Listen to some samples of Soul - Silk Road Relief for Japan vol. 2
By: Khaled Arman
Khaled Arman, started his musical life early in Kabul, Afghanistan, beginning with tabla training at age 5. He was born into a musical family. His Father, Hossein Arman (featured in the Afghan Ensemble) was a leader in the 1960’s revival of popular Afghan music and his uncle Ibrahim was a protest singer and a director of programming at Radio Kabul. Khaled moved on from the tabla to study classical guitar at the Prague Academy of Perfoming arts and swiftly establish a respected career as a soloist. After more than ten years of performing as a classical guitarist, Khaled chose to dramatically redirect his classical career and began to explore the rubab, the short-necked lute argueably regarded as Afghanistan’s national instrument.
In 1995 Khaled founded the Ensemble Kabul along with his father and thee other musicians, a group which produced three successful albums featuring Khaled Arman’s arangements. Since then he has had a rich career as an ensemble player, guest artist, duet partner (most often with Siar Sashimi on tabla), and as a soloist. His explorations of traditional music, and his original contemporary compositions for the rubab, have helped bring taken an instrument once relegated to purely folkloric music into the modern musical vocabulary.
Track 2: Zim Zim
By: The Afghan Ensemble
Co-founded by Zohreh Jooya and Sobeir Bachtiar in 2001, The Afghan Ensemble is devoted to preserving, cultivating, and sharing the rich treasures of lyrics, poetry, and music of an Afghanistan before decades of war, artistic persecution by the Taliban ,and the ongoing rise of fundamentalist ideology. The members of the Afghan Ensemble are highly trained musicians, many of whom have been forced out of their homeland by the Taliban, who preserver to keep their artistic heritage alive.
Vocalist Zohreh Jooya, born into a mixed Afghan Persian family and raised in Mashhad Iran near the Afghanistan border, is a classically trained singer as at home performing opera as she is interpreting the traditional music and poetry of Afghanistan and Iran. Sobeir Bachtian started out as a classical trumpet player and vocalist before turning his focus to Afghan and Indian traditional music. Ustad Hossein Arman is a gifted instrumentalist who studied within Afhgan and abroad, eventually becoming a world-renowned instructor, archivist, and musician. Indian born Rashmi V. Bhatt is skilled in Indian Tabla and brings to the group his fascination with complex fusions of musical languages and ethnic traditions. Born in Kashimir but raised in Kabul, Wahid Kamran is another member well versed in Tabla and percussion. Daud Khan, studied rubab with Ustad Muhammad Umar, Afghan’s most famous rubab player and composer, in Kabul. The art of constructing and of playing the rubab is increasingly rare and Daud Khan works tirelessly to preserve his master’s craft.
Track 3: Kabouli Bhairavi
By: Khaled Arman
Track 4: Rancho 蘭蝶
By: Megumi O and Mom
Classic Japanese Minyou (Folk Song) with vocal and Shamisen.
Recorded by Jeffrey Jousan at Virgin Earth's Aoyama Earth Studio. Special thanks to Richard Kipnis for donating studio time and support.
Track 5: Piste
By: Abbas Bakhtiari
Abbas Bakhtiari was born in 1957 in Bandar Shahpourin, Iran. His family were Lors/Lurs, an aboriginal tribe within Iran. His father, Javad Bakhtiari, was a master of the ney and the zurna and passed his knowledge of traditional music onto his son.
In 1983, Abbas moved to Paris to continue his studies of Persian music under the scholarly guidance of Hossein Omoumi, a professor and master of the ney and Persian vocals. He continued his musical education with Shahram Nazeri, a Kuridsh tenor of sufi origin who has risen to become one of Iran’s most respected singers. Alongside Shahram Nazeri and other Iranian musicians, Abbas Bakhtiari began to perform at a variety of international festivals of music. He has since accompanied many other international known musicians like Sheykh Ahmad Al-e Tony, singer Soufi d' Egypt, Flamenco guitarist Tomatito,and a range of French, Brazilian, Australian and Kurdish musicians and singer.
Since 1990, Abbas Bakhtiari has primarily focused on the daf, a large-sized frame drum he acquired while studying in Paris.
