Eastern European, Jazz, Middle Eastern, Uncategorized, World
Reviewed by D L Lewis, April 1st, 2014
This beautifully presented CD explores a fusion of traditional Middle Eastern music, Eastern European music, Asian music and a soupcon (maybe a little more) of western jazz. Daramad are, let’s get this out of the way, musicians of skill and nuance. Western instruments such as the guitar and clarinet mix beautifully with ‘world’ instruments such as the fretted string saz family from Turkey and wind instruments like the Chinese hulusi, Romanian tarogato and the Indonesian suling.
I would suspect that many people listening to this EP will miss its many rewards. The group, from Western Australia, describes itself as being a fusion of eastern music and the improvisational tradition of western jazz. Certainly the ostinato of the Middle East is prominent, but subtleties and variants in melody underscore the grooves and meditative drones, making for a rewarding experience. Daramad means ‘beginning’, and this is a promising beginning to some important musical and cultural ideas.
One of the things I love about Daramad is their deceptive nature: simple sounding pieces are complex. A satisfying effect of Daramad is its hypnotic quality: the circling melodies and (to Western ears anyway) exotic harmonies are entrancing and well worth revisiting. While no-one can doubt the professional and serious demeanour of the skill of playing, Daramad avoids that most fatal of sins in music – pretention – by the sly wink found in their playing. They are having fun – and they want the listener to as well.
Like so much good Australian music, Daramad is based in Western Australia: their makeup, as they describe it, is of three Australians and three Iranians. This is Australian music at its most modern, cosmopolitan and multicultural. Their leader, Mark Cain, is involved, according to the website, in several ensembles. Hopefully he will find time to keep Daramad active. Daramad deserves to be a part of the fixture of the Australian music scene for the foreseeable future. It is also hoped that other musicians might follow their lead and start plumbing the endless rewarding depths of Middle Eastern music. I hope Daramad tours and visits Sydney – I’d love to experience them live.