Nelia Safaie Songs From Lands Of Silence
Review by Chris Nickson
"I Am Another Nakisa"
The debut release from Nelia Safaie, an Iranian singer/songwriter and player of tar, setar, and baghlama, offers delicious smaller servings of beauty to bring some light into the most ordinary of days. Largely self-taught as in instrumentalist, in her 30s she moved to Tehran for the musical opportunities it could bring her. She’s student with a number of teachers, including vocal lessons from Masha Vahdat. From the very beginning Safaie shows what she can do: “Shoopeh” is full of delicate tracery in the vocals, while baghlama shadows and fills out her singing. It’s an introduction and indication of her talents.
“I’m Another Nakisa” (a song she wrote to honour a famous musician from the Sasania dynasty (224-651 CE), has the kind of soft lilting melody and gentle movement that’s reminiscent of Souad Massi – no bad thing at all.
"Me, The Cradle & You" (excerpt)
Really, though, two tracks are the true highlights of the disc. “Me, The Cradle And You,” with Safaie’s own melody, seems to fly, as her voice examines the phrases and finds the purity of the simple poetry. Listening, you suddenly realise that you need to breathe, as you’ve been so caught up in her web. It is a piece of magic.
"It's The Time" (excerpt)
The love song “It’s The Time” seems to exist in the shadows, sober and aching, colored right from the start by the low, ominous tones of the bowed double bass. Songs From Lands Of Silence is an album that marks Nelia Safaie as a major Iranian singer, She is no slouch as in instrumentalist, either, but it’s that voice that can turn you inside out and upside down. -Chris Nickson.