sun 26/05/2024

Album: Danûk - Morîk | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Danûk - Morîk

Album: Danûk - Morîk

Enchanting Kurdish delights

Sounds from the Kurdish diaspora

Danûk are a group of exiled musicians, mostly Kurdish, and Morîk is their very appealing first album. They draw their bewitching songs and instrumentals from Kurdish tradition as recorded on wax cylinders in the early years of the 20th century by German and Austrian ethnomusicologists and companies.

The five of them play an assortment of Middle Eastern string and percussion instruments. They first met playing in the streets of Istanbul and the tracks have been produced by Michael League, a musical explorer, who has distinguished himself as a member of the jazz fusion band Snarky Puppy, and helped found the adventurous world music group Bokanté, who have a new album out on Real World Records.

The opening track  “Axir Zemana” plunges us into the Kurdish past, with a subtly introduced and mystical male vocal choir. Some of the songs, notably the hypnotic “Lê Lê Migo”, are driven by the entrancing and glittering sound of Tarik Aslan’s deff, a circular frame drum with both bass and treble resonance, and the scintillating glitter of snares or metal jingles. On “Finciko” and “De Çêki”, vocalist Ferhad Feyssal’s fluid microtonal explorations add soul to the mix. He adds a romantic touch to the folk tune “Lo Şivano”, the sweetness of his melismatic delivery is as charming as it gets.

This isn’t a work of fashionable fusion, but a homage to now lost sounds, brought to life with the benefit of the latest recording techniques, but without any pretence at making the music more contemporary. There is a tendency for this today, with, for instance, marvellous Albanian music being recorded by world music veterans Lucy Duran and Joe Boyd. As opposed to the fusion with electronics that others have favoured, not least with West and North African musicians, this quest for authenticity is far more than an attempt at purism. The traditions have a timeless quality that is enchanting.

 

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