Ancient Sounds – Album Review – Rahim AlHaj and Amjad Ali Kahn

Ancient Sounds CD

Rahim AlHaj and Amjad Ali Kahn are masters of their instruments, the Oud and the Sarod respectively. On this CD they bring Arabic and Indian music together and create something absolutely different and yet still familiar. Ancient Sounds was nominated for a Grammy in 2010.

Rahim and Amjad
Rahim AlHaj & Amjad Ali Kahn

Tracks / Composers:

1 – Journey / Amjad Ali Kahn & Rahim AlHaj
2 – Celebrations / Amjad Ali Kahn & Rahim AlHaj
3 – Water / Amjad Ali Kahn & Rahim AlHaj
4 – Common Destination / Amjad Ali Kahn & Rahim AlHaj
5 – Release of the Dove / Rahim AlHaj
6 – Missing You / Amjad Ali Kahn & Rahim AlHaj
7 – Dancing Rivers / Amjad Ali Kahn & Rahim AlHaj

Credits:

Rahim AlHaj – Oud
Amjad Ali Khan – Sarod
Parveen Sethi – Dumbek, Bendir, Dhol, Bells, Hudka, Mandal
Baba Negi – Dumbek, Bendir, Dhol, Bells, Hudka, Mandal
Rakesh Negi – Dumbek, Bendir, Dhol, Bells, Hudka, Mandal
© 2008 – Rahim Alhaj Music (BMI)

Review

This is the first album that Amjad Ali Kahn and Rahim AlHaj have collaborated on, the second being “Infinite Hope” (2015). Track 5 was recorded at Casablanca Productions. Albuquerque, NM, USA by Rodolfo Gonzalez, the remainder by Manny Rettinger, at Ubik Sound, Albuquerque, NM, USA. The percussion was recorded at RBQ Studios, New Delhi, India by Kanchman Babbar.

The album melds the worlds of Oud and Sarod, Arabia and India, in a very compelling way. There is plenty of room for each instrument and we are hearing two masters at the top of their game.

The percussion is the gentle and articulate, giving a beautiful background for the Oud and Sarod to imprint their musical patterns. At times the whole effect is hypnotic, the variety and depth of playing is complex and spellbinding. I think I would say my favourite track is “Dancing Rivers” which at 17:12 is the longest track on the CD (whose running time is 72:15) as the last track it ends rather unexpectedly, which I suppose is a cue to start the whole CD again.

Who would I recommend this album to? Everyone interested in Oud or Sarod playing, everyone wanting very relaxing late night atmospheric music to wind down to after a hectic day. The variety and depth of playing is compelling, you can play the album many times and still hear something new and that is the beauty of the album, you can listen with intense concentration or just relax and let the music take you on a journey, which incidentally is the title of the first track. These guys would be a joy to hear in concert.

….ends

Review – Jahloon – August 2016

What people say about the artists:

“I fell lucky to have heard Rahim AlHaj. His music is beautiful, mysterious and powerful. I’ve never heard anything like it. He’s an inspiration.” – Bill Frisell
“When Amjad Ali Kahn performs, he carries with him a deep human spirit, a warm feeling and a sense of caring.” – His Holiness The Dalai Lama

Links

Infinite Hope (Unfretted review)

Little Earth – Rahim AlHaj (and Friends) (Unfretted review)

rahimalhaj.com – Rahim AlHaj’s website

sarod.com – Amjad Ali Kahn’s website

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