Dirty Linen - p.74
"While the Indian and Pakistani songs still dominate, the album is infused with subtle shades of fado, Saharan African blues, and jazz....This album, one that transcends cultures and eras, is Ahluwalia's best yet."
Personnel: Kiran Ahluwalia (vocals); Rez Abbasi (guitar); Andrew Downing (acoustic bass); Mark Duggan (percussion).
Audio Mixers: Michael Marciano; Rez Abbasi; Scott Lehrer.
Recording information: Canterbury Music Company, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Globalrootz, London, England; MDL Studio, Lisbon, Portugal; Systems Two, NY.
Photographer: Corey Sipkin.
Arrangers: Rez Abbasi; Kiran Ahluwalia.
Here's something decidedly different, and quite enchanting. The second album from the Canadian-Indian singer revolves around the romantic ghazal form, but takes it to unimagined places, adding electric guitar to the mix at several points, and also, on three tracks, mashing up fado and ghazal quite beautifully. That seems an unlikely alliance, but on the tracks, especially the opener, "Jo Dil," it's perfectly natural, as Indian and Portuguese instruments work together. Elsewhere things are a little more traditional, although subtle use of electric guitar adds decidedly new textures to the material. Kiran Ahluwalia herself is a very supple, expressive singer (and a more than able composer, from the album's credits), who brings a joy to the material that ranges from the coy to the devotional. The arrangements frame her voice well, never crowding her, which is just as well, as she needs room to take flight properly. The lyrics, often ancient ("Teray Darsan" dates from the 15th century), are wonderful poetry, and in this setting they shine like precious gems. ~ Chris Nickson