Kiran Ahluwalia (Triloka Records, 2005)
It’s a long time since we’ve heard ghazal in a crossed-over format as good as this. The blend of western and eastern musicians, instruments and styles gels perfectly behind Kiran Ahluwalia’s impeccable vocal delivery, the like of which we’ve not heard since Najma Akhtar’s groundbreaking series for Triple Earth records back in the late 80s/early 90s.
Kiran was born & raised in Toronto, Canada’s most successfully integrated city and scene of a growing world music network which brings together musicians from many diverse cultures. The ever-so-subtle coalescence of instrumentation, under the direction of producers of Andrew Hurlbut and Rez Abbasi brings together instruments from the Indian classical tradition, such as sarangi, tanpura, harmonium and a variety of percussion with guitar, fiddle and kit drums.
Kiran’s vocal touch has all of the delicacy and intricacy of the finest classically-trained singers, her ability to slide through scales with quiet potency stands her out as a sublime performer. Supernatant in the mix, the clarity and consistency of her vocal tone sustains the interest throughout this long set of 10 (mostly) self-penned songs.
The arrangements develop nicely and the mid-to-dance pace set on most of the songs is an encouragement to the feet as well as the ear. With brief but informative sleeve notes and lyrics in original Punjabi & Urdu and, thankfully, in English translation to further enhance one’s enjoyment.
A softly-tread entry onto the international stage and a sign of great things to come from this beautiful young singer.