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Garden Quartet‘s Contemporary Iranian-Australian Fusion

Garden Quartet – Garden Quarrtet

Garden Quartet – Garden Quartet (Bleemo Music, 2019)

Australian audiences were reported to be “spellbound throughout” recent performances by Garden Quartet’s performance of music from their debut self-titled album. Ancient Persian language and melodies are embroidered with threads of trans-global influence – old and new. While the result is born of improvisation, it delivers a complete soundscape, Earthy yet ethereal. Delicate and vibrant.

Since relocating from Iran to Melbourne, front woman Gelareh Pour has ventured beyond her classical training. Collaborating with experimental musicians, her adventurous spirit found a platform to soar. Pour has dabbled in genres from theatrical to Persian post-Rock and metal.

Formed in 2016, Garden Quartet comprises two Iranian-born artists with two from Melbourne. On kamancheh (4-stringed Persian spiked fiddle) and qeychak (bowed lute), Pour plays in musical conversation with partner Bryan O’Dwyer (drums), Mike Gallichio (electric guitar, bass and piano) and Arman Habibi (santur and vocals). The engine room of guitar and percussion provide solid ground for the rhythm of the santur (hammer dulcimer) and the melodic drone of Kamancheh.

Original compositions accompany emotive poetry. In Iran, women singers cannot perform publically as soloists. In a modern diasporic setting, Pour’s Farsi vocal interpretations scale unexpected heights. On ‘I Am An Ocean’, she sings the words of Nozar Parang: Why stay in dirt with no hope?  On ‘Anxiety Wars’ (lyrics by Houshang Ebtehaj: The small cage door is open but it’s a shame, The wings of my voice are broken.

As an ethnomusicologist, Pour’s instrumental practice preserves a classical tradition. As an interpreter of words, she expresses her own need to be heard on a welcoming platform.

The conversations between instruments and voice follow the improvisational tradition of her musical roots. The interplay of learned structuring and innovation captivates. Joining Pour and O’Dwyer on production, Myles Mumford shares their passion and experience over an array of musical styles.

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