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Sumud

4.7 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Audio CD, May 22, 2012
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Editorial Reviews

Niyaz, which means yearning in Persian and Urdu, was formed in 2005 by vocalist Azam Ali, multi-instrumentalist Loga Ramin Torkian and two-time Grammy nominated producer and electronic musician Carmen Rizzo. Since their last release, Nine Heavens made waves in the global music community, the band have toured worldwide, had their music placed in numerous films & television shows and each released stunning solo albums that continue to push them into the international spotlight. Nine Heavens was heavily featured on world-wide radio (including NPR and PRI in the States), topped the charts of iTunes World Music and CMJ World Music, and continues to be discovered by new fans worldwide.

Now the band returns with their third album, Sumud. The album's title is Arabic for "steadfastness" and the record's musical themes center around the plight of ethnic and religious minorities around the world. Azam Ali chose this philosophical term as a symbolic reminder that, as she explains, every human being should inherit the right to live with dignity and freedom upon the land on which they are born.

With a heavier emphasis on the electronic side of their sound and a special guest vocal appearance from Oscar-winning Indian composer, musician and singer AR Rahman, Sumud is the most powerful release yet from one of global fusion's most popular bands.

Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 22, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Six Degrees
  • ASIN: B007R3BCEQ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #49,958 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Dr. Debra Jan Bibel TOP 500 REVIEWER on May 29, 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Similar in sound to their previous two albums but even more electronic New Age and dance club in style, Niyaz offers folk tunes of Iran, Kurdistan, Turkey, Afghanistan, and Palestine. The music washes over the listener, so filled with electronic harmonic drones, and the tunes include Middle Eastern repetitions and steady rhythms. More interesting is the various sonic colors of instruments. The group centers around vocalist and santurist Azam Ali and features Loga Ramin Torkian (kamaan, rebab, saz, djumbush, lafta, guitar, and viol), and Carmen Rizzo (keyboards, electronics, and percussion). Guest musicians include Ulas Ozdemir on saz, Naser Musa on oud, and Omer Avci on percussion. Habib Meftah Boushehri plays on flute on some tracks, and musicians Kamal Sabri on sarangi, Sabar Nader on tabla, A.R. Rahman on voice appear on the fourth track, Mazaar, an Afghani folk song. While preferring purely acoustic renditions, I nonetheless appreciate this contemporary blend. Azam Ali's voice is haunting and the music melts and relaxes; yet it supports dancing. Lyrics to five of the songs are provided. The album is dedicated to nonviolent steadfastness in pursuit of freedom and personal dignity. The lyrics refer to love and suffering and longing, which have mystical, religious aspects as well. Careful listening will discern Arabic, Persian, and Turkish musical forms within the arrangements. This should become a popular album here and in Eurasia. The Government of Canada financially helped in the production of the album.
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Format: Audio CD
I might have rated this album higher if Nyaz hadn't previously produced "Nine Heavens". The comparison is unavoidable if you have ever listened to both. Let me start by saying that Nine Heavens is, in my experience, one of the best produced and musically creative and interesting quasi-traditional middle eastern albums available. After being un-inspired by their first album, the self named, Nyaz (which I also own), Nine Heavens was a revelation and joy. With expectations naturally high, I recently purchased "Sumud". The sounds are all still there, but the energy, deep musical textures and terrific songs are not. Nearly every tune is in the same key, follow the same rhythmic patterns, and the same melodic scales. In other words, most of the tracks all sound the same. And, by the time I've reached the last cut, I find that the music was not compelling enough to keep my attention. If you're contemplating buying something by Nyaz, please check out Nine Heavens.
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Format: Audio CD
As music goes Niyaz is an absolute gift from God. A lot of artists have tried to mix traditional Middle Eastern music with modern western electronics. The gracious Azam Ali (Niyaz's vocalist) would probably disagree with my assertion that Niyaz is the only group to produce something that could be called beautiful. The balance between East and West is *perfect*. Neither overwhelms the other. The harmony is superb. (I keep wanting to using the adverb "absolutely" with every adjective.)

Although their previous releases (the self-titled album Niyaz and the sophomore Nine Heavens) were incredibly beautiful, I feel that Sumud is the most coherent and cohesive of their works. Niyaz and Nine Heavens have softer spots, but every song on Sumud hits its mark perfectly, though the slow-paced final track Arzusun might take time to grow on those who prefer the group's more assertive tracks. Every song on this album is strong in its own right. I would take this opportunity to point out highlights, but I'd end up listing half the tracks on the album. I will say that my personal favorite is track 9 -- Mahtaab. If you don't speak Persian find someone who does. Have them translate the song for you. All I will do here, for grace, is one line from the chorus: "Rafiqan qadr-e yekdigar bedunin. Khoda key mi-dahad omr-e dobare?" Friends, respect one another (ie. recognize each other's worth), (for) when will God give another chance (ie. life)?

Poetry is poetry. But sometimes music is poetry and sometimes poetry is music. Niyaz blurs the lines and drags you to the gates of heaven.

If you don't appreciate Niyaz, you don't appreciate art. Sorry. This is fact. Buy this album and be happy.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I fell in love with this group a few years back. I have since been in the process of collecting as many of their CDs as I can find. Azam Ali has the most beautiful and captivating voice. The songs are of such beautiful and exotic love stories, no language barrier is present when listening to them.
Most of all, love between two people has no boundary and language does not prevent it. If you believe in true love and beautiful music, you will love Niyaz.
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Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
I first heard of Niyaz while listening to my Dead Can Dance channel on Pandora and I was interested in what I heard. It sounded pretty good. I wouldn't necessarily compare Azam Ali's voice to Lisa Gerrard's -- they're two different singers -- but Ali does have a good voice and she uses it well on their songs. I now own two Niyaz albums and I think this one is pretty good. It sounds like it's "matured" a bit from previous efforts. It's Middle Eastern music with a contemporary flair and it sounds good. If you like DCD, you might want to give Niyaz a try. I doubt you'll be disappointed.
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