The Silk Road was an extended matrix of overland trade routes across Eurasia which linked multiple nations including India and Persia/Iran. As these nations brushed against one another, sometimes their cultures and music would form a confluence that was and is utterly sublime. In this case, Ghazal: Lost Songs of the Silk Road combines the talents of Iranian musician Kayhan Kalhor, North Indian Shujaat Hussain Khan and Swapan Chaudhuri on the kamancheh (spike fiddle), sitar and tabla.
The holistic music blend brought together takes us on an aural journey of epic proportions. Using microtonal clusters, exotic scales and pitch blending swerves the music found here is filled with melodic gestures that speak to the soul of the rapture of love while offering up intense lessons in improvisation.
From the bursts of stringed and stinging fury to the cries of agony the musicians here trade moments of adlibbed phrases and explosive declarations of the commonality of the human soul. In short, what is found here is as stunning and timeless as the shimmering desert sands found along the Silk Road herself.
This music has mesmerizing qualities that bring us to another time and place while being present in its every moment. A lesson in consummate musicianship worthy of an eight on scale of 10. Very worth a listening to even if extremely alien to your ear. I highly recommend some tea, kebabs over saffron rice and lingering moments of contemplation as you let this music take you to places you’ve never been.
This 1997 fusion between Indian and Persian influences can be heard here: