The third release by Ghazal, "Moon Rise Over the Silk," travels a familiar route for those who follow the trio devoted to marrying classical Persian and Indian musics. The intriguing ensemble combines the sound of the kamancheh (an ancient Persian "spike fiddle" ) with those of the Indian sitar and tabla.
Truly haunting lyrical motifs -- micromelodies recalling the ancient civilizations that traded silk and spices as well as poetry and musical ideas -- dominate the interchanges plaintively expressed by Kayhan Kalhor's bowed kamancheh and by the husky singing of sitar virtuoso Shujaat Husain Khan. Western listeners, accustomed to flashy sitar-and-tabla duets, might not appreciate Khan's more languid, less edgy approach to the string instrument, but Indian tradition backs him with plenty of soulful antecedents.
On "Moon Rise," Ghazal makes its way through a profound set of feelings, taking up age-old roots connections and the power of song.