Kiran Ahluwalia | Mayne Stage | International | Chicago Reader

Kiran Ahluwalia Member Picks All Ages Early Warnings (Music) Soundboard Recommended

When: Fri., Nov. 11, 7 p.m. 2011

New York-based Indian singer Kiran Ahluwalia has spent much of her career updating the ghazal—an ancient Arabic form of love song that became popular in India, Pakistan, and Persia centuries ago—by adding stylistic accents from around the globe. The results have generally been strong, but I was still pretty skeptical when I heard about her new album, Aam Zameen: Common Ground (Avokado Artists), where she works with west African musicians, including Tuareg groups Tinariwen and Terakaft. That unlikely combo has produced her best album, though: she covers the Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan qawwali classic "Mustt Mustt," with the hypnotic hand claps and call-and-response chants of Tinariwen mirroring similar elements in that form of Sufi devotional music, and enlists Terakaft and Gambian riti player Juldeh Camara to give her breezy original "Rabba Ru" a lean desert-blues backbone. Even the more conventional-­sounding songs seem charged with excitement by the collaboration. For this appearance Ahluwalia is supported by her superb working band, whose guitarist is her husband, Rez Abbasi, also the coproducer and arranger of the new record. —Peter Margasaka

Price: $20-$35

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