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Masters of Persian Music
FARYAD
(World Village)

Current events would seem to make it not just a pleasure but a duty to attend to the flowers of Iranian culture to combat the headline transformation of a people and a place into a policy. There are always politics in art, perhaps Iranian art especially, but is there not also a politics of art, of listening to one another?

Faryad offers an opportunity to listen to some of the greatest practitioners of the ancient art of Persian classical music. Centered on singer Mohammad Reza Shajarian, an Iranian national treasure, the songs weave around a series of modal improvisations, building the tracks on each disc of this two-CD set into a frenzy of complexity. An understanding of the poetry in the lyrics would make an appreciation of the songs richer, but no linguistic or literary background is necessary to understand Shajarian. Accompanying him is an ensemble of traditional instruments: one plucked (tar), one bowed (kamancheh), one drummed (tombak). And the instrumentalists rival the vocalist for virtuosity tar player Hossein Alizadeh is another national treasure of Iran, and his interplay with the younger Kayhan Kalhor on kamancheh might remind you of other great pairings in small ensembles. (Bird/Dizzy? Ali Akhbar Khan/Zakir Hussein?) What will be familiar in their style of playing, to music fans of any tradition, is how closely they pay attention to one another.

(Masters of Persian Music perform this Saturday, March 12, at the Berklee Performance Center, 136 Massachusetts Avenue in Boston; call 617-876-4275.)

BY DAMON KRUKOWSKI


Issue Date: March 11 - 17, 2005
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