Let the Floating Begin
the consolations of soft Persian jazz in a trump-weary world
"Everything can Belong to Everywhere"
Creating music filled with muted colors and subtle harmonies, the Naqsh Duo creates a floating ambiance
providing hope to a world weary of Trumpism and religious fundamentalism. Let the floating begin.
"Music? It’s under my skin. It’s like a monster, freezing water, like fire. It’s a rebellious love. It is so natural, like breathing, that has been here always. It’s a breeze, a frost. It’s an enemy [and] I hate it sometimes. Yet, it’s my ultimate love. It’s a combination of all this. A journey: a geographical move that brings movements in thoughts, movements in emotions, resulting in change. And the change takes place on a personal and human level...When one departs from a specific culture and moves to a new one, she can’t cut her roots but she changes her ambiance and learns from that ambiance. You can’t actually tell what belongs where anymore. Indeed everything can belong to everywhere. Our music also admires the sense of floating, of moving, of happening...It also encourages us to change and learn from it all the time."
-- the Naqsh Duo, transcribed from video with slight alteration
The Naqsh Duo is targeting a wider audience by integrating nomadic musical elements and improvisation into contemporary classical music [Changiz M. Varzi/Al Jazeera] [Al Jazeera]
Drawn to Persian Sources
Both Khayam and Riahi are natives of Tehran, and both continued their musical studies abroad, Khayam in Cincinnati and Geneva, and Riahi in Vienna. With roots in traditional Persian music, both musicians turned towards Western classical music and jazz. It was through improvisation that they felt drawn back to Persian sources.
-- Erik Keilholtz, review of Narrante in Roots World, Jan. 4, 2017.
In "Parlando" — Italian for "speaking" — the musical conversation is intimate. Voices are interlaced, supporting each other with a broad range of muted colors and subtle harmonies. At times they speak in one voice, like twins finishing each other's phrases. As Riahi's clarinet caresses Khayam's chords and the guitar, in plucked harmonics, imitates the woodwind, the musicians come close to creating a single hybrid instrument.
The entire Naqsh Duo album, Narrante, floats freely along; it best conveys its charms in late nights or early mornings, when life is less structured. The pieces take their time to open up and, even if rigorously built, sound as if they're made up on the spot. Don't expect hummable tunes; just let the music waft through.
- Tom Huizenga, NPR, Songs We Love, Naqsh Duo, December 28, 2016
Soft Persian Jazz
Improvising with each other in an intimate conversation, Golfam Khayam and Mona Riahi create what we might call "soft Persian jazz," combining traditional Iranian melodies with elements of western art music, eliciting sounds that waft softly, like an aroma from an Iranian kitchen, into the listening heart.
Their sounds have a suspended quality, inviting us to float in the ambiance of transnational waters, dreaming our hopes for a wider and more inclusive world, filled with intimate conversations across differences. In a frightened and pugnacious world, this music is perfect for the trump-weary soul.
From America we say to the Naqsh Duo,
thank you, and we are excited about your new album.
-- Jay McDaniel, editor of JJB, Jan. 4, 2017
Narrante: The new album
Forgotten Regions of Persian Music
"The forms, modes, drones and rhythms of Persian music as well its call for improvisation are redeployed, to new creative ends, in their fresh and vital work. 'Narrante' has a vast spectrum of sources. Purely acoustic sounds depict plots that emerge discretely from often-forgotten or ignored regions of Persian music, such as the Guati, a healing ceremony in Baluchistan with its repetitive rhythmic figures and pentatonic scales (typical of the region) manifesting itself in "Narrante", or the singing improvisation traditions from Kurdistan in 'Lacrimae'."
-- ECM records, description of their debut album "Narrante," retrieved 1/4/2017
Naqsh and the Fallacy