Le rhythme de la parole

COMPOSERS: Keyvan Chemirani
LABELS: Accords Croises
PERFORMER: Keyvan Chemirani (zarb), etc
CATALOGUE NO: AC 104

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The grand tour on Keyvan Chemirani’s CD sets out from Mali, and returns by way of stop-overs that spring from his own creative history.

The son of a Provence-based Iranian family, he performs on the zarb, a versatile soft-toned drum played with the fingers, and here he is partnered by an international team of singers. What makes the results interesting is that they are genuine collaborations, each partner venturing on to the other’s territory rather than following the record-industry fashion of taking turns to see what, if anything, happens.

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Successful tracks include one featuring Cherita, a commanding Moroccan singer in what the West would call a high mezzo range, and a deeply Turkish performance with the imam of one of the main Istanbul mosques. In the final 14-minute qawwali session with Faiz Ali Faiz, Chemirani isn’t much more than an extra layer, delivering some effective crescendo rolls into downbeats, but the singing is so urgent and cumulatively powerful that it carries everybody along.