Abbas Bakhtiari has elevated the presence of Iranian music and culture on the world music scene. He’s recorded a CD with Dariush, one of Iranian pop music’s most famous singers, wherein Dariush sings the poems of Simin Behbahani a treasured poetess of Iran. He also composed the music for “Mastan”a CD dedicated to traditional and mystical Iranian music. His composition were inspired by the tradition, philosophy and culture of the Kurdish people residing in Iran.
In addition to his work with Iranian musicians he has collaborated with Armenian, Egyptian, French and Spanish performers. He performed a CD of Kurish mystic music with Ali Akbar Moradi on tanbour and Kourosh Moradi on tonbak and daf on a project in co-operation with “la Maison des Cultures du Monde“ (The House of the Cultures of the World) and funding by the Ministry of Culture.
Recently Bakhtiari has grown increasingly involved with cinema. In addition to his work on musical scores such as the soundtrack for " Exils"," Deux Anges" and “Gazastrophe” he has also acted in feature-length films including “Vengo” and “Les Femmes San Hommes”.
Track 6: Sharquistan Quartette, Madad Madad
By: Mohammed S. M. Antar
MohammedAntar, (1978-), an Egyptian musician, is the conductor of Ensemble Munajah (dedicated to meditative Middle-Eastern music) and Oriental Secrets Ensemble (traditional Middle-Eastern music) and a world-renowned nay soloist.
Antar’s musical education began in primary school, where he first studied piano, accordion, and the recorder. In 1993 he began to study the ney, an end-blown flute featured prominently in Middle Eastern music. He temporarily put his musical ambitions on hold when he entered university but soon found his interest in Arab, Turkish, and Persian musical traditions could not be set aside. He increasingly devoted his time to improve his playing by studying with a variety of ney masters, studying oriental music, and developing original compositions that built on tradition. In 2003 he ended his post-graduate studies and dedicated himself full-time to Middle-Eastern music. He has since studied and mastered Arab, Turkish and Persian techniques of ney which have influenced his own unique style of ney playing. He is concerned with creating balance between the rich origins of Middle Eastern music and the contemporary needs and expectations of a modern audience. He strives to maintain the essence of the instruments, musical phrasing, and stylistic forms while opening the music up to new audiences. His musical vision has increasingly brought him to supervise, conduct, and perform as a ney soloist.
As a soloist he’s performed full concerts in Egypt, Lebanon, The United Kingdom, and Turkey as well playing with different musical groups as a guest artist across the globe. A respected authority in his field, he’s presented research papers, lectures, and conducted workshops in many of the locations he performs in. To date he has released a couple nay improvisational albums, albums with his ensembles that feature is original compositions, a duet album with Spanish guitarist Fernando Perex, and many of his compositions have been recorded by a variety of other musical ensembles.
Track 7: Efkarli Yaprak
Baba ZuLa, created in Istanbul in 1996, was founded by Levent Akman (spoons, Percussion instruments, machines, toys) Murat Ertel (Vocals, oscillators, Theremin, vocals, saz and other stringed instruments), and Emre Onel who was later replaced in 2005 by darbuka player Cosar Kamci.
Baba ZuLa’s unique music has been labeled ‘Oriental Dub’, ‘Turkish Psychedelic’ and ‘Contemporary Istanbul Folk.’ but by whatever name it is called, it is a sound that that draws from the legacy of Turkish music, reaching as far back as pre-Islamic shamanic traditions, while simultaneously bringing the music to modern Istanbul and beyond. This duality of ancient and contemporary is also reflected in their unique range of instruments and diverse guests musicians and performers. As is befitting a group labeled psychedelic, Baba ZuLa provide their audiences with unique live shows, integrating a mixture of art, dance, costumes, poetry and theater within their shows.. In 2004 they added Ceren Oykut, a visual artist who provides drawings as an illustrative aspect of their live performances.
Soul - Silk Road Relief for Japan vol. 2 was produced by Kelly Williams, Megumi O and Jeffrey Jousan. Mastered by Jeffrey Jousan at Studio J, located in Ibaraki, Japan. Special thanks to Kathryn Ozma Robarts for her work on the artist profiles and to Richard Kipnis of Virgin Earth for generously sharing the Aoyama Earth Studio to record Rancho 蘭蝶.
Listen to Heart - Silk Road Relief for Japan vol. 1
Listen to Soul - Silk Road Relief for Japan vol. 2