RISHTE - CD (Bond​/​Relationship) 2009

by Najma Akhtar

  • ⓟ & © Last Minute Productions 2020

    CD - Track Listing
    1. Rishte 3:49
    2. Fragrance 3:41
    3. Aksar 3:04
    4. Behaal 3:59
    5. Woh Dhin 7:59
    6. Special Rider Blues (Skip James Cover) 5:57
    7. Naya Dhin 3:25
    8. Daaya 5:43
    9. Parda 5:56
    10. Soul Taker 4:30
    11. Pensif Khayal 5:01


    Description

    By simply using guitars, tabla, vocal and the occasional violin, ‘RISHTE’, once again, stands out as another milestone in terms of crossover music. Gary’s wizard playing incorporates psychedelic sounds, the blues, soft rock and other eclectic sounds and Najma provides the Indian influences with Urdu/ Hindi lyrics and soothing sublime seductive Indian vocal melodies.

    The overtone of ‘Rishte’, is yet another superb collaboration of east and western ideas that open the doors to a new genre of Ghazal and the Blues. By using the southern US blues styling with the odd slide guitar or electric by shuffling rhythmic strums, bending, winding acoustic notes on guitar has an analogy and synergy with the naturally flowing Indian vocals. The cover of Skip James’s ‘Special Rider Blues’ proves that the concept, of Ghazal and Blues are connected, as the vocal styles and musicality share the same passion. By writing some songs based on the Ghazal and using some blues arrangements takes the Ghazal on another musical path that is equally mesmerizing. There is a perfect synergy. The lyrics are predominantly in Urdu, as Najma felt very strong that the exotic vocal ‘Aalaap’ or exotic waling often taken as the eastern element was not what she wanted to do. More importantly, Najma wanted lyrics on this album that would attract an audience that understood, Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi and other similar dialects. As with Blues and C/W the songs tell a story and this was something that intrigued Najma, so the lyrics on Rishte also tells stories, which was a new approach to the lyrics of a Ghazal as they generally relate to a romantic notion and emotion. The arrangement of certain pieces has also in many ways challenged Najma as a vocalist and composer but she has the ability to adapt, mold and tailor her composition and vocal style to accommodate very different musical genres allowing her to move with the times. The eclectic experiences, richness and musical sensibility of both artists have brought to life a unique and soulful album; another new genre seems to have appeared: Ghazal and Blues.

    The reviews and feedback for this album are phenomenal, a few are listed below:

    To hear Akhtar climb the musical spheres on “Woh Dhin” as Lucas’ guitar launches into the land of a thousand bumble bees, or to marvel at their transfixing transformation of Skip James’ “Special Rider Blues” into outré expression is to understand what creativity is truly capable of. This collaboration is all about magic, because there has not been anything like it made before. It is bending consciousness to take us somewhere new, and deep into its different emotional states we come to realize suddenly we are standing somewhere we have not been. There are moments of pure blues bumped up next to flights of melodic bliss, and by the end of the album comes the realization that, really, no names need to be given. Like life at its best, it just is.
    Sonic Boomers Review July 09

    As for Akhtar, her voice is a heaven-sent gift. If she had made this album with that other noted blues aficionado, Robert Plant, it would surely sell a million and win a Grammy.
    Nigel Williamson Songlines Top of the World Review June 2009

    Pitting her gilded tones against vigorous, bluesy strumming from American guitarist Lucas, this album’s best tracks pack an intensity that could give her belated, but much deserved, recognition.
    Mark Hudson, The Daily Telegraph June 09

    Rishte is dynamic and challenging, a 21st century Indo-Amercian blues fusion that suggests the West and East can communicate with much greater ease than many of our politicians would allow us to believe.
    Garth Cartwright, Folk Roots June 09


    ‘The record you did together is an absolute masterpiece and should catapult the so-called world-music (musics of the world - les musiques du monde would be a better term) to a new level’.
    Karl Lippegaus, German national Radio Deutschlandfunk, June 6th 09


    Whether the songs concern themselves with humble submission to destiny ('Rishte') or the pangs of unrequited love ('Behaal'), celebrate burgeoning romance ('Naya Dhin') or reflect on the ephemerality of life ('Pensif Khayal'), the mutual compatibility and commitment of Akhtar and Lucas are apparent throughout, and the resulting album (which also contains an intriguing visit to Skip James's 'Special Rider Blues' and a powerfully atmospheric song, 'Soul Taker', inspired by English witch legend) is, quite simply, ravishingly beautiful and comes unreservedly recommended.
    The Vortex Website July 09

