Diwan, the first album by the British duo Shahbaz Hussain and Helen Anahita Wilson, brings together two talented instrumentalists who, although still rather obscure, assert themselves as a duo in this personifying collection stitched together by Punjabi rhythms, Persian melodies and improvised flights with jazz accents.

Coming from a classical world, one of Charles Koechlin and Handel in particular, the synesthetist pianist cultivates a spiritual connection with sound, exploring its physicality, textures and vibrations through a sometimes twilight and always profound dialogue with the tablas of the master Shahbaz Hussain. While he usually deploys his virtuoso playing for recitals of traditional Hindustani music, especially in the United Kingdom, Shahbaz Hussain deconstructs his ragas to engage in a contemporary or even experimental approach to tablas. The result sounds meditative on “Dharana,” processional on the disquieting “Carneline,” and hypnotic on “Merkaba-là.” It makes for a very beautiful piece whose sensitivity is undoubtedly even better on stage.


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Shahbaz Hussain & Helen Anahita WilsonDiwan (Golden Girl Records)

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