Shujaat Khan’s new album is an ode to Rumi’s poetry

This pale is an Indo-Persian ensemble that musically interprets the poetry of Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi. Grammy-nominated sitarist and composer Shujaat Husain Khan collaborated with Iranian-American singer Katayoun Goudarzi for this six-track album which also features Iranian artist ney (wind instrument used in Middle Eatsern music) Shaho Andalibi and Shariq Mustafa, the fifth generation tabla player of the Thirakwa lineage.

Shaho Andalibi.

Shaho Andalibi.

As Shujaat Khan conveys the essence of Rumi’s immersive verse through his sitar strings, Katayoun sings in Farsi to communicate the emotions inherent in Rumi’s poetry.

“The 15th century poet is just as relevant today. Although we have chosen parts of his ghazals which we believe would be perfect for a musical arrangement, none of the poems have been altered, ”Khatayoun explains.

Iranian-American singer Katayoun Goudarzi.

Iranian-American singer Katayoun Goudarzi.

According to Shujaat, it was a challenge to release this album during the pandemic as everyone was working from different parts of the world. Having worked with Katayoun several times in the past, Shujaat speaks of the comfort and understanding of their partnership. “We met a few years ago when she was touring India with her band. I realized she has a certain way of expressing herself and Farsi comes naturally to her. Normally, when musicians collaborate, they have their own vision. For This pale, I had complete freedom with regard to musical composition. I create the airs, she lends the expression.

Shariq Mustafa.

Shariq Mustafa.

That said, Shujaat says he’s not looking for collaborations. “If it happens naturally, that’s fine.

Attachment to poetry

Their love for poetry was the starting point of all their projects. “Shujaat had heard some of my songs and liked them. So we decided to try to work together. In the process, we became good friends and each performance was a delightful experience, ”Katayoun said.

In all the tracks, Katayoun’s voice and Shujaat’s sitar bring together an unwavering sound of ney and tabla, leading to effective synergy. “It happens when there is mutual respect. Being the oldest on the team, they let me conduct the music, although they are all exceptional musicians in their own right, ”says Shujaat.

A collaboration like this could inspire young musicians. However, Katayoun has a piece of advice for those who wish to participate in multi-genre exercises: “A solid foundation in his art is essential. In addition, a good understanding of the culture in which we were born and in which we grew up.

Shujaaat agrees: “Young musicians should first establish themselves as solo performers before experimenting with collaborations.

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