Iman Shahi- “Sekke”

Tanine Samandar (Iran)
2003 (1382)

The main question that I receive from the readers, regarding the albums released in Iran, is why it’s almost impossible to find the new releases on CD?! Well, the fact is that the albums are NOT released on cassette-tape and CD simultaneously!! Beside in some very rare cases where the companies are almost 100% certain about the commercial-potentiality of the product and the popularity of the artist, ONLY the TOP-SELLING albums get to be released on CD!! And that maybe months after the official release!! Or better said, the time that is needed for an album to reach that particular number of sold copies!! As some might remember, it wasn’t that long ago when the same rules applied to the LA-based industry!! In fact, it was first in 1998 that the albums started to get released simultaneously on cassette-tape and CD, regardless of the artist featured on them!! Well, now that I’ve answered this frequently asked question, let’s move on to the review…shall we!?

“Sekke” is the title of Iman Shahi’s debut-album, in which he has received elaborate help from the artistic Samandar-family!! Not only has the famous US-based lyricist, Bijan Samandar contributed with several lyrics, but almost the entire album has been composed by Kavous Samandar!! The album also features contributions from Ramiar Sheikh-Lari, Fahimeh Radmand, Payam Touni, Bamdad Jouybari, Majid Rezazadeh, Sirous Sangi, Farideh Barazjani, Mojtaba Mirzadeh and Milad Movahedi!! “Sekke” has been produced by Arshia and released on Tanine Samandar (which I presume has been stabilised by the Samandar-family, …hence the name)!!

The album opens with the title-track!! “Sekke” is an up-beat and up-lifting Folklore-/Kooche-Baazaari POP HYBRID!! This style was very popular in the late 80s, and is still today practised by some US-based artists like Shahab!!

Next comes “Baroon”, another rhythmic tune that walks in the same “sound” as the previous song!! It’s nice and melodic, with a lovely violin charming in the background!!

“Aziztarin” is up-beat and GHERI!! It has the LA-sound, with some BANDARI-inspired beats!! Nice female choir and a spiral-synth-touch!! Iman’s vocal-styling does often remind of Davood Naghoor’s!! But in this particular track, he even borders on Amir Aram’s!! …a very peculiar shift, actually!!

Now this “peculiar” shift makes itself even more heard in “Sarve Aashegh”!! It’s an EPIC and up-beat fare with some references to the Arabic-musicality!! It’s NOT an Arabesque song though!!

“Maraa Bogzaar va Bogzar” is yet another up-beat Retro-POP track, with the Amir Aram-flavour!! But strangely NOT in the vocal-styling, this time!! A lovely saxophone allures in the background!!

Now, to a more MODERN sound!! “Hediye” takes off with some DREAM-DANCE beats and purling melodies, and soon develops to a neo-CONTINENTAL DISCO!! With its characteristic “Franco-Romantic” string-section!! A style which I personally LOVE and work with, in fact!! Now the song itself does not hold the same class as its GORGEOUS arrangements!! But, it’s still one of the more INNOVATIVE songs of the collection!! Well done, I must say!!!

“Kavir” is a mid-tempo song with an ANGELIC female-choir and a classic string-section!! Yet another Amir Aram-inspired song!! I’m starting to get a feeling that there is something wrong with the printed track-listing!! Since Iman seems to be singing about a certain “Sarve Aashegh” in this track!!

If you liked the style used in the first two tracks, you’ll love the rhythm and Folklore-/Kooche-Baazaari sound of “Baad o Baroon”!! Now I’m pretty sure that there are some errors in the track-listing, because THIS seems to be Iman’s “Hediye” to you!!

The album closes with a lovely Samandar-branded SHIRAZI-tune!! The song happens to enjoy the sweet vocals of Golareh Samandar!! I have NO IDEA what “Yaarsi To Migom” means, but it’s a lovely folklore-fare!! …Bijan Samandar is a SHIRAZI, and a proud one I must say!!

Now, “Sekke” is a well-produced album, …BUT of the 80s’-LA-standards!! It might sound a bit outmoded or better said, OLD-FASHIONED (not OLD-SCHOOL) in the younger music-fans’ ears, but IF you are in the right target-group you’ll LOVE it!! Actually, the name Bijan Samandar is the “key-word” here! If you know this man, are a fan of his earlier works, …then you KNOW what Iman Shahi’s “Sekke” is all about!! And of course, if you should GET IT, …or NOT!! As I said this genre is not practised today, as broadly as it used to be in the late 80s/early 90s!! BUT its arrangements are FRESH and appealing, whether you are a fan of the genre or not!! Iman Shahi is a talented artist, with his OWN style derived from other contemporary artists like Davood Naghoor and Arshia!! His debut-album is very lovely, but also a typical BORDERLINE-case!! That means that it’s very hard to predict the way his next album is going to be!! …MAINSTREAM or ALTERNATIVE!?!

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!