Jazzland is proud to present Afarinesh by santur player, Javid Afsari Rad.
Presenting a blend of Persian and Indian sensibilities, both composed and improvised, Javid's mastery of the santur and its unique crystalline clarity ring out solo expressions of captured moods.
For Western ears, the music at first sounds exotic, unfamiliar; but with a growing familiarity with the material, the full range of emotion and spirituality the music contains begin to flow forth. "I believe melodies stand for the structure and body of the music and the ornaments shape its soul," Javid says: this is certainly true, as the varying complexities of the melodies expand and contract, as though the music itself was a living and breathing organism.
"Mehvaré Eshqh - Axis Of Love" opens the album, a piece "dedicated to the people of Afghanistan", and perhaps could be seen as a meditation on the strength of love within a darkened time, something that many beyond the borders of Afghanistan can - and should - understand. "Nahale Arezo - Plant Of Wishes" offers a contrast of feeling, evocative of a peacefulness that is almost dreamlike. "Soz O Godaz - Flames" is a piece that has echoes of the baroque period of western classical music, as though Bach had ventured southeast. The piece is based on a folk tune from Azerbaijan. "Amvaj - Waves" again demonstrates the universal language of music shares many features among its dialects, in this case between Celtic airs and Indian Ragas. It is a beautiful, almost haunting piece. "Baran - Rain" is another contemplative piece, capturing its mood perfectly, the notes falling like the rian of its title. In "Sarnevesht - Destiny", the santur has almost pianolike moments, each little phrase carefully laid out between perfect pauses and occasional silences. The feeling is not so much one of a flowing musical conversation, but of spoken words, as though the santur was speaking from itself to the world. The title track, "Afarinesh - Creation", is another piece based on Persian traditions, again offering ornamented simplicity in almost spoken phrases, although possessed of a lighter, brighter feeling than "Sarnevesht", culminating in a contented kind of joy. "Parvanehvar - Live a Butterfly" has a feeling exactly like its title suggests - that of lighthearted, aimless wandering, movement purely for the joy it contains, alighting on moments, and occasionally being taken along by a breeze. "Goshayesh - Revelation", another piece formed according to Persian traditions, creates a different space, as though gazing at the nightsky in search of answers. "Zende Shodam - I Am Alive" begins with a clear statement of its melody and theme, gradually growing in ornamentation, elaborating on itself, speaking of itself, yet showing an awareness of the place in which it finds itself. In its center is an almost trancelike moment, as though this awareness of its place has grown more acute, more vivid, at times almost unbearably so. Yet it never surrenders to the possibility of being overwhelmed, instead taking a road towards acceptance.
It is a beautiful album, filled with many moments to savour, and much that somehow exists above and byond the music itself. That so much can be delivered from a simple instrument like the santur is a testament to Javid's skill and meditative focus. "Afarinesh" is a welcome addition and diversification of the Jazzland canon, and hopefully a herald of things to come.
About Javid Afsari Rad
Born in Isfahan, Iran, Javid Afsari Rad began studying the Santur and the traditional Persian Radif at the age of sixteen with Parviz Meshkatian and master musician Faramarz Payvar. His studies led him to Norway, where he later graduated from the University of Oslo in the field of Musicology. Javid Afsari Rads illustrious career includes solo performances in notable world music festivals in Germany, India, Brazil, Spain, South Africa and Holland as well as ensemble work with world known musicians, Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia, Dr. L. Subramaniam and among others. In Norway, where he has lived since 1986, Javid is known as an innovative performer and an ingenious composer. His highly acclaimed work in 2002 included the album COMBONATIONS featuring well known musicians from Iran, India, China, Morocco, Senegal, Gambia and Brazil and the album CARAVAN with musicians from Iran and India. In the same year, Javid conceived and composed the music for the live concert, ASIATIC CARAVAN featuring musicians and dancers from Iran, China and India. Javid has appeared with Zarbang in numerous prestigious festivals throughout Europe. In 2006 he performed his compositions with the Norwegian Radio Symphonic Orchestra.