The Song of the Ney

COMPOSERS: Various
LABELS: Nimbus
PERFORMER: Hossein ’Omoumi (ney), Sima Bina (vocal), Madjid Khaladj (tombak, daf), Madjid Derakhshani (tar)
CATALOGUE NO: NI 7060-61

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THE SONG OF THE NEY reissues two discs of ’Omoumi’s now-rare expertise on this Persian flute, made from a hollow reed like bamboo, with its breathy low notes and piping high register.

A real scholar of the instrument, he has improved its mouthpiece and encouraged its ensemble repertoire, a 19th-century development which brought richer and more varied textures with voice and the plucked tar.

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This makes the second disc more immediately approachable, featuring Sima Bina’s strong and clear sung lines, now soft and elaborately ornamented and now full-on. But the whole set is quietly compelling, not least for the flourishes of the tombak, as speedy as the Indian tabla.