    There have been many attempts to combine the blues with the music of the Indian subcontinent, but seldom have they been as interesting or successful as the new collaboration between guitar wizard Gary Lucas and ghazal-diva Najma AkhtarABC National Radio, The Daily Planet (Australian radio program) - Andy Copeman June 2009


    One of the most interesting fusion of sounds is to be found on ‘Strings on Naya Dhin’ where folk-blues guitar and tabla combine over a vaster musical landscape that seems to be influenced in part at least by Bollywood film soundtracks. In contrast ‘Fragrance’ has a distinctly country-folk feel reinforced by the use of slide guitar. English vocals are provided by Akhtar on the blues-inflected ‘Special Rider Blues’ while echoey vocals predominate over a tabla and sitar backdrop on ‘Aksar’. In some respects this recalls the Taj Mahal project of a few years back bringing together blues and African traditional sounds, yet is a good deal more ambitious in successfully combining Indian and blues sounds. A potential candidate for rootsiest album of the year.
    Tim Stenhouse UK Vibe website July 09

    As she navigates the fast syllables on Behaal, Lucas leaps in with a psychedelic solo, while Parda is a stunning baroque-folk raga. Indeed, far from being some polite fusion project, Rishte is vital and red-blooded, nodding back to Davy Graham’s East-West musical explorations, and standing comparison with his best work.
    Mojo (4 STARS)July 09 – Mike Barnes

    The songs are mostly self-written, Lucas providing the guitar parts and Najma the melodies and lyrics (usually in Urdu, but also once or twice in English, a language that does not quite accommodate the full fluent diction of the singer) on songs that possess an almost timeless ethereal quality and ability to sweetly seduce over and over again. A wholly satisfying mix. Asia / Pacific ReviewsGlobal Music Culture - Con Murphy Saturday 13 June 2009
    Najma added a psychedelic sound to her list of eclectic influences on her 2009 Rishte album with Grammy nominated guitarist Gary Lucas. The reviews were brilliant worldwide. In particular, Skip James', 'Special Rider Blues' was singled out by critics for Najma’s stunning arrangement & vocal performance. The overwhelmingly positive reviews of 'Special Rider Blues' provided the initial inspiration for "FIVE RIVERS".
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ⓟ & © Last Minute Productions 2020

CD - Track Listing
1. Rishte 3:49
2. Fragrance 3:41
3. Aksar 3:04
4. Behaal 3:59
5. Woh Dhin 7:59
6. Special Rider Blues (Skip James Cover) 5:57
7. Naya Dhin 3:25
8. Daaya 5:43
9. Parda 5:56
10. Soul Taker 4:30
11. Pensif Khayal 5:01


Description

By simply using guitars, tabla, vocal and the occasional violin, ‘RISHTE’, once again, stands out as another milestone in terms of crossover music. Gary’s wizard playing incorporates psychedelic sounds, the blues, soft rock and other eclectic sounds and Najma provides the Indian influences with Urdu/ Hindi lyrics and soothing sublime seductive Indian vocal melodies.

The overtone of ‘Rishte’, is yet another superb collaboration of east and western ideas that open the doors to a new genre of Ghazal and the Blues. By using the southern US blues styling with the odd slide guitar or electric by shuffling rhythmic strums, bending, winding acoustic notes on guitar has an analogy and synergy with the naturally flowing Indian vocals. The cover of Skip James’s ‘Special Rider Blues’ proves that the concept, of Ghazal and Blues are connected, as the vocal styles and musicality share the same passion. By writing some songs based on the Ghazal and using some blues arrangements takes the Ghazal on another musical path that is equally mesmerizing. There is a perfect synergy. The lyrics are predominantly in Urdu, as Najma felt very strong that the exotic vocal ‘Aalaap’ or exotic waling often taken as the eastern element was not what she wanted to do. More importantly, Najma wanted lyrics on this album that would attract an audience that understood, Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi and other similar dialects. As with Blues and C/W the songs tell a story and this was something that intrigued Najma, so the lyrics on Rishte also tells stories, which was a new approach to the lyrics of a Ghazal as they generally relate to a romantic notion and emotion. The arrangement of certain pieces has also in many ways challenged Najma as a vocalist and composer but she has the ability to adapt, mold and tailor her composition and vocal style to accommodate very different musical genres allowing her to move with the times. The eclectic experiences, richness and musical sensibility of both artists have brought to life a unique and soulful album; another new genre seems to have appeared: Ghazal and Blues.

