Although singer Mahsa Vahdat calls Iran home, her voice resides in the world at large. Thanks in large part to the Norwegian record label KKV, her music has welcomed wider audiences into a personal living space of inclusion, creative journeying, and unconditional love. Much of her repertoire consists of original settings of Persian poetry, and here she continues in that vein with clarity of vision, exploring the lovelorn exhalations of Rumi, only now welcoming the pioneering Turkish poet Yunus Emre (a near-contemporary of Rumi) via the renderings of singer and kopuz virtuoso Coşkun Karademir.
Although words struggle to wrap their arms around the beauty of this music, one cannot evade description of its resonance. Recorded in the reverberant mausoleum of the Emanuel Vigeland Museum in Oslo, the long decays of every beat, pluck, and breath are magnificently captured by engineer Martin Abrahamsen.
"May This Meadow Have Flowers"
Vahdat’s voice feels divinely ordained for Rumi. In combination with the ney of Mahdi Teimori, which floats like a lover’s ghost across water in “May This Meadow Have Flowers” and enlivens the duet “Show Your Face” (the album’s zenith), it conveys a depth of yearning that defies translation. Karademir’s strings carve two forks of light for every slice of shadow in “Endless Ocean” and activate the emotional beacons of “The Revolt Of Love.” His own take on Emre (“Come, See What Love Has Done To Me”) enhances the cosmic percussion of Ömer Arslan in a song of earthly transit, while his nods to the songcraft of Erkan Oğur (“Hear O Great Ones”) and Çimen Yalçin (“I’ll Not Die”) weave abandoned virtues and prophetic hopes into an indivisible whole.
"The Caravan Has Passed"
None is as evocative, however, as “The Caravan Has Passed,” a traditional melody that pairs the singers at last.
Noteworthy throughout is the playing of Özer Özel on the tambur (Turkish bowed long-necked lute), especially in the final song, “Don’t Leave Me,” a breathtaking appeal to unity in the face of a shattered climate. The culminating effect is more about the cause, alternating in a conversation of spirits, cultures, and landforms toward a harmony that transcends them all. It’s also Vahdat’s finest album to date. - Tyran Grillo