Saturday, 28 May 2011

Azam Ali - Portals of Grace 2002

Format: flac + cue + log
Genre: World, Vocals
Release Date: 2002
Label: Narada --Christina Roden
Azam Ali, who was born in Iran and raised in India, also sings lead for Vas. Given her background, her attraction to Western medieval traditions (she cites the German abbess-composer Hildegard von Bingen as a major influence) makes perfect sense. After all, European early music was largely built on the Middle Eastern sounds and instruments brought home by returning crusaders. At times, Ali's vocals recall the great Spanish mezzo Montserrat Figueras, who explored the same connection but in a more earthbound, sensual manner. By comparison, Ali is an ethereal force, soaring white-winged and untouched over pungent period strings and percussion. She is equally at home in Latin, French, Ladino (the lingua franca of the Judeo-Spanish tradition), Galician (from Northern Spain and closely resembling Portuguese), and Arabic. This eclectic set will definitely thrill fans of ambient, new age, and world music, but adventurous classical listeners might also want to give it a try.....

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