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Will You (A collaboration):

The words of Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī do not simply ring true across time. They invigorate each reader with renewed meaning, purpose and ultimately liberation. When his immortal understanding of the human experience is embraced by a striking, ensemble, Will You is born. Among these musical admirers of Rumi are Iranian-American vocalist Katayoun Goudarzi, , sitar player Shujaat Khan, saxophonist Tim Ries (whose work includes playing with Jack DeJohnette and Donald Byrd, The Rolling Stones, Donald Fagen, and Rod Stewart), pianist Kevin Hays, and tabla player Dibyarka Chatterjee. Their skills in combination have inevitably unlocked new facets of Rumi’s enlightening words. “Don’t” offers a heartrending plea to relieve a woman’s lover of his torment. Goudarzi sings it with an ardour that would not be out of place in the tales of Laila-Majnu or Heer-Ranjha. Rumi’s love poetry has often epitomised the lover as the universal (or God), and the shuddering arrangements of strings and percussion leaves no stone unturned to exalt the words accordingly. Goudarzi’s voice is exceptional: she communicates devotion, passion and agony and just as easily switches to bliss with “Let Me”. Each instrument responds like a deprived lover to the next; the vocals are the prayer while the music serves as a conduit to all that is divine and worth loving.

The album is magnificent beyond description. It deserves every purchase, it deserves to be replayed and it will do nothing short to embedding itself into the heart, conquering it and goading it into a mad dance of ecstasy and loss until all is stilled. I promise you, you do not need to know the language (Persian poetry) to be elevated. If you do, it would probably help. But if you don’t, nothing is hindered. Go forth and ascend.