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World Music CD Reviews Middle East & North Africa

Jamshied Sharifi

By Jill Ettinger
Published July 22, 2008


Iranian-American Jamshied Sharifi’s musical influences range from traditional Persian to jazz, classical and gospel. On his second album as a leader, he brings all of these a little closer together. Backed by a world-class band featuring oud, kora, clarinet, saxophone and a slew of percussive goodness, Sharifi blends his signature synthesizer stylings with vocalists from all corners of the globe his gifted ear detects potential marriages between cultures so beautifully, it’s a wonder that they’ve existed without each other for this long. The album opens with the title track, featuring haunting vocals from Tibet’s Yungchen Lhamo and Mali’s Abdoulaye Diabaté—a testament to Sharifi’s harmonious vision that continues on “Charlotte Sky,” which infuses Grammy winner Paula Cole’s moving take with gorgeous Gnawa vocals from Morocco’s Hassan Hakmoun. One keeps delivering moments like these, from the angelic sounds of Tehran’s Sussan Deyhim to the cascading vocal runs of North Indian ghazal singer Vishal Vaid, who makes any record unforgettable.