Mehr (Faryaad Records, 2008)
Iranian underground guitarist Pouya Mahmoodi has recorded a beautiful album dedicated to the Goddess Mehr of ancient Persia. Titled Mehr, the CD features original pieces by Mahmoodi, who combines Farsi vocals with rock, contemporary jazz, classical and Persian music elements. As Mahmoodi explains, “Iranian music cannot be simplified into traditional music only and Iran’s different corners have many different cultures that people need to get to know.”
The songs on Mehr are often dedicated to love, but love in all its forms, from intimately romantic to profoundly spiritual. This follows the rich Persian tradition sparked by great poets like Rumi, and in fact the album includes some of Rumi’s poetry alongside the work of other lyricists. Love in all its guises is united for Mahmoodi: “The common essence I want all of my songs to have is a human message, the message you hear in most Iranian mystic poems—love.”
To help him on drums, Mahmoodi has enlisted none other than rock and jazz drum legend Billy Cobham (co-founder of the Mahavishnu Orchestra). The American drummer appears on two pieces, adding his world class technique to Mahmoodi’s outstanding guitar solos. Violinist Negar Rostami Nejad tops it off with exquisite melodies.
Mahmoodi’s uses different layers of acoustic and electric guitars, incorporating jazz, rock, blues and Persian classical techniques.
“My relationship with the instrument was very special and thus my behavior a bit strange. I could spend hours playing with the instrument without actually playing anything special. I used to just try to create sounds. These playful acts used to keep me occupied in my youth,” Mahmoodi told an interviewer for the online Persian music magazine, Zir Zamin.
The music will please fans of contemporary jazz guitar, underground Iranian music, and even progressive rock.
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