"Leyli" – The Razbar Ensemble

Razbar Ensemble

(Arion 2002)

With pulsating, heartbeat-like rhythms and ethereal, haunting melodies, the
Razbar Ensemble’s latest album “Leyli” masterfully captures the essence of
ancient Kurdish mystical music. The trance-inducing songs can spellbind even the
uninitiated listener – prepare to be swept up by the tantalizing balance of
heavy frame drum and the subtle, quarter-toned lute.

For centuries sacred music has played a central role in the ritual and spiritual
practice of the Kurdish Ahl-e Haqq, or the “Followers of the Truth”. Their
sacred music serves meditative and ritual purposes, and is important in the
cultivation of spiritual discipline as well as the development of creative
inspiration. In the 2002 release of

, the Razbar Ensemble impressively
interprets this ancient tradition.

Throughout the album the rhythmic chanting increases in tempo and volume, and
the collective energy intensifies. The large frame drum lined with metal rings,
or daf, drives the pace of the performance with throbbing rhythms that underlie
the group choruses and chanting. As the pace increases the musicians and singers
cry out in spontaneous exclamations of praise for the religious leader, “Yaa
‘Ali”, striving towards reaching a spiritual state, or ‘hal.’

Later, the performance finds resolution in softer, more subtle tracks that
highlight the magical, and technically superb playing of the tanbur, the
four-stringed lute favored by Kurdish mystics. The tanbur, played with rolling,
strumming movements of the right hand and ornamented melodic improvisation with
the left, displays some of the most intimate modal aspects of the Ahl-e Haqq
musical tradition.

Enthusiasts of the Razbar Ensemble may also enjoy recordings of the late
Ahl-e-Haqq tanbour master Ostad Nur ‘Ali Elahi, the Kurdish Sufi music of the
contemporary musician
Akbar Moradi
, or the lute masterpieces of the
Azerbaijani minstrels, ‘ashyqs’ or ‘lovers.’

Buy the CD:

In Europe:

Leyli, Chants Sacres Kurdes Vol. 1

Author: Pavel Reyes