October 28, 2011

Kiran Ahluwalia | Aam Zameen : Common Ground

ARTIST:  Kiran Ahluwalia 
TITLE:  Aam Zameen : Common Ground 
LABEL:  Avokado Artists 
REVIEW:  Kiran Ahluwalia is an Indian-Canadian singer-songwriter now based in New York City; she’s known both for her interpretations of traditional Indo-Pakistani forms (especially the love poems called ghazals) and for her wide-ranging cross-cultural collaborations.  Both are on view on her excellent fifth album.  There are two new twists this time.  First of all, she is collaborating with some outstanding musicians from the world of African desert blues – the bands Tinariwen and Terakaft, ritti player Juldeh Camara and guitarist Justin Adams (who shares the producer chair with Ahluwalia’s husband, jazz guitarist Rez Abbasi).  Secondly, the centerpiece of the album is the qawwali (Sufi devotional music) classic Mustt Mustt, made famous by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.  The three different interpretations of Mustt Mustt (tracks 1, 7 and 11) are all different and all powerful.  Other high points are her songwriting collaboration with Tinariwen’s Ibrahim Ag Alhabib (8) and track 3 with Terakaft and her own crack band.  This is multiculturalism at its finest and a major breakthrough for Ahluwalia.
TOP TRACKS:    1    3    8    11
ALSO RECOMMENDED:    4    7    9    10

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