Ganga & Travis - India Currents - Dec/Jan 1995
Iranian born tabla player, Emam, has just released two new compact
discs on his world music label, Eternal Music. He uses the motto, 'World
Peace through World Music' to describe the purpose of his label. Emam
feels his mission in life is to create a bridge between the Moslem and
Hindu religions and cultures through music. His first pilgrimage to India
was in 1978 to meet his spiritual guru, Maha Avatar Babaji.
He began his tabla studies in 1977, and continued with Ustad Alla Rakha
in 1979. Since 1982 he has been a student of Ustad Zakir Hussain.
He says that he owes most of his musical possibilities to the relationship
he has been fortunate to have with Zakir and Zakir's father. 'I have been
blessed to not only study with Zakir but also to travel with him on his
concert tours in India and the US'. This has given him a greater
understanding of India's music and culture.
The two new compact discs released by Eternal Music, present two entirely
different approaches to album production:
Instruments of Devotion is a collection of instrumental interpretations
of devotional music from India, produced at the end of Emam's stay in India
on an AIIS grant. The CD was recorded live in a studio in Delhi
(April/93) direct to digital, with no overdubs. On this album he, and an
ensemble of classically trained musicians (see ad for names) improvise on
kirtan melodies in a light classical style. The recording draws on
devotional melodies learned by Emam over the past seventeen years at the
ashram of Babaji, in the Himalayan foothills. This ensemble will delight
you with their unique instrumental presentation of vocal music. Absolutely
refreshing and joyful!
Is This Real? represents an entirely different approach to music
production: multi-tracking. This means the musicians, for the most part,
did not perform together at the same time; a common practice for commercial
music today. For example, the piece entitled, 'Brothers' features Zakir
Hussain and his brother, Taufiq Qureshi. Zakir's tracks were recorded in
Seattle in 1988. In 1992 Taufiq listened to those tracks in Bombay and
played along with them. This musical collage presents recordings involving
seventeen musicians, captured over an eight year period in six different
cities (India & USA). The result is a fusion of time, space, as well as cultures.
'Is This Real' is a masterful tapestry of musical traditions woven together
into an uplifting new sound. It creates a musical experience that
The wide variety of musicians as well as musical styles highlights this CD
as an outstanding example of world fusion music.