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''AAM ZAMEEN COMMON - GROUND''
Kiran Ahluwalia's fifth musical release, Aam Zameen: Common Ground is a journey through sound. Recorded throughout Paris, France and Toronto, Canada, Aam Zameen has continued to showcase Ahluwalia's unique ability to blend genres, sounds and tones in her music.
Born in India but reared in Canada's largest city of Toronto, Ahluwalia attended Dalhousie University where she earned a MBA and planned on entering the financial services industry. However, Ahluwalia changed her direction and returned to her native country of India in order to study music before once again returning to Toronto to pursue her musical career.
Her first album, titled Kashish: Attraction and released in 2000, earned her a Juno Award nomination for best global album. Ahluwalia's second album, Beyond Boundaries, released in 2003, found her on the receiving end of a Juno Award for World Music album of the year and her fourth album Wanderlust, released in 2007, found her again nominated for a Juno Award. It's no surprise then that her latest album, featuring the backing musical stylings of Tuareg legends Tinariwen and Terakaft, is just as stunning and unique as the first four.
Aam Zameen: Common Ground stays true to Ahluwalia's roots of blending Ghazal poetry and Tuareg music with other genres and instruments. This is easily heard on songs like "Raqba" which features traditional Indian drumming as well as Spanish horn and accordion arrangements, or the albums second last track "Lakeerai" which at times is reminiscent of Bela Fleck and the Flecktones' experimental bluegrass. Aam Zameen is also the first album to feature Ghazal lyrics written by Kiran Ahluwalia herself.
This album is very much ambient and meditative in nature, ebbing and flowing along with the Ahluwalia's voice. The backing music of Mali, Africa's Tinariwen and Terafakt bands create an almost trance like effect on the listener, drawing them fully into the body of the music. The entire experience of the album is very earthy, introverted and overall, soothing.
Aam Zameen: Common Ground is a great album, the kind of album you can burn incense to, sit back and meditate to. While it may not be the mainstream listener's cup of tea it will certainly delight anyone looking to broaden their musical horizons as well as all of Kiran Ahluwalia's diehard fans.By Jesse Daniel Coleâ€“ January 18, 2011Source
Expressing her muse through ghazals and Punjabi folk songs, Kiran Ahluwalia explores the language of the heart with beautiful artistry and smoldering intensity. Born in India, raised in Canada, and now living in New York City, her enchanting and seductive music has garnered glowing praise from critics around the world. Her's is "a voice destined to enchant more than one generation" (fROOTS) and she possesses "a deep spirituality and tranquility that borders on the mystic" (Sing Out Magazine). But most of all, Kiran Ahluwalia is a unique and inspiring performer and composer, who's legion of fans continues to grow with every captivating performance and each new recording project.
Kiran has long been on a path to mastery to sing and compose ghazals â€“ the sensual and highly literary poetry about unrequited love and passion for all things. "When I was growing up in India, very few people had recordings of any kind, " she recalls. "There were state sponsored concerts that people from all over would crowd into. These concerts were not primarily for children. They featured a repertoire, language and content that was both demanding and beyond the experience of a child. I was, however, entranced by the sound and feel of the music, even from an early age." Seeing the strong connection Kiran had to this music, her father purchased a reel-to-reel tape machine on a visit to Hong Kong. "My father would play tapes of Indian music for me on the reel-to-reel and we would also listen to Bollywood on the radio", Kiran recalls. "So when a song came on that I wanted to learn, my mother would quickly write down the lyrics for me".
Kiran immersed herself in Indian classical music and ghazals from the time she was seven, but she also spent a decade of intense deep study with her guru Vithal Rao, starting in the early 1990s. At the same time, she traveled throughout the Punjab, immersing herself in the style and approach of Punjabi folk songs. Finally in 2001 she recorded her first commercial CD, Kashish-Attraction. This was followed by Beyond Boundaries in 2003 and then a self-titled compilation that was released world wide on the Triloka label in 2005.
Her latest CD, Wanderlust (Time Square/World Connection) was released in North America in 2007 and in Europe in May of 2008. It will also be released in India later this year on the prestigious Saragama label. All of her albums have been nominated for JUNO Awards â€“ the highest musical honour in Canada â€“ and Beyond Boundaries also took home the prestigious prize.
Kiran has made a career of transcending the boundaries often imposed on artists from outside the mainstream. On album, her compositions and arrangements have contributed to the evolution of the ghazal genre, through the subtle use of a multitude of sounds and styles from other cultures â€“ including: Portuguese fado guitarra, sub Saharan percussion, Celtic fiddle, Pakistani qawwali vocals, the rhubab of Afghanistan and more. In live performance she has also been a keen collaborator . Within the last year alone, Kiran has performed her compositions with a 33-piece Chamber Orchestra, jazz guitar and saxophone, an Inuit throat singer, and over the driving beat of a dub electronica group.
Kiran¹s Ahluwalia's music is a reflection of her on going quest to bring the ghazal style into a modern and global context â€“ while maintaining a seamless through line from it's storied past. Though she may sing about unfulfilled desires, her music reveals a compelling harmony that unites diverse inspirations into a truly sublime and satisfying whole.
Track Listing:01. Mustt Mustt (feat. Tinariwen)02. Yaar Naal03. Rabba Ru Intro04. Rabba Ru (feat. Terakaft)05. Lakeerai06. Mustt Mustt Redux07. Saffar08. Raqba09. Zindagi10. Matadjem11. Mustt Mustt Extended (feat. Tinariwen)