Sukhawat Ali Khan - Shukriya (Music CD)

Release Date: 05 July 2010
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On the three albums he made as part of the Ali Khan Band (aka Shabaz) a group he formed with his sister and brother-in-law, Pakistani singer/harmonium player Sukhawat Ali Khan employed crossover elements, but he takes a more traditional approach on his debut solo album Shukriya (which means "thanks" in Urdu). Khan is a teacher of traditional northern Indian and Pakistan classical music, and although the songs are original compositions, they are played on traditional instruments for the most part, even if Robert Halim Friedman does introduce acoustic and electric guitars here and there as well as organ on "Ajameri." That song has a syncopated rhythm somewhat reminiscent of reggae, but elsewhere Khan often leads the instruments with his voice, slowing or speeding up as the mood takes him. He sings in a variety of languages -- Urdu, Farsi, Punjabi, Hindi, and even a bit of English in "Barapar" -- mixing religious and secular sentiments. The centerpiece of the album is "Natnarayani (Part 1)," which is based on a raga composed by Khan's father, Ustad Salamat Ali Khan, a slow, contemplative piece. But just because the music is traditional, that doesn't mean it doesn't kick up its heels on occasion. "Bhangra Piyar," coming late in the set list, is an up-tempo, celebratory track appropriate for dancing. As one would expect of a first solo album from a veteran performer, Shukriya gives a more direct sense of the artist than previous collaborative works. ~ William Ruhlmann
Release Date: 05 July 2010

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Catalogue No: JN99103