COMPOSERS: Kiran Ahluwalia
LABELS: Avokado Artists
ALBUM TITLE: Kiran Ahluwalia Aam Zameen
WORKS: Aam Zameen: Common Ground
PERFORMER: Kiran Ahluwalia
CATALOGUE NO: 91425262
Indo-Canadian singer Kiran Ahluwalia felt so passionate about learning how to sing North India’s metaphysical ghazal love songs that she left her Ontario home to study them in Bombay and Hyderabad. Aam Zameen: Common Ground is her fusion between South Asia’s Muslim ghazal song tradition and Mali’s Tuareg ‘desert blues’ pop style. It kicks off and concludes with daring and imaginative reinventions of ‘Mustt Mustt’, once the calling card of the late, great Pakistani qawwa¯li maestro Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.
Ahluwalia’s sinuous voice is backed by a harmonium drone, tabla and the snarling guitars, hypnotic vocals, pulsing hand claps and hand drums of Tinariwen, the most popular ‘desert blues’ exponents of all. She’s joined by the Malian band Terakaft and Ghanaian ritti (one-stringed fiddle) player Juldeh Camara. Less well-judged fusions have often given world music a bad name, but this is a successful example; she deserves her Juno and Canadian Folk awards.