The reviews and feedback for this album are phenomenal, a few are listed below:

To hear Akhtar climb the musical spheres on “Woh Dhin” as Lucas’ guitar launches into the land of a thousand bumble bees, or to marvel at their transfixing transformation of Skip James’ “Special Rider Blues” into outré expression is to understand what creativity is truly capable of. This collaboration is all about magic, because there has not been anything like it made before. It is bending consciousness to take us somewhere new, and deep into its different emotional states we come to realize suddenly we are standing somewhere we have not been. There are moments of pure blues bumped up next to flights of melodic bliss, and by the end of the album comes the realization that, really, no names need to be given. Like life at its best, it just is.
Sonic Boomers Review July 09

As for Akhtar, her voice is a heaven-sent gift. If she had made this album with that other noted blues aficionado, Robert Plant, it would surely sell a million and win a Grammy.
Nigel Williamson Songlines Top of the World Review June 2009

Pitting her gilded tones against vigorous, bluesy strumming from American guitarist Lucas, this album’s best tracks pack an intensity that could give her belated, but much deserved, recognition.
Mark Hudson, The Daily Telegraph June 09

Rishte is dynamic and challenging, a 21st century Indo-Amercian blues fusion that suggests the West and East can communicate with much greater ease than many of our politicians would allow us to believe.
Garth Cartwright, Folk Roots June 09


‘The record you did together is an absolute masterpiece and should catapult the so-called world-music (musics of the world - les musiques du monde would be a better term) to a new level’.
Karl Lippegaus, German national Radio Deutschlandfunk, June 6th 09


Whether the songs concern themselves with humble submission to destiny ('Rishte') or the pangs of unrequited love ('Behaal'), celebrate burgeoning romance ('Naya Dhin') or reflect on the ephemerality of life ('Pensif Khayal'), the mutual compatibility and commitment of Akhtar and Lucas are apparent throughout, and the resulting album (which also contains an intriguing visit to Skip James's 'Special Rider Blues' and a powerfully atmospheric song, 'Soul Taker', inspired by English witch legend) is, quite simply, ravishingly beautiful and comes unreservedly recommended.
The Vortex Website July 09

There have been many attempts to combine the blues with the music of the Indian subcontinent, but seldom have they been as interesting or successful as the new collaboration between guitar wizard Gary Lucas and ghazal-diva Najma AkhtarABC National Radio, The Daily Planet (Australian radio program) - Andy Copeman June 2009


One of the most interesting fusion of sounds is to be found on ‘Strings on Naya Dhin’ where folk-blues guitar and tabla combine over a vaster musical landscape that seems to be influenced in part at least by Bollywood film soundtracks. In contrast ‘Fragrance’ has a distinctly country-folk feel reinforced by the use of slide guitar. English vocals are provided by Akhtar on the blues-inflected ‘Special Rider Blues’ while echoey vocals predominate over a tabla and sitar backdrop on ‘Aksar’. In some respects this recalls the Taj Mahal project of a few years back bringing together blues and African traditional sounds, yet is a good deal more ambitious in successfully combining Indian and blues sounds. A potential candidate for rootsiest album of the year.
Tim Stenhouse UK Vibe website July 09

As she navigates the fast syllables on Behaal, Lucas leaps in with a psychedelic solo, while Parda is a stunning baroque-folk raga. Indeed, far from being some polite fusion project, Rishte is vital and red-blooded, nodding back to Davy Graham’s East-West musical explorations, and standing comparison with his best work.
Mojo (4 STARS)July 09 – Mike Barnes

The songs are mostly self-written, Lucas providing the guitar parts and Najma the melodies and lyrics (usually in Urdu, but also once or twice in English, a language that does not quite accommodate the full fluent diction of the singer) on songs that possess an almost timeless ethereal quality and ability to sweetly seduce over and over again. A wholly satisfying mix. Asia / Pacific ReviewsGlobal Music Culture - Con Murphy Saturday 13 June 2009
Najma added a psychedelic sound to her list of eclectic influences on her 2009 Rishte album with Grammy nominated guitarist Gary Lucas. The reviews were brilliant worldwide. In particular, Skip James', 'Special Rider Blues' was singled out by critics for Najma’s stunning arrangement & vocal performance. The overwhelmingly positive reviews of 'Special Rider Blues' provided the initial inspiration for "FIVE RIVERS".

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released January 1, 2009

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Najma Akhtar London, UK

Renowned vocalist takes us down The Ganges, Niger, Thames, Shannon, Mississippi with ‘Five Rivers’. Exploring synergies between the ancient poetic art form of the Indian Ghazal and Western song traditions.

CollaboratIons with world-class artists, diverse as Jah Wobble, Jimmy Page & Robert Plant, Andy Summers, Basement Jaxx, Jethro Tull, Philip Glass, Gary Lucas (Captain Beefheart) and more.
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