“Indus Raag 2 – Karachi Concerts” – the inspirational legacy of music traditions

The Indus Raag Project is an initiative that aims to cultivate, archive and promote the inspirational legacy of music traditions that have been evolving in the sub-continent since the inception of the Indus Valley Civilization. Locating, discovering and understanding the rich repository of indigenous music and its contemporary re-creative expression, the project attempts to establish its relevance and commonality among the South Asian countries.

Indus-Raag-coverPakistan writer, culture revivalist, internationally acclaimed curator, producer of classical, folk and world music Sharif Awan, recently won a Gold Medal at the Global Music Awards (California – June 2016) for his project “Indus Raag – Music Beyond Borders.” The project was also Pakistan’s first Grammy entry in 2014.

Now the Indus Raag project has released “Indus Raag 2 – Karachi Concerts” which contains 36 tracks featuring Indo-Pak classical, folk and world fusion styles which were recorded live in Karachi. South Asian music has no equal as a source of solace and inspiration.

It’s impossible to give it a serious listen without closing your eyes and drifting off on a journey of imagination. It’s truly an auditory narcotic: the mind simply refuses to be tied down. It’s those tremolos and melting notes of the lower range, or at the opposite end of the register, where the plucked note progressions float about like auditory calligraphy.

“Indus Raag 2 – Karachi Concerts” offers all of this and more. There is myriad of rhythms, textures and tones performed by a variety of extremely talented and competent musicians and singers. In a digital world where lip-syncing during a choreographed dance routine qualifies empty-headed teenagers as superstars, Sharif Awan’s reputation as a man who embodies an enormous artistic tradition, is genuine.

Indus-Raag-bookletWords certainly cannot describe music, and so I urge you to listen to the songs themselves; they are beautiful, at times complex and intricate with colorful melodies, harmonies and rhythms. And just in case you were thinking of enduring a challenging listen, with metallic atonal drones, entire works based on a single chord or peculiar music scales – surprisingly everything here is very empathetic to the Western ear.

The music found on “Indus Raag 2 – Karachi Concerts” offers us a beautiful realization of an ongoing present moment – A place where both tradition and innovation meet to carry us forward towards a new sense of rhythm and musical harmony. This album works in many different ways.

Despite their differing backgrounds each musician has produced memorable soundscapes which reach deeply into the history of each of the collaborators and their musical heritage and which emerge to enchant and delight the listener. May you find, in the invisible thread which connects the multitude of musicians on this recording, a sense of your own place within the compositions as an enriched listener at one with the music.

Kalam-e-Faiz – Fariha Pervez from Indus Raag on Vimeo.

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