Mohamed Assani & Shahbaz Hussain | Spirit of Tradition

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World: Indian Classical Folk: Traditional Folk Moods: Instrumental
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Spirit of Tradition

by Mohamed Assani & Shahbaz Hussain

A dynamic sitar and tabla album recorded live in studio, featuring the rich classical and folk music traditions of Northern India and Pakistan.
Genre: World: Indian Classical
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Raag Yaman Vilambit
Mohamed Assani & Shahbaz Hussain
7:38 $1.99
2. Raag Yaman Gat
Mohamed Assani & Shahbaz Hussain
9:53 $1.99
3. Bhatiyali Dhun
Mohamed Assani & Shahbaz Hussain
3:50 $1.99
4. Raag Darbari Alaap
Mohamed Assani
6:06 $1.99
5. Raag Darbari Gat
Mohamed Assani & Shahbaz Hussain
14:40 $2.50
6. Mishra Dhun
Mohamed Assani & Shahbaz Hussain
5:16 $1.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Recorded live in studio, "Spirit of Tradition" is the debut solo album of celebrated sitarist, Mohamed Assani. Accompanied by Shahbaz Hussain, one of the leading tabla virtuosos of his generation, the artists present a dynamic performance featuring the rich classical and folk music traditions of Northern India and Pakistan.

Artist Reviews:

"Assani is both a musician who’s deeply rooted in the artistic traditions of South Asia and a one-of-a-kind innovator who’s bent on ensuring that those age old forms will survive, and grow, in the modern era. Vancouver’s world music scene - already one of the best anywhere - might be about to get a whole lot more interesting.” (Alexander Varty, The Georgia Straight)

“Shabhaz Hussain displays a confident mastery of the tabla.” (Walter Koloskey, All About Jazz)



to write a review

Alex Varty, The Georgia Straight

Mohamed Assani's Spirit of Tradition is a joy from start to finish
Although I fell in love with the style within seconds of being introduced to it, I always feel somewhat foolish when reviewing South Asian classical music. It’s an idiom that uses complex techniques to convey specific emotional and spiritual content, and of these things I have, at best, an amateur’s understanding. I can say this with complete confidence, however: the release of sitarist Mohamed Assani’s debut CD coincides with his arrival in Vancouver to take up a teaching position with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra’s new music school, and our burgeoning multicultural music scene has a new master in its midst.

Spirit of Tradition is a joy from start to finish. The highlight, however, is Assani’s two-part rendition of “Raag Darbari”, which begins with the traditional form of the melody before moving into an up-tempo variant composed by Assani’s teacher, Ustad Ashraf Sharif Khan Poonchwala. Weirdly, the introductory alaap, or slow movement, reminds me of the British folk standard “Nottamun Town”, but while that tune tells of a cataclysm in which “10,000 got drownded that never was born,” “Raag Darbari” speaks more of psychic desolation. It’s gorgeously lonely—and, remarkably, the mood gets even darker once the tempo builds.

Coursing over Shahbaz Hussain’s assured tabla-playing, Assani sounds like he’s doing battle against sinister forces, drawing on every resource he has to pull through against shattering odds. His playing is fierce, resolute, and gripping, a hero’s journey condensed into 14 minutes and 42 seconds’ worth of unceasing invention.

Of course, this is just my morose, Scottish, Tolkein-loving interpretation; whether that’s Assani’s intent is another matter. But there’s no denying that this is extraordinary music.