On the heels of Saffron’s dawning comes another project from Katayoun Goudarzi and Shujaat Husain Khan. Spring again brings Rumi’s poetry to the forefront as Goudarzi and Khan are joined by Abhiman Kaushal (tabla) and Ajay Prasanna (flute). While Saffron draws on contemporary influences, this ensemble sticks with a traditional approach as sitar and vocals dominate an Iranian-Indian musical landscape. Goudarzi’s hushed, sensual voice flows like water as she recites Rumi’s writing over Khan’s ever impressive sitar playing. The music really comes together when Kaushal’s tabla and Prasanna’s flute join the mix and all the pieces slot together effortlessly.
“When certain musicians gather, we speak a language, and there are no words. We are conversing and we can feel each other’s emotions changing. It’s so beautiful and so unbelievable, being together with wonderful musicians and exchanging opinions musically.” – Shujaat Khan
Across this 2CD set the musicians engage in a series of conversations, conveying a multitude of emotions. Songs fester under the surface before they rise up and shine brightly. Love is a recurring theme throughout Spring and the tension between torment and passion is easy to hear in Goudarzi’s voice. The end result is a fascinating musical journey across the spectrum of human emotions, but the process is also worth noting.
Goudarzi and Khan first collaborated several years and each time they get together their bond becomes stronger. Typically Goudarzi reads and explains a poem to Khan who creates a melody to accompany it. From there they decide how to arrange it, emphasizing certain lines of the poem and repeating others. After the structure is sorted, Goudarzi closes her eyes and recites the lyrics from memory, sliding them into the song with ease as she sings from the heart.
“You can evolve together, as long as everyone is good at their craft. When you work with someone like Shujaat who’s at the top of his game, you can actually give the ideas you have shape, in a way that’s wonderfully creative.” – Katayoun Goudarzi
Spring is an album of ethereal beauty, bringing Goudarzi’s Iranian and Khan’s Indian influences together for a spiritual listening experience. It is a record worth taking uninterrupted time for. Rumi’s poetry has seen many guises, but this one would warm the Sufi’s heart as he was known to dance and sing his words until he entered a realm of mystical intoxication, known as samâ. Listen to Spring and transcend.