Leila Forouhar - “Yek Boose”

Caltex Records
2005 (1383)

Leila too, just like Shahram Shabpareh, took a rather long leave of absence from the recording studio when commitments of a private nature topped the list of priority a few years ago. Although releasing a LIVE album back in 2003, it served more as a gap-filling and time-buying brick than an ambitious release! She is however back now with a brand new album entitled “Yek Boose”, featuring collaborations with Zoya Zakarian, Habib, Bijan Mortazavi, Mahin Abadani, Mohammad Sattari, Shadmehr Aghili, Paksima, Mohamad Moghadam, Masoud Fardmanesh, Ramin Zamani, Brian (Wayy?), Pirouz Shoghi and Homayoun Hooshiarnejad. ”Yek Boose” holds 10 tracks and is released on Caltex Records.

The melancholic cry of the saxophone leads the way into the first track, which happens also to be the title-track! “Yek Boose” is presented as a remake (Baaz-saazi), but of WHAT SONG? apparently we are not privileged enough to be informed!! In other words, no ID-tag!! The arrangement has BIJAN’s signature on, but is too MINIMALISTIC for a regular opus by the man!

Leila’s last original album ”Ghesseye To, Ghesseye Man” enjoyed many up-beat and EURO-oriented songs. Although all musically well-produced, they fell on the incompatibility of Ghanbari’s lyrics which somehow sounded out-of-place in that particular setting! In the EURO-DISCO/-TRANCE ”Harchi Bekhay”, however, Leila manages to go back to the OLD-SCHOOL sound of hers, while in a more appropriate and PROGRESSIVE approach. The result is simply gorgeous and one of the best featured songs on the album.

A GYPSY/EURASIAN-inspired song takes the album further. ”Pardis” is another BIJAN-composition/arrangement that reminds of his own songs, but -again- in a more MINIMALISTIC way! This song has a certain hint of the good old ROHANI-sound from the 70’s!

Now, how many Iranian artists make north European SCHLAGER-songs?! Not many, de facto!! The first Shadmehr Aghili-composed track on the album features Leila on one rather nice and up-beat SCHLAGER-fare! The song also reminds me of Karma’s ”Safar”! This song gets a PLUS for its unique innovation in sound!

”Bi To Hicham” throws in some AFGHAN-POP, EURO-REGGAE and (TARKANian-) ARABESQUE spices in a GREEK-dish and serves it with a MINIMALISTIC Continental twist! A very charming song indeed.

Is this a remake of Mansour’s ”Faghat Be Khaatere To”?! NO, but rather Leila’s ”Vaghti Be To Miresam” which has borrowed its opening from the Mansour HIT! This gorgeous AFGHAN-POP oriented song is an obvious tail-rider on the last album’s MEGA-HIT ”Chi Sedaa Konam Toro”. Although in a more PROGRESSIVE way, the same factor that has saved it from losing its charm and play-value! This is the album’s second HIT-nominee.

First time I heard ”Haghete”, I thought to myself that it must be someone who has borrowed the concept and idea from Shadmehr’s ”Khiaali Nist”! And what do you know, it was the man HIMSELF who had committed the crime (*LOL*)! The only thing added to the formula is a minimalistic LATINO-ROCK flavour a la Shakira’s ”Objection (Tango). If Shadmehr himself had preformed it, it would have only been a tail-raider with a minor charm, but served by Leila it suddenly gets a whole new GRACE and appeal! The third HIT-nominee and my personal favourite from the album.

The SECOND remake with absolutely NO ID-TAG on (what a shame!) is number eight on the track-listing! ”Do Aashegh” is a lovely PROGRESSIVE ARABESQUE song.

I don’t think that I’ve ever heard a composition by Zoya Zakarian, …until NOW that is! Although the whole song is more of a BIJANian-sound, because of the man’s role as the arranger. This song is less MINIMALISTIC than the two previous songs by the same arranger on the album.

Now to the last track on the album, which was also the first released song from it. ”Saale Safar” is allegedly composed by an Iran-based artist!(?) Absolutely no arranger is presented for this opus though!

”Yek Boose” is one of Leila’s more colourful collections till date. The strength of the album lies indirectly in its quantity and directly in its variety and wide range of featured styles. Offering everything from SCHLAGER to LATINO-ROCK! Although not every style is preformed and presented in the best possible quality, the diversity alone adds to the freshness and play-value of the collection. So many songs to explore and each song takes you to one corner of the world of music, while all securely navigated by the powerful and smooth manoeuvres of the DIVA’s sweet voice! Speaking of DIVA, this whole album including its art work and design reminds me of Celine Dion’s recent works, with her traditional sound served with a modern twist!

It is truly a shame that this rather ambitious album is not equipped with a DVD-bonus! Caltex Records, although once an innovator in the industry, has strangely enough not yet adopted this tradition-becoming trend of COMBO-packages! Overall is “Yek Boose” a VERY GOOD ”collection” that is recommended to every music fan out there. It has something for every taste!

Artistic Performance: ++
Artistic Ambition: ++
Commercial Potential: ++
Technical Quality: ++
Aesthetic Presentation: +
Ethical Adherence: -
[ +++ > --- ]

Review by: Pourya E.

Reviews described herein are mere opinions, and must be construed in that manner only! In other words they are not absolute!