Soul Music from the Indus Valley

Of all the offshoot sects of Islam, could any be more mysterious
and devout than the Sufis? Their musical expressions of piety
assume many forms, several of which are catalogued in this
galvanizing anthology. Once the word got around that these sessions
were taking place, dozens of Pakistan’s finest musicians left the
temples and street corners where they ordinarily perform and made a
pilgrimage to the ancient city of Lahore. The resulting album
showcases an eclectic assortment of instrumentalists and
singers-several of the latter showing the finesse and power of that
Sufi superstar, the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. On one track, the
classical virtuoso Allah Rakha Khan wrings chilling passages from
the strings of a bowed sarangi. On another, a rural Hindu
sings in the obscure dialect spoken in the Cholistan desert.
Happily, Land of the Sufis is the first album in a proposed
series devoted to this trance-inducing music. As a reminder that
Pakistan’s spiritual and artistic legacy outweighs its involvement
in a nuclear arms race, the appearance of this CD could not be more
timely.

FromEscape(November,
1999.) Subscriptions: $18/yr. (4 issues) from Box 462255,
Escondido, CA 92046.

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