Bijan Mortazavi- “Ye Ghatre Daryaa”

Avang Music Co.
2003 (1382)

Today we are practically used to hear the musical endeavours of artists like Parviz Rahmanpanah, Farhad Besharati, Mory Khaksar and their classic instruments’ escapades, beyond their traditional settings and in the more modern musical milieus and soundscapes!! But the whole genre, or better said tradition, became relatively accepted and also MAINSTREAM, first around a decade ago!! Taboos were shattered and the whole conception of traditional-instrument-based music was re-considered when a vocalist/violinist and his violin entered the arena!! That artist was Bijan Mortazavi!! …later dubbed to “the fiddler on the lovers’ roof” (derived from the classic “Fiddler on the Roof” motion picture)!!!

Not only was his violin unconventionally WHITE, but it was like if it was alive and had its own will!! The instrument was no longer an extension of the artist, but rather his partner and “side-kick”!! The artist appeared as a “magician”, with whose commands the rare exotic bird in his hand started to fly in colorful circles above the scene, and sing like a nightingale from paradise!! For the first time, the attention and spot-lights were on the instrument, rather than the artist!! The violin became the main attraction!! Deriving from the innovative styles of Sadegh Noojoki and the arrangements of the great YANNI, Bijan came to develop and establish his own TRADEMARK-style and melodic “signature”!! A style so exclusive that it is virtually impossible for others to get inspired by, without imitating!! A style that has obviously inspired younger violinists, such as Shadmehr Aghili!!

After 3 years of silence, Bijan returns as a member of A.I.S.I.A (Association of Iranian Singers in America) and with another partly vocal/partly instrumental album, “Ye Ghatre Daryaa”!! The music of the album is naturally composed by Bijan himself, and co-arranged in one case by Ramin Zamani!! For the lyrics of the vocal-songs, stands no one less than the great Iraj Jannati-Ataie!! “Ye Ghatre Daryaa” is Bijan’s 7th studio-album and his third released on Avang Music Co.

The title-track opens the album, as yet another typical album-opener by Bijan!! If you even own a single Bijan-album in your collection, than you know that the album begins with a GORGEOUS and ENERGETIC up-beat track, with full-scale arrangements!! And “Ye Ghatre Daryaa” is no exception!! The song is simply PERFECT!! I love its powerful choir segment!! …Very energizing!!

“Lavand” is an up-beat South American/Andalusian/Persian retro-POP fare!! Some lovely acoustic guitars and flutes fill in for the absent violin, in this cute little song!! “Lavand” builds further upon Bijan’s tradition of songs with a COQUETRY-theme!! Preceded by other lovely songs like “Eshveh”!!

The third tune is the second track this year with an intro, that reminds of Andy & Kouros’ cover of “Raftam ke Raftam”!! The instrumental “Rangin Kaman” sounds as bright and colorful as it is entitled!! An angelic female choir courts the pirouetting melodies of the violin!! Reminiscent of KITARO’s “Cirque Ingenieux”!!…Very lovely!!

“Setare” is a lovely CONTINENTAL mid-tempo ballad!! It is also a typical Bijan-tune!! The retro-Italian influences are predominant in its arrangements!! I love the surprising and subtle “hand-clapping” that is incorporated in the arrangements!! A perfect example of how beautiful a perfectly operated “transplantation” of a to-the-context completely alien element, should sound like!!

The second instrumental track of the album is an old Kurdish tune with additional compositions by Bijan himself!! The energizing and up-beat “Ronak” reflects pure JOY and HAPPINESS!!! A lovely performance by the Adlib vocalist!!

“Gerye Konam ya Nakonam?” is not only a vocal-track with a RARE question-mark in its title!! But it is also a typical Bijan-ballad!! The mellow BLUES-guitar at the intro reminds immediately of the lovely woks of the great Chris Rea, and Sting’s “Fragile”!! … A perfect song for an UNFORGETTABLE … and saaaaaaaaaaad LAST DANCE!!!

“Sari Galin” is another ethnic tune, revised and remade by Bijan!! It is an old beautiful Armenian-piece, perfect for the strings of the violin!! …Very lovely!!

The album finishes then with a well-mixed little MEDLEY!!

“Ye Ghatre Daryaa” is yet another “typical” MASTERPIECE by this acclaimed master!! I use the term “typical”, because he basically does NOT deliver anything new, …but he still delivers CLASS and refined QUALITY!! And it still sounds FRESH!! Surprisingly as fresh as it sounded 13 years ago!! Bijan Mortazavi has never changed, neither has his music!! But the very fact that there is no other one who can do, what he does so masterfully, leaves him without a credible rival and his music as unique as it’s always been!! That means NO risk for OVER-USE!! Not YET at least!

Another HIT-factor of this album is the highly appreciated employment of Iraj Jannati-Ataie’s gorgeous lyrics!! And I must admit that I find it extra indulging, to hear Iraj’s delicate words, for once in a different musical wardrobe than the usual Ghomayshi/McCrum ensembles!! It should be noted that Bijan’s classic and elegant ensembles truly become them and give them a very pleasant new appearance!! Other than that, I personally miss one thing in this album!! That is the continuation of the DREAM/TRANCE-experiment, that Bijan began 3 years ago with one of the most unusual Bijan-pieces, and my personal favorite, “Nesfe Khaab”!! With the hope that he sometime in the future resumes the unfinished experiment, I lay back and enjoy the magical melodies of “Ye Ghatre Daryaa”!!!


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!