Shujaat Husain Khan, Katayoun Goudarzi, Abhiman Kaushal and Ajay Prasanna
Spring (Shujaat Husain Khan & Katayoun Goudarzi, 2013)
The beauty of Persian Sufi poetry and Indian classical music come together in the two-CD set titled Spring, one of the most fascinating cross-cultural collaborations of the year.
Iranian artist Katayoun Goudarzi carefully selected various love poems by the great Persian master of Sufi poetry, Rumi. North Indian sitarist Shujaat Husain Khan, along with flutist Ajay Prasanna and tabla player Abhiman Kaushal create the exquisite musical atmosphere that interacts and gives life to Katayoun Goudarzi’s mesmerizing narrations of Rumi’s poems.
Goudarzi describes the collaborative process with her colleague Shujaat Husain Khan: “We talk about the meaning of each verse, go through the whole poem, and then discuss which phrase to repeat. Shujaat composes a melody for it and asks me to sing it. He may hum and then play on his instrument, so I can get it settled in my head, and then I can feel how the poetry is supposed to fall. If it’s an Indian melody, I have to hear it several times before I sing it. We feed each other and work off of each other’s energy.”
Shujaat Khan adds details: “Spring was an incredibly joyful project for me and excitingly different from what I had done in the past to some degree and it evolved so beautifully that Katayoun and I decided not to edit out any pieces that was recorded.”
“I simply closed my eyes, and sang and recited from heart, as that is the only way I know how to do it,” says Goudarzi. “It just felt so right that we didn’t want to touch anything after we finished.”
“When certain musicians gather, we speak a language, and there are no words,” reveals Shujaat Khan. “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.”
“You can evolve together, as long as everyone is good at their own craft,” says Goudarzi. “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.”
Spring is an inspired musical and poetic dialog between two of the great cultures of the East.