DooBeeDoo Concert Review: Kamran Hooshmand and SoSaLa – An Evening of Ancient & Contemporary Music From The Middle East & Beyond

SoSaLaDate: October 18, 2015
Venue: CA Music Room (NY)

Review by Dawoud Kringle

The double bill at the CA Music Room of Kamran Hooshmand and SoSaLa promised to be a fascinating musical experience. This was the first time I attended an event at the CA Music Room. The venue (actually the home of photographer Clara Aich) was decorated in marvelous taste, and had fascinating art work throughout. The atmosphere was perfectly suited for enjoying music in an intimate setting.

The evening’s performance began with Sohrab Saadat Ladjavardi’s latest incarnation of SoSaLa, featuring Baba Donn Eaton (Last Poets) on percussion and vocals and Kaveh Haghtalab on kamancheh. This evening is Ladjavardi’s first public performance in over a year.

Donning his trademark Kendo outfit, he began a saxophone melody, without preamble or introduction. The entire room became silent and all conversation ended. Baba began a percussion atmosphere, and both men chanted about beginnings and endings  and other explorations of truth. Haghtalab joined them on kamanche, with metallic wind like sounds. Saadat’s saxophone took over with a melody almost reminiscent of Coltrane’s “Alabama;” except with a very definable Persian contour. Haghtalab took over, the melody, and the music and spoken word drew the listener into Saadat’s vision.

The second piece began seemingly where the first left off. But then it took off in a different direction; to my ears (admittedly limited in knowledge about the subtleties of Persian music), it took the form of a maqam. Haghtalab took a solo that explores another avenue of the music. Eventually, Saadat returned with his own variations.

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