Hengameh - “Baraaye Didane To”

Avang Music Co.
2004 (1383)

The first time that I saw Hengameh, was in the music-video of the Ramin Zamani-produced “IRAN-am”, where she preformed along with Kamran (former Black Cats member) and Fereidoon! There was such a unique ”gentleness” about this artist and her voice that appealed to me tremendously, making me wish and hope that she’d be working on a solo-project for the future. Well, a few years has passed and just in time when I was about to give up the hope …the lovely lady RETURNS!! now with her solo-debut album entitled “Baraaye Didane To”! The music is composed, partly-arranged and produced by Ramin Zamani on Maryam Heidarzadeh’s pieces. The album also hold contributions from Homa Mirafshar, Shahram Azar and David Betsamo. “Baraaye Didane To” features 7 tracks and is released on Avang Music Co.. With an extremely ”chic” and gorgeous cover-design by the talented Siros Kerdouni!

The title-track kicks off the album and it’s a mid-tempo Mediterranean/Andalusian-tune with a nice FLOW! ”Baraaye Didane To” is an obvious SUMMER-HIT!! The acoustic guitars create MAGIC and invite even the most modest ”waist” to at least a couple of sneaky GHERS(*LOL*)!! Very typical for a Betsamo-arrangement! This sound is slowly but surely becoming AVANG’s own TRADEMARKED female-artist-sound! Reminiscent of both Helen and Farzaneh! …beautiful and the STRONGEST song on the album, in terms of a WELL-balanced artistic/commercial appeal and potential.

Next comes ”Bi To Hargez”, a Shahram Azar-signed BANDARI-fare. Being a JONOOBI-native, Azar is one of the two artists (the other is M. Moghadam of course), who has actually managed to enhance the style by successfully combining it with MODERN influences. The melodies and the BEAT are catchy and gorgeous as always! Last time we heard a BANDARI-collaboration between Zamani and Azar, was in Sepideh’s equally POWERFUL ”Kish”!

Next comes a PROGRESSIVE ARABESQUE/PERSIAN NRG song based on one of Maryam’s most famous pieces. ”Doaa” is one of the more ”psychedelic” and less commercial songs on this album! And having the lyrics constantly reminding us of the original Khashayar Etemadi MEGA-HIT does not exactly help the case! Basing a BRAND NEW song on an ÜBER-FAMOUS piece is often doomed from its very beginning, concerning the psychological factors leading to concentration-difficulties and -conflicts!!

As I have mentioned sometime before, Ramin Zamani has truly become a KING-of-LOVE BALLADS! An Iranian counterpart to the GREAT Dianne Warren! His ballads are unlike many other contemporary examples of the genre, NOT ”pretentious”! They are rather ”sophisticated” in a ”simple” way, …in a very charming and ”humble” way! The melodies warm and the arrangements caress, …GOD!! how they do caress your soul!! ”Vaghti Raft” is not an exception, it is gorgeous and will surely comfort all the hearts that will be broken by the end of the summer, …once again, when the autumn arrives!!

”Naghaashi” is a very RHYTHMIC and AFGHAN-inspired tune with a STRONG commercial appeal! The fans of Siavash Shams will without a doubt recognise the ”Electro-Folklore”-inspired INTRO of this one (another + to the one who can come up with the name of THE song that 9 years ago sat the trends for such a sound)! What’s most precious about this track is ALL the NEW sounds and elements used in it! While most Iranian songs tend to recycle and copy generic sounds, this one throws in some FRESH flavours for the one with the keen eye for details!

Finally to the song that started the whole thing, the already MEGA-HIT of Zamani…”IRAN-am”!! and to my GREAT satisfaction, ALL the original performers are featured on Hengameh’s album-version! Such a WISE and mature decision by Ramin Zamani to preserve its original condition! One thing that COULD …and perhaps SHOULD have been altered, …or better said ”enriched” is the musical arrangement! It’s too MINIMALISTIC for a song of such an EPIC-proportion!! The song simply lacks the BOOST of a Philharmonic Orchestra around the chorus, in order to take off with the MAXIMUM POWER that such a gorgeous foundation deserves! ”IRAN-am” is precisely the kind of Nationalistic Music that appeals to me! ”Energizing” and ”engaging”, without the militant approach and MARCHing beats!!

Now to the last track of the album! ”Safar” is yet another RHYTHMIC ”Electro-Folklore”-track in style with ”Naghaashi”, but in a more traditional and OLD-SCHOOL fashion! The song is not as obvious as its predecessor, in terms of commercial appeal! But still, it contains a variety of those new elements that I mentioned before!

Although featuring a GREAT and truly SENSUAL female voice, along with magnificent musical arrangements! I must say that “Baraaye Didane To” became something of a minor disappointment to me! To be honest with you, I had anticipated a MORE ”mature” style and sound to be delivered by Hengameh and Ramin! And although having had this maturity manifested in several tracks, such as ”Baraaye Didane To” and ”Vaghti Raft”, this sound was by far underrepresented! Instead the main theme of the album delivers a more MAINSTREAM-POP oriented flavour! Nothing wrong with that per se, but this sound is already over-represented in the most albums today, and this mainstreaming happens at the cost of having the better- and for-Hengameh’s sensual and velvet-voice-more-suitable features overshadowed! There is not a single WEAK vocal performance or arrangement featured here! All TOP-NOTCH!! Instead, the problem is that these two occasionally fall on two from-each-other different tracks! And they do not interact and advance as smoothly as they should! Nevertheless, Hengameh’s debut is a CLASSY, ELABORATE and FRESH work-of-Art!! It’s best features are without a doubt Hengameh’s VOICE and Ramin’s FRESH and CRISPY MUSIC!! a MUST-HAVE item for everyone who needs an LA-production with a FRESHER FLAVOUR!!

Hopefully we will experience some MORE-DARING, MATURE but yet ”edgy” moves by Hengameh and Zamani -still as a team- in the near future!

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!