and Daniel Ladinsky/BMI / Summersongs Unlimited

The Levins, Ira and Julia, are a harmony-driven acoustic duo committed to making music that uplifts the soul and inspires community. Their latest recording both resonates with and celebrates the poetry of Hafiz of Shiraz.

Hafiz of Shiraz, who lived 100 years after Rumi, is a Sufi mystic from the 14th century whose 'multidimensional' poetry not only prompts an internal joy that promotes peace within and without, but like The Beatles reaches people of every faith, race and country with a universal message of love. His poetry has been translated into English by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Goethe and many others but in 1996 Daniel Ladinsky, a poet and student of Meher Baba, published his first collection of Hafiz poetry which was followed up by four other collections including the 1999 Penguin Publication, The Gift.

Daniel Ladinsky manages to bring Hafiz poetry into the modern age with a timeless quality that makes the very quarks in the heart shout in blissful abandonment. Although criticized for not being accurate in his translations, he points out that to translate means to 'bring across' which he does with the most wonderful results. The Hafiz-Ladinsky poems reach right into the soul and stir it up with effervescent swirling delight. The whirling dervish inside the reader goes into a state of perpetual motion when savoring these poems.

About the Music:

Ira and Julia, a harmony driven acoustic duo, known as The Levins, dedicated to promoting peace through sonic splendor, developed the songs with their world-folk ensemble. They began to arrange and record the music in two San Francisco studios: Different Fur and Broken Radio with engineers Chris Fletcher and Carly Benham. Chris Fletcher mixed the album which was produced by Ira and Julia and mastered at Capitol Records in LA, CA by Robert Vosgien.  Ira and Julia moved to New York and have recorded two additional songs with Mark Dann at his studios in NYC and Woodstock, NY with three beautifully talented local musicians: Daphna Mor, David Moss and Rami El Aasser.

The musicians on the CD include: Ira Scott Levin- Vocals and guitar, flute on Act Great, piano on Troubled
Julia Bordenaro Levin- Vocals, harmonies, piano, keyboard
T. Hallenbeck- Cello, mandocello
Aharon Wheels Bolsta- tabla, darbukka, riqq, various percussion, Bansuri Indian flute on Sun Never Says and Forgive the Dream
Elizabeth Stuart- Zarb, shaker on Every Child, Forgive the Dream, Life Giving Sun and pennywhistle on Your Mother and My Mother
Musical guests:
Ian Kay Shields- Cajon, bongos and expressive percussion
Dina Maccabee- violin on When the Violin
Payam J. Agheli- Ney on Life Giving Sun, Forgive the Dream and Every Child.
Daphna Mor- Ney and Recorders on Old Sweet Beggar and The Chorus in the Eye
David Moss- Cello on Old Sweet Beggar and The Chorus in the Eye
Rami El Aasser- Percussion on Old Sweet Beggar and The Chorus in the Eye

Album Design and Layout by Stump'd/ Brody Lowe

To reach The Levins: TheLevins at


My ears hear a ghostly memory of White Bird by The Incredible String Band or perhaps a faint resonance of The End by The Doors. Whatever it is, the album My Friend Hafiz from The Levins, is particularly moving combining its influences through an homage to the 14th century mystic and poet Hafiz of Shiraz renowned for his musical language with an echo of a magical sometime drifting precariously through the Summer of Love.

On My Friend Hafiz Ira and Julia Levin reflect the messages of Hafiz s inspiration on Islam, Hindus, Christians and both Eastern and Western philosophies through multi-layered, acoustically explorative sometimes startling soundscapes supported by strangely distinctive arrangements. They thread their musical tales through beautifully fused, engaging harmonies and an enticing melange of ancient and modern instruments to lead the listener down vaguely remembered dreamlike paths that alternate between long-ago shadows to manifestations of the present. From the charismatic, chanting intro of Dropping Keys through the reflective harmonic enchantment of Your Mother and My Mother to the soft wonderment within A Root In Each Act and Creature this is sublimely tranquil music. There s more than an essence of Eastern discernment sealed inside Like A Life Giving Sun a song that grows in stature and depth with each successive hearing; Act Great offers a step-change redolent of sixties psych-folk while Old Sweet Beggar exudes an eloquent charm-filled mantra.

This album encourages references to an elusive folk-rock acoustic mix that flourished when the world was younger and life pledged a hopeful simplicity and that s where this music leads. Those of us that recall that anticipatory assurance will welcome its return with My Friend Hafiz . --Tim Carroll,

--Tim Carroll,

Awesome. Halfway through the first song on My Friend Hafiz, my girlfriend and I made our usual comparisons to famous musicians. By the second song, however, we knew we were in unchartered waters- The Levins were surpassing our worldly expectations. The next time we opened our mouths, it was for joyful laughter. Without studio gimmickry and nary a tricky chord, the Levins have made a magical record, one that sounds like no other. They have created uplifting music that doesn't sound quote: uplifting- it just sounds natural. I love this record. --Miller Duvall,CD Baby Review
--Miller Duvall/CD Baby

If you're looking for music to soothe your spirit and lift your soul, this album would be a good choice.

The artfully blended voices of Ira Levin and his wife Julia Bordenaro Levin are the perfect vehicle for translating the uplifting poetry of the Sufi master Hafiz for modern listeners. There's magic, beauty and wisdom in these lyrics, and the accompanying instruments support rather than overpower them.

The lyrics exude love, compassion and brotherhood without being syrupy or simplistic.

Hafiz was a 14th-century mystic whose poetry inspires joy and promotes peace within the individual and with others, regardless of faith or ethnicity. His poetry has been widely translated. David Ladinsky translated and published a modern collection titled The Gift in 1999. When Ira Levin received a copy for his birthday in 2005 he was inspired to begin composing songs and music based on the poetry. This album is the result.

The singers are supported by an ensemble including Aharon Wheels Bolsta, T. Hallenbeck, Elizabeth Stuart, Ian Kay Shields, Dina Macabee and Payamj Agheli combining an array of traditional and ethnic instruments. --John Lindermuth- author/

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Product details

  • Audio CD (March 1, 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Summersongs Unlimited
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #493,917 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Customer Reviews

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on December 20, 2012
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