Various Artists: The Rough Guide to Sufi Music (World Music Network/Southbound)

 |   |  1 min read

Reshma: Hai Rabba
Various Artists: The Rough Guide to Sufi Music (World Music Network/Southbound)

When a musical genre loses its figurehead -- as reggae did with the passing of Bob Marley and Sufi music did with the death of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, both of whom had taken their music to a global audience -- it can have two results.

At one level the music's profile can drop for a more general audience (as happened post-Marley), but that it can also allow other artists to come through or smaller, established names to get their due.

This edition of Sufi Music follows the first collection of this Islamic mystic music a decade ago and which of course include Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, who had died just four years previous.

This collection is in the very reliable hands of Scots-born writer William Dalrymple who has lived in India for two decades and who has been a commentator on Islam as well as having made documentaries on Sufism.

There is a broad sweep here (as before) and those used to the emotional, soaring style of Khan and others may be surprised by the more intimate, meditative sound here of Modou Gaye on the seven minute Sindidi or Cheikh Lo's strong folk-sounding acoustic ballad Zikr. Dalrymple also includes an electro-driven track by London's Transglobal Underground (Ali Mullah featuring Natacha Atlas and the Rajasthan gypsy group Musafir).

So this wide-ranging overview -- from Turkey, Algeria and London to Pakistan, Senegal and beyond -- is an inclusive and diverse selection which comes with useful liner notes. And a bonus disc of the album Sufu Fakirs of Bengal which is equally fascinating (not the least for the instrumentation of flute, clattering percussion and one-stringed ektara).

And often just plain transporting (and sometimes danceable).

Like the sound of this? Then check out this.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   World Music from Elsewhere articles index

Utsav Lal: Visangati (digital outlets)

Utsav Lal: Visangati (digital outlets)

When we reviewed a previous album by this Indian pianist playing Indian classical music we did note the obvious limitations which the instrument imposes: no ability for melisma and microtones as... > Read more

The Mamaku Project: Karekare (Mamaku)

The Mamaku Project: Karekare (Mamaku)

Part French chanson, part dub-influenced reggae pop, and fronted by the gorgeous vocals of Tui Mamaki, this one invents a genre of its own. It is jazzy but not jazz, there's not enough dub to... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

The Flys: Love and a Molotov Cocktail (1978)

The Flys: Love and a Molotov Cocktail (1978)

1977 was a confusing year in Britain: pub-rockers Dr Feelgood were at an all-time peak, the Sex Pistols, the Clash and others advanced the punk agenda, and off on the margins were power-pop bands... > Read more

SOUND THINKING #5: The podcast for music people

SOUND THINKING #5: The podcast for music people

The fifth episode of the music podcast in which Marty Duda of 13th Floor hosts some reviewers who discuss new albums. This week Andra Jenkins, Chris Warne, Veronika Bell and I review four... > Read more