Nour Ensemble

COMPOSERS: Nour Ensemble
LABELS: Hermes Records
ALBUM TITLE: Nour Ensemble
WORKS: Alba
PERFORMER: Nour Ensemble
CATALOGUE NO: HER-025
Slowing right down, but sticking with the unlikely-yet-irresistible juxtaposition theme are the Franco-Iranian nour ensemble, whose Alba marries medieval European (Gregorian plainsong, Spanish cantigas) with Persian and Kurdish music. The common threads – modality, spirituality and lots of space – make for an austere but natural-sounding blend. Perhaps the quarter-hour ‘Santa Maria amar’ is a bit much but elsewhere, exquisite melismatic phrases from Christophe Rezaï and Mostafa Mahmoudi are backed by sepulchural vocal drones and sparing use of Iranian instruments such as oud, kamancheh (spike-fiddle) and tombak and daf drums. Fans of either sonic territory will doubtless appreciate this.

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